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Posted by on Nov 15, 2014 in Blog, Video

Airwheeling London – Westminster

The first of many…

trips to the capital, now that my Airwheeling skills are up to the challenge :) And I’m starting with what will become known as Home Base, or Ground Zero, Waterloo Station, and I’ll be working my way outwards from there.

Waterloo

Waterloo

Today we take in the main concourse of the station itself, pause for a quick airwheel challenge then head out the back of the concourse towards the London Eye, then over a bridge and down through Westminster to check out the Houses of Parliament and more impressively I thought, Westminster Abbey. By then I was running seriously short on disk space, and only having one card with me had to come home with just an hour’s worth of footage. But despite some levels problems I was very pleased with what I got, and I had a great day out, too much fun, if anything, and felt my airwheel skills got a serious firmware upgrade into the bargain…

Wheel master…

As regular readers know, I am on a quest to be a zen airwheel master. The road there is long and hard, and I am only 250 hours in. But 6 hours a day on my wheel has given me now limitless confidence, even amongst densely populated slow-moving congested areas, and right next to cars, animals and people, and the only place I can go now to find even worse conditions than that is our beloved capital city.

London-1-003b

Wheels everywhere

So, given that it was the first time, I did at least wait til off-peak, and arrived at London Waterloo for mid day, which gave me a solid 2 hours of wheeling about and filming before my batteries would give out on me, and I’d be on my way out again by 3.15.

So – 3 hours – let’s get this done ! Off-peak it might have been, but there were still plenty of people around to test my skills.

Although I got all the way from one end of the concourse to the next with zero falls, UDM’s or stoppages, I was to meet my match in the 20-thick crowds of tourists making their way past the Houses of Parliament at really astonishingly slow rates of progression, and with record levels of ‘surroundings unawareness’ from some people in places :) And of course the ‘sudden directional lurch’ was very much on show to test the mettle of any Airwheeler not ready to make lightning fast adjustments to paths, momentum and velocity. I was pleased to be up to the task – but as little as 50 airwheel hours ago I might not have been…

Lunatic Fringe

Merry-go-rounds

Merry-go-rounds

Of course this is London, so everyone is much ruder and bargier, and I can actually use that to my advantage to deftly and silently wend my way between them, most of the time without them even knowing I was there, until I was long past them.

Several IDMs (intentional dismounts) in that little section, one UDM (unintentional dismount), but no collisions or falls. Serious multi-level brain-power and physical agility required in places ! Surprised I was up to it, if I’m honest, and I was relieved when I found a secret path to the Abbey that left most of the throng behind me and I was free to enjoy a serene autumnal glide around it almost alone. I stopped for many cups of tea. Riding in areas this congested is hard work, and not particularly rewarding riding either. I resolve to do less of that now I know I can if I have to.

God is not great

…wrote Christopher Hitchens, and he’s right, but I do like his buildings… I spent quite a lot of time in London looking at and wheeling round cathedrals and abbeys and all the gothic buildings and impressive structures – it’s only luck that I have started with the most tourist-obvious ones. Eventually I plan to document the most interesting structures, buildings and areas all over the city, until I’ve mapped it all :) I know Google’s done it for me already, but hey – nothing quite like being there yourself…having said that, there will be some bits Google can do for me.

Here’s your gallery…

Video Crazy

Wins and fails in the video dept today. I was in ProTune mode for most shots but massively contrasty sunlight, and lack of on-the-spot view feedback meant I had some blown out footage I couldn’t save, but liked enough to include anyway. I will fix that next time :) So – most of the time I’m in Superview Mode 1080S, 60 FPS, ProTune, GP Color mode, mostly from pedal-cam, or hand-held pans. Occasionally we get a moving handheld shot, which deShake has done its best to fix, and not always succeeded. But hey, there will be many more trips to perfect Airwheel filming technique, and what I got in the 3 videos I made wasn’t too shabby for a first go, specially whilst my attention was mainly on not falling off and logging unfamiliar ground in my airwheeling ‘brain map’…

Here’s part 2

Into the Light…

Too much fun to not do again, so as soon as I next get the train fare together and the weather doesn’t hate me, I’ll be back for a level 4 (yes LEVEL FOUR!) crowd surf through Leicester Square and the king of busy roads, the almighty Oxford and Regent Streets, where I’ll be filming the epic festive lights.

Xmas didn’t used to mean much. Now it means amazing airwheel adventures and a proper motherload of beautiful twinkly lights. See you then.