6 Feb 2012

February 6th 2012


 6th 15F, -9C, breezy, overcast, light snow falling. The wind has gone round to the south.  This usually means moist air and increased snow fall. I left about 9am with a blustery, icy-cold wind over my shoulder. My hands hardly warmed up. After shopping I had to return with the wind now at 2 o'clock. It was cutting into my cheeks. Now my toes were freezing cold but my hands were okay. I had a look at motorcycle gloves but nothing was at all suitable. 19 miles. I'm going out again after lunch so I might as well use the trike.

I had one of those strange coincidences on Saturday. I had been talking to my wife about helmet cams before I went out. Which she had noticed me watching helmet cam videos on YouTube. She thought it was a very good idea to get one. So she would know who to blame if I was run down on my trike! The very same morning I saw the popular little MD80 being sold very cheaply in a local supermarket. I had to wait until today to get a micro memory card in town. That cost me more than the video camera itself but it all now seems to work.

The MV80 miniature video camera lying beside a Kingston USB stick. The camera is shorter but fatter than the memory stick. It should provide at least a couple of hours of 640x480 video with the 8GB Class 6 micro SDHC card.

The coincidences continue. The camera, with its silicone jacket on, fits the central slot on top of my Abus helmet to perfection. With the lanyard acting as the safety belt (unnecessary)  I set the camera going and put the helmet on. What I hadn't allowed for was the time it took to get out of the house! So the video ran out before I reached the top of
the nearest hill!

It was also an incredibly boring video too! After the scenes of domestic bliss I recorded just a few yards of the road immediately in front of the trike. Though I deliberately kept looking up and from side to side the view ahead and around me was never visible. So I'll have to lean the camera well backwards on the helmet next time. Perhaps have a few trials to ensure the videos have some rather more interesting content. Not that I have any plans to share my daily shopping trips with a wider audience. Not even the highlights of the organic veg display. ;-)

Though it didn't feel so cold on the way back the temperature has already dropped to 10F, -12C again and is still falling. Another week of this cold weather and they (DMI) promise positive temperatures. 11 more miles pm.

I might try to make the camera a better match to the helmet to make it slightly less obvious. If I should do a header then I'll probably end up with the camera sticking out of the top of my head! Not very likely though. BTW: My first full video filled 1.2GB.

I tried everything to change the MV80's date and time without success. In the end I dragged the corrected TAG.txt file from the desktop to the camera card "k" drive. Switching off the camera and switching back on forces the camera memory card to read the corrected TAG file. Once accomplished the TAG file should automatically disappear from the the "k" drive directory. Setting the TAG time file a little ahead will give you time to record a few seconds of video and then switch off. BTW: Using the supplied mains/USB charger is better than using a USB port. The power tends to droop on some ports. Newcomers to the MV80 camera should search YouTube for a series of helpful guides from Frank.

7th 10-24F, -12-4C, clear, bright and sunny. Still, but with NE gusts to 20mph promised later. Another cold night. 1F at bedtime is -19C. No new snow.  I set the camera going on my helmet and recorded arguably the most boring videos of my entire life. Far too much head movement and changing angle setting made the videos all but worthless. Wearing a thick hat and a balaclava the angle of the helmet changes considerably between repeated fittings. Too much wind noise as well. The camera stopped of its own accord a number of times. Perhaps it was just too cold below -10C? Otherwise just another shopping trip. 24 miles.

8th 26-30F, -3-1C, breezy, overcast.  -3 is not warm! Fingers cold going. Toes cold coming back into a light wind. I'm still struggling with the MV80 video camera. The recording LEDs are going out after a few seconds. But oddly, I still have some video recordings. It takes forever to download into Picasa too despite being a Class 6 card. Having watched some of them I can completely rule out hanging the camera from my jacket pocket. Or fixed to my helmet. Far too much vibration and rocking about. Not to mention my panting, coughing and spluttering in the cold air! So the camera has to go on the trike somehow. A clear tube, or box, would hopefully kill wind noise. The question is whether it is possible to isolate road vibration. The camera seems to wildly exaggerate any and every movement. 19 miles. 

9th 26F, -3F, blowing a gale. rather cloudy. The wind was fierce and cutting. With snow smoking off the fields, across the roads, where the hedges were missing. I was hanging off the side in the gusts, just to stay in a straight line. Then I turned almost into the wind and became warm. This time I was brave and took off the fleece jacket. Surprisingly the Aesse was still warm and windproof enough on its own. 

Despite the two pairs of thick woolly socks and neoprene overshoes my toes were still quite cold. I'm trying another balaclava. The thin one was too tight on my ears. The new, double thickness one doesn't need an over hat and is softer. While still allowing a smidgin of cooling through the helmet vents. So my ears and cheeks were warmer without my head overheating.  

I haven't been able to find a pair of ski goggles to replace the cheap (crappy) ones from the supermarket. The sponge seal has come away and can't be fixed back on. Cold plastic against the face aches! Only 15 miles.

10th 16-25F, -9-4C, full sun forecast with lighter winds and a high of -3C. It felt very cold at first. So I wore my fleece jacket over the Easse. I took it off at half way and was quite comfortable from then on. I have a new pair of £5 sunglasses with foam edge seals for cold weather. The snow covered fields are literally covered in deer tracks. You'd think there's be vast herds of the things rumbling about at night. They are rarely visible during the day. I doubt I see half a dozen a year despite my miles travelling the country lanes.

My relatively new keyboard is losing key strokes! Turning it upside down seems to clear the problem for the moment. The I-GotU GPS logger failed to record. I haven't found a glass vial or a clear plastic tube for my mini video camera yet. I plan to experiment with a simple terry clip on the DIY bike computer rack.

My sore heels have not responded to all the various moisturising creams and heel greases which I've tried. I even tried greasy lip salve. Well, it makes sense when my heals are dry and cracked. It was pointless. It had no effect at all. So I've changed to talcum powdering my heels of my woolly socks. It seems to help. This only happens when it is cold. For the rest for the year my heels are as soft as a baby's bottom. My toes go purple in the cold, too, but they soon recover in the shower. 19 miles in cold, bright sunshine.

11th 26F, -3C, light breeze, heavy overcast. I headed off for a 15 mile distant target. For the first time in four attempts the place was actually open. I also had a chat with a bike shop owner about winter gloves. He recommended the Seal Skinz cold weather gloves. Beautifully made but nearly £60 equiv! Ouch! They didn't do an XXL for my orang-utan sized vestigial appendages. The XL only just went on but felt tight at the wrist and fingers. It seemed to get colder and colder on the way back. So I had to put my fleece jacket back on. My fingers were marginally warm and toes iffy. My new, knitted, double balaclava proved warmer than the thin poly one with a Thinsulate hat on top. It wasn't itchy either.

I was late for a road accident by about five minutes. Two fire tenders an ambulance and the police attended. They deliberately blocked the road with their vehicles to stop people pushing past. Nobody caught up with me in the next few miles as I plodded on after passing on the cycle lane. 33 miles but I'm going out again on an errand. Plus 6 more miles.

Click on any image for an enlargement.



  1. hi i have used one of these cameras on my bike and also on my model railway with some great reults
    cheers dave

  2. Hi Dave

    I've only had time to try it quickly outside in the snow. It seems a bit dark and jittery. I'm wondering about the quality of the memory card I just bought. It is a Silicon Power class 6 8GB so should be good enough. Others on YouTube have used class 4 with good video quality. It may be the bright snow which is making it seem too dark. Though it doesn't explain the picture freezing and jitter. I'll have to experiment some more.


    1. hi mine jitters sometimes and the auto exposure is a bit sensitive when coming out of tunnels into daylight .
      cheers dave

  3. Hi Dave

    I'm having problems with the fully charged camera turning itself off after a few seconds. It's become a bit of a lottery which parts of my ride have been recorded. I'm not touching the mode button and the LEDs indicate normal recording.


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  5. Jim

    I wouldn't have minded your helmet cam comment since it was on topic. It was the fact that you had spammed countless other people too. Which is why I have deleted your comment.