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Posted by on Aug 31, 2014

The Night Wand

The Night Wand

Like a rubbish Gandalf from the future. I’ve made an addition to my camera pole that is actually very functional, but its functionality is rather outdone by cool-factor. There is no reason I can see that riding an Airwheel at night can’t be every bit as rewarding, possibly more so, than riding it in the daytime. We’ll just be needing some decent lighting to do that with. Cue my new  light-stick, a set of 45 10-element full-spectrum maximum lux LED’s, a 140 pattern sequence controller, and a Remote Control for it, so I can change colours and patterns on the move. This is all packed into a plastic box, and attached to the handle via velcro, insulation and cable ties in such a way and position so that it functions as a counterweight. The pole, which let’s not forget was originally an extending mop handle, is still light, and balances really well with the GoPro 2, 3 or 3+ at the other end. GoPro2 is slightly heavier, so just...

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Posted by on Aug 27, 2014

Skate Park 2K14

Skate Park 2K14

It’s been a while… Around 2 years ago I was in Petersfield Skate Park with a quad flyer, getting some pretty decent shots of the skate and bike based action going on at the time. I’ve been back since, on my airwheel, but only early in the morning when I have it to myself, for mysterious ninja training purposes ;) So I use it occasionally as a test ground for new things, and today’s news things are my GoPro3+ Black Edition, shooting Superview 1080P ultra-wide angle (at a subsequently disappointing 30FPS) mounted to a 2-axis stabilized gimbal setup badly attached to a counterweighted pole. Bikes ride best… Lots of people there when I arrived, but the guys keenest to give it some filming action were the BMXers – didn’t get any names, but in the end it was about 3 of ’em doing all the work. And well done them – they are doing things on bikes I won’t ever be able to do on an Airwheel, but will probably be stupid...

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Posted by on Aug 27, 2014

Pole Position in the Rain

Pole Position in the Rain

75 hours in and still having fun… Yep – today me and my little Airwheel made our first journey all way from my back door to the center of town, did some shopping, and came back again – perhaps a 9 mile round trip. The difference was that 90% of that was done in a variety of weather conditions that ranged from mildly drizzling to prolonged torrential rain. I’ve exposed the wheel to worse, just once, and for only 5 minutes down at Dover docks, but here I was stuck out in it for a good 2 hours, and going through the sort of puddles that shouldn’t be a good idea, but are actually fine. I still had a light left at the end, and didn’t even get to a battery warning beep. So excellent range and performance there… I’d left the house in only slight spots of rain, but by the time I had got a good 2 miles away from base it was really sheeting it down,...

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Posted by on Aug 25, 2014

Airwheeling Adventures No 1: Guildford Castle

Airwheeling Adventures No 1: Guildford Castle

Flowery Forts in the Autumn Sun… Yes, Aerocammers, and sorry; it’s me and my Airwheel again, this time up at Guildford castle with a GoPro 2 on a pole to catch some of the past-its-prime floweriness that I am famously perfect at being late for. But undaunted, I was up at 7 am, and in town by 7.45, so had only an hour to wait until it opened its gates. But when it did, I had the whole grounds pretty much to myself, which was lovely, and perfect for some test-the-limits-style airwheeling round what were rather more challenging slopes than I remembered being here ! Challenge Airwheel Indeed some bits of the pathway were properly challenging, going up or down them, but my little X5 never failed to transport me up any slope or hill I asked of it… brilliant. The reason I can get away with gradients of 2:1 is only because I’m very light, and the pathways at Guildford castle are very very smooth, so although my...

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Posted by on Aug 24, 2014

High Point Glide

High Point Glide

Once more To the Top ! I love Butser, it ticks all the boxes, both for flying and Airwheeing. Unlike QECP on the opposite hill, which is really hard to Airwheel because of all the roots and chalky stone, Butser is mainly short grass, and well managed, wide paths that are absolutely perfect for gliding about most of the hill. Video up soon… Occasionally it goes a bit more off-road, but if you’re careful to look ahead and nimbly steer round rabbit holes and furrows, it’s a great place to ride. And even nicer when the sun goes down… Here’s some rather large pics from my Nikon (handheld, so not the sharpest)… …and then it was back down again for a pleasantly cooling drift to the car, a mile away – a journey accomplished without my feet touching the ground… More like that soon, I would have thought… See you then.  ...

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Posted by on Aug 21, 2014

Back from the Edge – QECP

Back from the Edge – QECP

Queen Elizabeth Country Park, Red Trail Today I was at QECP, opposite Butser for what I imagined might be a gentle roll up the hill on a wooded footpath, a brief glide along the ridge, and a slow roll back down again. I started off with a plan; I was going to follow the Red Trail, and pretty quickly left it and went wherever I felt like, which, ultimately, was to prove much more exciting :) So my first easy, non-challenging ride of the day stayed that way for about 30 seconds when I quickly realised why Airwheels probably shouldn’t try and do mountain bike trails on steep woodland-lined chalk hillsides. The Ultimate Terrain Test ? I can honestly say that after weeks of trying I have finally found the limits of my little Airwheel X5, which mainly seem to involve massive rocks, or networks of tree roots it would be difficult to cross even on foot, and very steep gradients where my feet hit the ground because of their tiny distance...

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Posted by on Aug 18, 2014

France 2014 Photo Gallery

France 2014 Photo Gallery

All the pics… Just had to share some pics my friend and band co-conspirator took while we were in France, playing that wedding at the Chateau. Here they are, and thanks UltraStu for sharing your epic pictures of castles, cathedrals, gardens, cats and macarons when my GoPro3 failed me. Also some of mine, and probably some of Tim’s when he shares them with me… Me, in France, with superior macarons to today’s. You can tell I look correspondingly more pleased....

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Posted by on Aug 18, 2014

An Airwheel Abroad

An Airwheel Abroad

To the French Castle ! …nobody shouted, as we departed to play at a client’s wedding in Chateau Charonne, Le Mans, somewhere in the middle of deepest (occasionally) sunny France. Death of a Hero My GoPro3 died in France, for no reason I could easily explain. I’ve fallen prey to the ‘stuck WiFi Button’ problem that hundreds have faced before me. I’ll sort that out later. Good job I took a spare GoPro2, because I was playing in a band that was playing in the grounds of a wonderful French Chateau, and it would be a shame not to Airwheel round it and share its provincial French loveliness with you lot… The light’s not ideal, and there’s uncrossable deep gravel round some of it, so I’ll just do a quick ride around the grounds on the bits I can reasonably traverse… Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult. GP2’s don’t like low-light, and it was golden hour, so not much light in the shadows, but great light further up, and bless it, it...

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Posted by on Aug 9, 2014

Elvetham Hall

Elvetham Hall

Perks of the Job… I love my work, and not only because it’s playing in a band, but also because it takes me to all sorts of wonderful historical places I would never normally see, let alone be allowed into… Usually there are people serving me tea and dinner and things, and let’s not forget I have a lot of songs to perform while on duty, but bands get breaks. Sometimes I remember to take a little piece of technology with me to make these little half hour pauses more interesting, and if I’m lucky I may get the chance to get some nice buildings and grounds down on film and up on my blog for everyone to enjoy. Today’s technology, surprise surprise, was my Airwheel :) Normally I’d take a micro-flyer like a ladybird, and occasionally even a full size Quad for some cheeky aerial filming… but that is VERY rare as most people don’t want UAVs at weddings. An Airwheel, on the other hand is all fine with everybody except the most...

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Posted by on Aug 8, 2014

Lost on Forest Heath

Lost on Forest Heath

Ways to set the days ablaze …sang All About Eve in a song off their 4th album which nobody except me and them heard. …but today I am allowing the sun and excitement in general to do just that as I comport myself to Liss Forest to see how easy it is to get lost on the heath. I’m also testing what might be a genius idea about using mouse mats with wrist-rests as shin padding on my wheel. that worked a treat. No additional padding required under jeans anymore, even though I did get these ludicrously coloured legwarmers, which did an admirable job before I fitted the foam pads… I know they don’t look great, but I can tidy them up later when I have perfected the positioning, which I’ve done so it can be altered, using ultra-strong self-adhesive velcro. After over 2 hours on the footplates I was only just starting to feel some shin discomfort, so they’ve done a great job so far, and can stay....

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Posted by on Aug 7, 2014

Sunset Spires

Sunset Spires

Part 1 – Cathedral Lanes. We’re in Winchester, right by that big cathedral, gliding round it serenely and sedately while we take in the setting sun as it illuminates those wonderful spires and buttresses on its way down for the night. Later, we’ll head off round the town for a bit more speedy uphill action. Check Camera… Armed (photographically speaking) with just a pole-cam and a single GoPro 3, I completed some highly enjoyable circuits round the main park and around the chapel, which remained impressive despite several bits of it that were covered in atmosphere-ruining scaffolding. Then I stopped for a lovely cup of Earl Grey with some random girls, who told me where to go next. I had also inadvertently timed my visit perfectly for the start of bell ringing practice ! Fortunately, the people inside were obviously having advanced practice, because they really knew what they were doing. Almost a solid hour of it, and it only became slightly irritating toward the end :) Airwheel in action...

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Posted by on Aug 2, 2014

Town Glide

Town Glide

An early morning glide round a few towny bits and a few lakeside bits of Petersfield, Hampshire, UK on an Airwheel X5. Original sound from the GoPro3 black Edition, in its open-back case. Mostly actual speed, occasionally 200% to get through the duller bits. And dull it can be, for it’s the whole 20 minute extended video version, whilst I play about with various pole-cam positions to try and find the ones that work best. I start off outside town, glide in, round the church, through the market, and back out to the lake, where I do a circuit and then back to the car. Took about an hour in real time with stops. Captured by a GoPro on a pole, which used to be a broom. Also testing DeShake 3.0 running under VDub on the lake run, which worked really well, so did a separate speed-round of that… Deshaking that is a tedious multi-stage process involving four separate apps / plugins, buggering about converting things to avi format...

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Posted by on Aug 2, 2014

The Great Uphill Challenge

The Great Uphill Challenge

Get up that hill As far as impressive hills go, none come bigger or more intimidating (well, within a 20 mile radius of my front door :) than Butser, home to many a hobbyist, including me and my flying machines. But today, I’m here to test the limits of my Airwheel (X5) as I make it carry me and a large flask of earl grey tea from the bottom to the top of the South slope, arguably the second easiest way up, after the main road in, which is a gentler climb. It’s a reasonable challenge to attempt, as the other ways up are almost certainly beyond the scope of my little wheel. Perhaps a double-motored double power Q3, or a Rockwheel could get up those, but I can’t, so I’ll try the ones that might just work if I’m lucky with me and my little 500 watt motor… If you had an X3 here, I’ll be honest – you won’t make it up this slope with 400 watts and...

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