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Posted by on Aug 31, 2015

Airwheel 600 – A Year-in Review

Airwheel 600 – A Year-in Review

Who’s counting the hours ? I am. Thought it was about time I did another Airwheel blog as I have finally crossed the ‘600 hours on it’ mark, a relatively landmark moment, because it means that my time on the machine has cost just £1 an hour and every hour I spend on it now just makes that even cheaper and better value for money. It has to be said I am truly impressed with the reliability and the lack of ongoing costs in the year and a bit since I’ve had mine. Indeed, my Airwheel X5 has moved me over 3500 miles, saved me an incredible amount on petrol, and made all my journeys much more enjoyable than walking or driving into the bargain. She looks a bit worn round the edges now, but she’s still motoring along… The Joy of the Ride You can train yourself to do some pretty amazing things on an Airwheel, but I have found all my efforts focused on practical riding skills rather than...

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Posted by on Feb 18, 2015

How to change an Airwheel Tyre / Inner Tube

How to change an Airwheel Tyre / Inner Tube

More difficult than it looks… Having now done it myself (admittedly with a lot of help from Aaron at Cycleworks), I feel there is space in the world for slightly more comprehensive instructions on how to change an Airwheel tyre or replace the inner tube, should yours develop a leak. Here I am using the Airwheel X5 as an example but these instructions should apply equally to all single-wheeled electric unicycles in the Airwheel X-series range. You will need the following tools: 1 medium size Phillips Head screwdriver with 10 cm+ shaft length. Up to 3 plastic tyre wedges for cycles Machine oil of some description, and a way to precisely apply it. Your replacement tyre or inner tube. Obtain from Airwheel’s own web site, and email them first to get the discount code for existing customers if you are one. You’ll also need to tell them which size you require: 14″ for X3 and X5 models, and 16″ for the X6 A flat-bladed, blunt object to help with case separation. A...

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Posted by on Jan 8, 2015

Home Town Film Tests

Home Town Film Tests

Go, Go, GoPro 4… Back home after Xmas, I wasted no time at all in fully exploring the capabilities of this remarkable little update to the GoPro series. So now we have true 4K video at 30 FPS, and as I have been very much enjoying, 1080 at a full 120 FPS for slinky smooth 30 FPS quarter-speed film action. Good good. First stop then, the lake, with pedal cam… Slow-Mo BMXing OK, so there wasn’t much new in the filming department there – that run was all about the fun of airwheeling. Next up, we will check out some 120 FPS goodness, and there’s no better place to do that locally than down the Skate Park, where I trained my lens on 2 of the better riders there, Joe and Seb, both seen here pulling off some pretty decent aerial moves. That’s the main video at the top, obviously. Spinning slowly… And this little blog wouldn’t be complete without some acknowledgement of all the spin panorama time-lapses I’ve...

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Posted by on Jan 8, 2015

Airwheeling Godalming College

Airwheeling Godalming College

Xmas Ghost Rides It was Boxing Day, and I was out on my Airwheel, gliding off another wonderful meal my parents had just insulated me against the cold with… and there’s no better place to be Airwheeling on Boxing Day than Godalming college, especially when you’ve got the whole place to yourself… Indeed, surprised as I was to find my entrance entirely ungated, unsigned or prevented in any way I quickly got my airwheel on, and zipped round for a good 10 minutes having what can best be described as the nearest feeling I’m ever going to get to what hoverboarding must feel like. Brilliantly smooth tiled and paved surfaces everywhere – perfect. So enjoy that – I did :) See you next time…. Aero J...

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Posted by on Dec 4, 2014

Winchester at Christmas

Winchester at Christmas

Join me for an afternoon roll around one of Hampshire’s most picturesque cities and largest cathedral. It’s nearly Christmas, so much to my surprise I found a full-on craft market at the base of the cathedral, and this resulted in some classic Airwheel skills-up proximity glide opportunities… Slow-wheeling Part 1 is all about Airwheeling the busy market, intercut with a few quality time-lapses of the awesome scenery. This was easily as hard work as Westminster was the other week, possibly more so in that at least in London they keep moving, albeit very slowly; here, people were randomly stopping all over the place, and it took all my concentration and slow-wheel skills to do the whole lot without a single UDM or fall. Couple of forced intentional dismounts along they way, as you’d expect, but generally I was very happy with that, and pleased that I seem to be able to maintain increasingly deathly slow roll speeds without losing balance. Part 2 builds on that as we head into...

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Posted by on Nov 18, 2014

Petersfield Xmas Lights 2K14

Petersfield Xmas Lights 2K14

The Dark Side Assumedly because it was the only day Darth Vader could spare, Petersfield kicked in its xmas lights in the middle of November this year, to the delight of anyone under 7. Aerocam was there in case anything good happened. I was quite pleased with the slightly unrelated decision to get a crew of fictional storm troopers and a dark lord in to switch on some xmas lights – if had been some low-rent celebrity I wouldn’t have even bothered turning up. Indeed it wasn’t sociability that led me there, but rather wanting to try out some new camera gear and techniques, and to record the xmas lights, which are normally quite good. There and back again As it was, I kept being ejected from previously agreed filming positions by various official types, so having nowhere ideal to film from, didn’t bother staying to capture the actual switch-on, or whatever went on on-stage before it, but instead returned very late that night to complete my video with...

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Posted by on Nov 15, 2014

Airwheeling London – Westminster

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. 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...

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Posted by on Oct 18, 2014

200 Airwheel Hours

200 Airwheel Hours

Challenge AeroJ… Yep, it’s my 200th hour of gliding about, and unlike my 100th hour celebrations, which involved various quantities of tea, hills and cake, this time I wanted to up the stakes a bit, and to incorporate some ‘skills’ into proceedings. So let’s do a lot of hard things at once. And I’ve certainly given myself stuff to work with. Firstly, it’s pouring with rain, which soaked me, my Airwheel X5 and my Ibanez electric, and this leaves the bowl, and the paths round it VERY precarious and slippy – there are Autumn leaves to contend with too; also slippy, some mud in the bowl, AND we’re trying to play a metal-tastic riff or 2 with some degree of accuracy and a nice clean end section, while we airwheel about in all of the above. Good luck with that… Gear lab Getting drenched in the weather today will be my Ibanez S370 and my Yamaha semi-acoustic, and I’m filming on a fully waterproof GoPro3+ Black Edition in Superview 48...

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Posted by on Sep 19, 2014

South Coast Glide

South Coast Glide

To See the Sea… I love those Southsea walkways, and can barely let a week or 2 pass before I feel the pull of the Southsea coastline, and long to be Airwheeling my way along the seafront, with the wind in my hair, and only the vaguest of ideas about where I might be heading… 4 solid miles of walkway action was my reward for venturing South on such a lovely day, and my Airwheel effortlessly glided me up and down the most challenging of slopes and surfaces. No falls or UDM’s, and very few foot-downs at all in the whole trip. Suddenly found myself surrounded by ‘proper’ unicyclists at one point, and impressed by their skills followed them for a while, but ultimately their leg muscles couldn’t compete with my batteries ;) Then it was back to the hoverport to watch the hovercraft leave, and then a leisurely glide back to the Pyramid center and home… Galleries are us… Pictures say more than I can bothered to type...

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Posted by on Sep 16, 2014

Team Aerowheel do Butser

Team Aerowheel do Butser

X-series, off-road, uphill In what will surely be remembered as Team Aerowheel’s second outing into the wilderness, we joyfully wheeled ourselves to the summit of Butser Hill, and then ventured forth onto the surrounding grassy plains for a full battery’s worth of gliding about the numerous undulating hillsides… it was a good hour and a half of weapons-grade fun. Skillset It’s quite a challenging ride in places, especially after dark, but Butser is always a rewarding place to Airwheel, if you can only avoid those damn rabbit holes. Although the main tracks at the top are fairly easy, there’s some difficult cambers and areas of rutty, stony ground ready to unfoot you at a moments notice if you don’t see them or if you’re going too fast… The key to not letting this happen lies in making sure you have total lower body independence from your top half, which allows a general lean in the direction you want to travel whilst simultaneously choosing a ‘micro-path’ around that general line, avoiding the worst terrain...

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Posted by on Sep 3, 2014

Blackdown & Haslemere

Blackdown & Haslemere

Up to the Down Blackdown, in Haslemere, the highest point in Surrey to be exact. I’m here for a double Air wheel adventure in which I will spend an hour up with the forests and high sandy paths of Blackdown Heath, and then a second hour journeying from the Tesco at the bottom of Wey Hill all the way to Haslemere Town Center, and back again. That will use up all my power, and I will cover some furiously difficult terrain and some perfect paving alike as I glide the 10 solid miles by Airwheel faultlessly carried me. What viewpoint ? Due to a complete absence of any sort of beginners luck, and having no memory from childhood of how to get to the best viewpoints, I ignored the signs, took my own path into the woods, and ended up doing a 4 mile circular route, full of immensely challenging terrain, and managed to circumnavigate all the viewpoints and not find a single one of them, before I found myself...

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Posted by on Sep 1, 2014

Airwheeling Spinnaker Tower to Clarence Pier

Airwheeling Spinnaker Tower to Clarence Pier

What’s bigger than Butser ? The Spinnaker is what’s bigger, and today I’ve Airwheeled all the way from the war memorial to Gunwharf Quays, right in the shadow of the tower itself, where I’ve stopped for some photos and a lovely cup of tea, and then videod most of the way back so you can share in the fun. Airwheel Range Test My machine put in a decnt performance today, taking me all the way into gunwharf and back again, but did run out of jiuce on me before i got back to the car because I got hopelessly lost at one point, and ended up putting 2 miles on the clock in the wrong direction. Had I not done that, my bettery would have been more than adequate for the 2 solid hours of gliding about that I did. I mainly followed walkways, even along wall-top and interior paths, across wooded walkways, through the funfair, and over the streets of Old Portsmouth towards Gunwharf, and once there found the...

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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 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 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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Posted by on Jul 31, 2014

Airwheel challenges

Airwheel challenges

Challenge J… I’ve been thinking of challenges to learn with my machines to make me an all round better pilot, and to hopefully generate some interesting video along the way. I’ve divided them into Silver, Gold and Ultra Categories, because nobody makes anything out of Bronze anymore, and Ultra is easier to get hold of. These are just the skill-based challenges, but there are special mission-based ones too, involving, among other things, castles, abbeys, ruins, stately homes, golf courses to name but a few… And I often go to these things for work at weekends and have lots of time spare to ride around them. So unlike my aerial castles dream, this challenge list might actually stand a chance of getting done ;) Anyway, here’s the Skills Challenges Silver Smooth Wide figure 8 turn, 5 mins Jump up and roll down 10 cm kerb Ride on level raised bed 30 cm or less for 50 m and dismount Go backwards more than 50 m Idle on spot 3 mins...

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Posted by on Jul 30, 2014

Airwheel Range Test

Airwheel Range Test

Miles and miles of coastline …await, in this, my first proper range test of the Airwheel X5. In it, I have charged by battery to full, for an hour and I’m going to start outside the Royal Marines Museum with 4 lights and 98% power. I had a plan in mind, and this was it. You can see it better in zoom view. Basically, I’m going all the way along the coast until I run out of range, via the most interesting path I can find. I was going to start at the RMM, and roll to Clarence Pier, roll round the gardens a bit, maybe look at the model village, grab some seaside and come home. But no. Once I got into the busy recreation areas (which were really busy in some places!) it became a much more interesting ride, as I learned to navigate myself through some very tight spaces and between ever-changing seas of people with varying degrees of awareness of their surroundings… so I deviated a bit....

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