At some point I’ve got to just put a whole post together with the over under on the Insta360 X3 and the GoPro 11s I’ve recently purchased and been using to film this and recent VLOGs. Altogether massive improvements in the tech. The ability to get amazing shots, and absurdly cool shots, angles, and whatever odd views of video have gotten really good.
On this first quick experimental video from the Insta360 X3 I rode through Marymoor Park. while on this ride through the park I provide some introduction to and narrative of the various sections of the park. To complement the video, here are some key links to information about the park and the Insta360 X3 Camera.
The First Insta360 X3 Experience!
I went to Marymoor Park to test out the Insta360 X3 the first time for a few reasons.
I knew it would be spacious and I could bike around without any concern for being in any narrow corridors or difficult to bike areas. I just wanted to be able to focus on getting footage and seeing how the camera performed.
There is plenty of ride time, i.e. uninterrupted path, to travel down and record on. Easy to setup a route and get into a diatribe about whatever feature of the camera.
Finally, I was planning to just hold the selfie stick with the camera on it, and wanted to make sure I wasn’t going to inadvertently hit somebody or something with it!
Beyond the topics I talked about in the video (scroll to the end of the post for the full video plus time points), there were a number of other post-video observations I made.
1st thing I noticed was, in spite of my effort to have the camera face a particular direction, I really didn’t need to have it face any direction in particular. The mics, which there are several, picked up my voice just fine even while moving. The video worked out regardless of which way the camera was pointing, it literally just needed to be on and out there a few feet away from me to capture everything.
2nd interesting observation, in conflict with my previous observation. After time spent reviewing the videos and moving the camera angle around during edits, it became obvious that there is indeed a very slender area of the 360 degree view that gets blurry where it is stitched together. Basically the very sides, top, and bottom – where the selfie stick attaches – go blurry. Which, this is the physical mechanism that they use to make the selfie stick disappear. A little bit of software to stitch it, and mostly it isn’t immediately visible. However, upon closer observation, you do indeed see that stitch line. Which means, you should at least keep either the front or back camera generally facing in some way toward what you intend to shoot.
3rd observation. The camera, albeit light in a general sense, sits heavy on the selfie stick. It tends to make it bend ever so slightly and in some rare situations, become visible again. More on these selfie stick situations in the more extensive write up on this and the GoPro cameras in the future. But suffice it to say, the selfie stick needs held at particular angles to get good shots. Letting it lean and bend too much can be problematic if you’re expecting it to properly disappear.
Beyond those, more in the near future, I’ve collected a number of observations, tips, tricks, and all that since I’ve been using the camera for a while now. So be sure to subscribe here to the blog, or the VLOG.
f you’re curious about my other rides, I’ve written up a few posts about them under my “All-City Pop Rocket” and “Space Horse Disc“. Today’s post is about the Riese & Müller Load 75 Electric Cargo Bike and the adventures we’ve gone on so far! If you’re curious about the exact specs, I’ll have those at the very end of this post.
Day 1 – Pick Up @ G & O
The first day involved pick up. I only mention this because it wasn’t merely a “go in store, buy bike, take home” type of scenario. With one of these bikes amidst these modern day supply challenges, combined with America’s inferior transportation systems and draconian take on anything but automobile travel, these bikes are kind of hard to get. So on day 1, at pick up, I’d already purchased and waited through shipping from Germany and the final assembly of the bike here in the USA. That’s where I’m happy to highly recommend G & O Family Cyclery in Seattle.
G & O Family Cyclery is a shop that focuses on bikes for people with families, like me, that want to have the extra advantage of a powered bicycle (or non-electric if you want to give that a go, but this is Seattle, land of hills and mountains!) or replace a car outright. In my case, I have no car to replace, so this is merely an addition that my son can ride in or I can just run errands and pick up metric tons of pizzas for game night! Whatever your reason for wanting an electric family focused bike, G & O Family Cyclery is your place in Seattle for the premium options.
Once I had made this decision and purchased the bike, it started it’s route from Darnstadt, Germany to Seattle, Washington, USA. This took well over a month and into the 6+ weeks time frame. To note, I also ordered a bike that was basically ready to be shipped too, another that is ordered custom and still has to be made ready to ship could easily take another 2-4 weeks or more depending on the build queue. Needless to say, if you want a high quality, durable, and capable e-bike of this caliber then you’ll likely have to wait a bit for it to arrive.
Once it arrived G & O assembled the bike and added various accoutrements to the bike. I didn’t get just the base bike, which I’ve included a picture of here for reference of what the “base” bike looks like.
The base cargo bike itself is extremely smooth riding, powerful, with one of the more (most?) powerful electric motors from a torque perspective on the market. Which, when you live in a place like I do that torque is crazy important to get up the hills! But I didn’t just purchase the basic bike because I wanted more flexibility. Some of the things I wanted to be able to do with this bike includes:
The ability to pick up food from town, about 1-2 miles away, in the heart of Redmond. Then return with that food while it’s still hot and fresh. Not a single soggy ass hamburger will be allowed, not a single dried out set of soup dumplings, not a single cold kebab!
The ability to safely carry a child with seat belts to keep em’ in the bay, with protection from the wind and rain, because again, I do live in Redmond, Washington where it rains about 8 months of the year!
The ability to load up for outdoor expeditions that trek at least 20+ miles out into the woods in one direction. Then be able to trek back from that location without needing a recharge!
The ability to get into and out of Seattle from way over here in the boonies of Redmond, without using any mode but the bike and without requiring a recharge. In addition, while in Seattle I’d need at least 10-20 miles worth of charge to run errands, pick up equipment, tools, or other things like 1U, 2U, or 4U Rack Servers since I’m a hardware nerd and I pick up things like that sometimes. For those not versed, that’s about 20-80 lbs (9-36 kilograms) of metal computer gear that is about 2-3 feet long (0.6-1 meter deep from the rack perspective) and ~2 foot wide (0.6 meters) and a few inches tall (7-8 cm).
The ability to carry a keg. Not that I’d likely be doing that because these days I generally just fill a growler if I’m going to carry a quantity of beer somewhere or buy a bunch of singles. Which, in that case this bike would also need to carry 24-36 bottles of beer or wine as smoothly as possible so they don’t break.
The ability to carry a propane tank for things like a grill. Ya know, cuz sometimes ya gotta cook veggies for the vegans AND you want to whip out some wicked steaks on the grill. Propane is pretty wicked efficient for that!
Carry 1-2 guitars and a 2×12″ Amp. Weighing in at a solid 100-140 lbs (45-64 kilograms).
That rounds out the tasks this bike needs to achieve for me on a daily basis, so when I ordered it I bumped up the gear, which Riese and Müller are of course more than prepared for! To ensure that this bike would be able to accomplish every single one of those goals I consulted with the G & O Cyclery Crew and they put together a build for me that included the following:
Low Side Walls & Child Cover, along with three child seats (albeit I’ve not got three kids, but YOLO!), footwell, and a luggage shelf for the kiddo.
This took care of several of the tasks, almost 90% of the need around food pick up, and carrying an amp and a guitar in a hardshell case. All those things were check, check, and checked!
There were a few more amenities needed to really round out things and ensure that not 90% of the need was fulfilled but 100% of the need. That included a rear carrier rack, additional lock chain and bag for the lock chain, multicharger, and upgrading form single battery to dual battery! With those additions every single one of those tasks is now met, and beyond day 1 I’ll be providing some coverage right here about the Load 75 adventures!
We come full circle now with full context of new bike pick up day! What did new bike pick up day at G & O Family Cyclery consist of? Well, Davey Oil (Jenna and the rest of the crew that had been helping me pick this out where there too! Hey y’all! 👋🏻) gave a run down of all the bike gear, battery system, engineering, and coverage of maintenance and check ups for the bike. He didn’t just spit it all out to me as an unknown quantity either like happens sometimes in bike shops, he discussed with me my own experience with bikes, took into account that I basically have a bike shop of gear to work on bikes with, albeit often don’t have time to. He also took into account after a little discussion, that I’ve been riding and been car-free – i.e. only used a bike for my primary transportation for over a decade – and then went over those topics.
Davey going over these things with me before going over all of these things allowed him to specifically cater what details I could really use, was able to answer specific questions I had, and really set me up for successful usage of the bike! The TLDR, I was impressed and I’m not usually impressed very often.
With that, day 1 was complete and I set out from G & O for that 17 mile ride back home to Redmond, Washington!
I asked a few things, and Chat GPT had some interesting answers.
Question “What are some good foods to bring on the bus when commuting?“
GPT Answer “When choosing foods to bring on the bus while commuting, it’s important to consider how the food will hold up during your trip. Here are some good options:
Portable, non-perishable snacks like trail mix, granola bars, or dried fruit
A sandwich or wrap made with hearty bread or a tortilla to prevent it from getting soggy
Fresh fruits or vegetables that are easy to eat and won’t make a mess, such as apples, carrots, or cherry tomatoes
Single-serving packages of crackers or chips
Bottled water or a reusable water bottle
It’s also a good idea to avoid foods that are messy, smelly, or likely to spoil quickly, as they may not be well-received by your fellow passengers.”
Question “On cold weather days, with ice and snow, what are considerations to take into account when taking the bus?“
GPT Answer “When taking the bus in cold weather, there are a few important things to consider to stay safe and comfortable:
Dress in layers to stay warm. Wear a base layer of moisture-wicking fabric to keep your skin dry, a middle layer for insulation, and a outer layer that is wind- and water-resistant.
Wear warm socks, gloves, and a hat to protect your extremities from the cold.
Keep your phone, keys, and other important items in a bag or pocket that is easy to access while wearing gloves.
Watch for ice and snow on the ground, and take extra care when walking to and from the bus stop.
Be prepared for delays, as inclement weather can sometimes cause buses to run behind schedule.
If you’re feeling cold on the bus, try to move to a seat near the front where the heat may be stronger.”
Question “Why are light rail transit options superior to bus transit options?“
GPT Answers “Light rail transit (LRT) is generally considered to be superior to bus transit for a few reasons. First, LRT vehicles are larger and can carry more passengers, which can make them more efficient for transporting large numbers of people. Second, LRT systems are typically more reliable and have a fixed route, which can make them more convenient for passengers. Third, LRT systems are often more energy-efficient and have lower operating costs than bus systems. Finally, LRT systems can have a positive impact on the surrounding community, as they can encourage transit-oriented development and help to reduce traffic congestion.”
Question “Why are bus transit options superior to light rail transit options?“
GPT Answer “While light rail transit (LRT) has many benefits, there are also some situations where bus transit may be superior. One advantage of buses is that they are more flexible and can easily be rerouted to serve changing travel patterns or unexpected events. Buses are also generally less expensive to implement and operate than LRT systems, which can make them a more cost-effective option for some communities. Additionally, buses can access areas that may be difficult for LRT vehicles to reach, such as narrow streets or steep hills. Finally, buses are often more accessible than LRT systems, as they can be equipped with ramps or lifts for passengers who use wheelchairs or other mobility aids.”
Our entire transit questions and arguments will be replaced by the machines in the very near future!