Filming the prince

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Our old dog Zola loves to ride in his Doggy Hut. He glides along, gazing imperiously at the passing scenery like some pampered prince. And now we’ve finally got it on video.

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I got a GoPro for Xmas but this was the first chance to try it out properly. It was a blazingly bright day, bitterly cold in the wind, although the section of voie verte we cycled was thankfully mostly sheltered.

Image Copyright © Steve Mansfield-Devine. All rights reserved. Plus Registry 01-AA-660.

Setting up the GoPro was a bit of a struggle. I’d tried on a ride before and gave up. This time I took care to do most of the work long before we set off. But I should have refreshed my memory as to how you do stuff like switching on the GoPro and firing up the wifi. I ended up taking a few accidental photos.

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I’m using my iPhone as the controller for the GoPro, with the phone fixed to the handlebars using a Topeak mount. This works well because it allows the phone to be swivelled into landscape position. My iPhone has a weak battery: fortunately, the Gitane e-bike has a USB power outlet, so I was able to keep the phone charged. The GoPro’s battery wasn’t at full power when we set off (I had two spares with me), but it lasted about 45 mins.

So off we set. It was a real delight being able to watch Zola on the iPhone as we barrelled along. It was also a dangerous distraction. I had to keep remonstrating with myself for not keeping my eyes on the road. Although there was no real traffic to worry about – just two couples and one dog (and we were stationary when we met the couple with the dog) – this stretch of the Véloscénie has recently had a lot of work done – mostly trees being chopped down. There’s lots of thick, rutted mud – rock hard in the current dry, cold conditions – and debris from the trees which makes choosing your line of travel very important.

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Zola enjoyed himself as always. He’s more than 15 years old and has had congestive heart disease for the past three years, so we have to be careful not to overtax him. But as Trish mentioned, he also likes to get out and run for short stretches. He really belts along: it’s as though he knows he can always get back in his carriage when he becomes tired.

Our young dog, Cézanne, went predictably mental. At our turning point, we paused for snacks. But Cézanne just wanted us to keep throwing an apple into a field alongside the greenway. After the 12km ride, we was just getting warmed up.

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When we got home I headed straight for the computer and put together a rough montage of the GoPro footage. I didn’t use any image stabilisation – this is how it came straight out of the camera. In future, I’ll do more post-processing. But the point is we finally have our prince-like dog on video.

 

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