After getting brake tested by a car and hitting the back of it recently, I decided it was time to join those who film everything on a GoPro Session (or similar) for when the inevitable happens. On a more positive note, it’ll add something new to my blog posts as well so there’s some upsides to it as well!
After searching around the various bike cameras on the market, I ended up with the small, compact and unobtrusive option of the GoPro Session 4. GoPro has pretty much taken over the action camera market to the point where ‘GoPro’ has become the genericism (like hoover or jacuzzi).
So far I’ve taken it with me on the Dragon Ride and for a stint in Derby Velodrome and the Women’s Tour of Britain. I was impressed, the quality is amazing, particularly when the camera is stationary.
Stationary GoPro Session footage
Below is an example from the Women’s Tour of Britain stage that went from Stoke on Trent to…Stoke on Trent (via Stafford where this was taken). I placed it on the kerb pointing down the road and hit record when I saw the first rider begin to come round the bend ahead. Fixed onto the flat platform mount that came with the GoPro Session, it took good quality video, even if the murky day made the colours a touch bland.
Moving GoPro Session footage
Attached to the bike the quality still stacks up. Naturally it suffers a bit on bumpier roads as the mount doesn’t fix the camera in position but gives it some rotation play. Generally it has worked out fine though. Only a couple of bumps on the Dragon Ride re-adjusted where the camera was pointing and they were probably the worst ones I hit on that day. Landscapes are visible, again the murky day in places doesn’t help things but in the bright sunlight the colour does appear very nice.
I mounted the GoPro Session as pictured above under the Garmin and also early in the ride it was under my saddle pointing backwards. The ease of being able to buy mounts for the GoPro Session means you can pretty much attach it to anything going.
As a safety camera for cyclist commuters
I bought the GoPro Session primarily after an accident where a driver brake-tested me late before a junction and then tried to claim for the damage to their car (subsequently dropped thankfully). I decided that I wanted some video to cover my back in case it happened again – especially as on that particular ride I’d forgotten to press Go on my Garmin.
I commute through central Birmingham semi-regularly (perks of being a largely home worker) and have had quite a few near-misses and a couple of non near-misses too. The driving at times can be shocking in Birmingham. So far I’ve managed to record another late overtake brake test, the quality of which was perfect. The registration plate was clear and visible. The situation leading up to the overtake is clearly shown and matched what I thought whilst riding. If I’d been unlucky enough to hit the back of the van, I feel like I would be able to cover myself thanks to the footage.
Final Review of GoPro Session Hero 4
So far, two or three weeks into using this camera I’ve been very impressed. The footage quality is perfect for what I wanted and the variety of what you can do with it is amazing. I can set up mounts all over my bike, my helmet and my actual body if I wanted and just quickly switch it between them. Videos are definitely better when there’s some variety in viewpoint so this was a big plus for me.
The Session 4 has recently been overtaken model number-wise by the Sesson 5, so these are now doing the rounds for about £150 at the moment. Quite reasonable for something so all round high-quality that ticks all the boxes.