A test ride in ʼs-Hertogenbosch and Vught
Billet en français
This post is a first, in a particular sense: I bought a new camera. Of course I had a few cameras already. Take for instance that camera that can film in 360 degrees. It is nice, and I will certainly keep using it when images all the way around really add something, but the overall image quality of the 360 camera was a bit too poor for my liking. A lot of people agree, judging from the many blunt complaints on YouTube. That is why I now bought a GoPro8 Hero. In this post I will publish the first video I shot with it.
My new GoPro8 Hero in the official bar mount. This way the view point is a bit low and my brake cables are sometimes visible. An advantage is that people hardly notice the camera this way.
The partly disappointing 360 camera was not the only reason to buy a new camera. My iPhone11 Pro can shoot perfect video, but unfortunately I am no longer allowed to film handheld in the Netherlands. The fine for holding an electronic device while riding a bicycle is a little over €100 and there is enforcement I can now tell you from experience. It is simply not sustainable to keep doing this, so I had to find an alternative. Thanks to some very generous followers, who support me financially with donations, I was able to spend quite a bit of money on this new camera. (An extra ‘thank you’ to New Zealand!) Although I was able to save some money too, thanks to yet another kind follower who bought the camera for me in a location where the price was lower than in Europe at the time. Unfortunately the planned personal delivery was not possible with the travel ban (due to the Corona pandemic) so in the end I had the camera sent to me.
This video was filmed with this set-up. The camera on a selfie-stick held by my “baby carriage umbrella holder”. The advantage: the camera is then almost at eye level, so a very natural view point. Disadvantage: people notice this from far away.
I had experienced how well a GoPro camera films thanks to the student who filmed his morning commute to Amsterdam, recently. Especially the extremely good stabilisation and the stunning wind noise reduction are a big plus for me to choose this camera. There still is a bit of wind noise left in this first video, but that is because I chose a particularly windy day to try it out. I have done further tests and the results were very good. I’m still tweaking which setup on my bicycle is best. I have the official bar mount, but my “baby carriage umbrella holder” setup that I also used for the 360 camera seems to do even better. I am also testing what’s better; I can either film in 4K with normal stabilisation or in full HD with extra stabilisation. This week’s video is the latter. In any case, I’m sure this new camera is going to increase the quality of my future videos. Make sure to watch it in the highest resolution. The test route I chose to cycle is not very special, but has all kinds of cycling infrastructure (and surfaces to test the stabilisation). This was filmed on 31 May. The last day of the first phase of the Dutch so-called intelligent lockdown. One day later cafés and restaurants reopened and the streets were much busier again.
This is the 14 km long route I took (counter clockwise) on Sunday 31 May starting shortly after 6 in the evening.
In this post some pictures with extra information in the captions, but do particularly enjoy the long test-video!
Starting point: the ʼs-Hertogenbosch Market Square in front of Town Hall. As you can tell from the flags it was quite windy that day. The outside café on the left hand side would only open one day later as the first bans in the Corona crisis would be partially lifted.
A number of yellow lines, arrows and signs try to persuade people to stay right as much a possible in the city centre. But as you can see that is not something the Dutch are generally good at, following directions in any way. There are two people in this picture, both on the ‘wrong’ side of the street. The new image was so sharp that I decided to blur this woman’s face. I don’t want to shame her particularly. And just look at the bricks in the street. So sharp!
The famous golden dragon in front of the railway station has temporarily been removed. The monument – especially the stone base – will be completely restored.
A one-way street for motor traffic with a 30km/h speed limit. The street is open for two way cycling. In many other cities a cycle street sign would probably be put up. But ʼs-Hertogenbosch doesn’t use that – not yet legal – sign.
This is the first of only two traffic lights in my entire 14 kilometre ride. This one was red for about 3 seconds after I arrived.
A nice example that advertising in the Netherlands is very often in English. It has become the preferred language in marketing.
This first part of the cycleway next to the canal in Vught is nice and wide. You can cycle two abreast and there is more than enough space for other people to pass.
The cycleway is narrower further away from ʼs-Hertogenbosch. Fortunately it is still well lit at night. I almost seems the light is on but that is the sun reflected in the glass of the light.
When I rode past this parking lot I noticed a lot of cars leaving at the same time. This is the parking lot of the maximum security prison located in a part of the former concentration camp. A shift must have ended. I can’t be the only one who feels uncomfortable that a Nazi concentration camp evolved into a maximum security prison.
In April this year I noticed that the signs to the numbered intersection here were not quite what I expected. The organisation would look into it, but strangely enough the signs are still unnumbered. I like that you can even see that. My other cameras would shoot an image that would be too blurry.
I had to take a left turn here and then again in 100 metres. I failed to see that the cycleway on the near side of the intersection is bi-directional. I took the long way around the intersection, but I could have taken the blue short cut. It would have saved me two interactions with car drivers. Even for a Dutch person it is not always instantly clear if a cycleway is in one-direction or two.
In Vught I went through a residential area. This is a maze of one-way streets for motor traffic, which means only residents use these streets. As the sub-signs indicate cycling is excepted. When you are riding a bicycle you are allowed to simply cycle straight-on.
I cycle here quite often, but I never realised there is a footpath behind the grass on the right hand side. I could tell now, with the two people walking there. Whenever I rode alongside grasses this tall you could see how windy it really was.
The most beautiful approach to ʼs-Hertogenbosch is from the south where the historic inner-city is directly next to meadows. The cathedral must have looked exactly like this for many centuries from this location.
Every now and then Dutch drivers are willing to demonstrate they are in no way different than in any other country. This lady stopped illegally on a white cross for a traffic light while on her phone, which -obviously- is also illegal.
This was the last time I could legally cycle here on a Sunday. The pedestrianised area is no longer open for cycling in the weekends due to the Corona pandemic. The yellow lines and the sign try to persuade people to keep right as much as possible.
Back where I started 45 minutes earlier. Town hall is on the left hand side. The outdoor cafés were ready for the next day. Again I like how you can almost see every individual brick on this square.
Test ride from ‘s-Hertogebosch to Vught and back. 45 minutes.
For me it looks best on a PC screen in the highest resolution.
Sped-up version if you just want to quickly see where I rode. (8x & no sound).
Note: the software to create this hyper-lapse ruined the quality of the images.