Garmin VIRB Ultra 30

A couple of years ago I saw a sports camera on sale.  I decided to buy because I thought of my cycling was good enough to put onto YouTube and show the world… Oh, how wrong I was!

There is nothing more depressing than watching hours of your own footage an realising that “nope” I don’t have any material. zip. nada.

Fast forward four years and I’m riding everything that I can get my grubby little paws onto – and having a go at this blogging stuff so when I saw that Garmin had released their new VIRB – the Ultra 30 I thought I would give it a try. After my first ride, I confess I did get some post purchase dissonance because I felt the battery life was too short. Like all things male, after consulting the manual I realised that voice control, Bluetooth, wifi and Garmin ANT remotes mode would have an adverse effect on the battery life.

Last Saturday was my first opportunity to really test the Garmin – the lads were going Shuttlin! Shuttling is where you take turn at driving the vehicle down the hill to pick up the riders and then play a suitably random game such as ching chong cha to decide who drivers next. It means you get around 5-8 runs (depending on length and fitness) a day. Totally oppose to the “earn your descents theory”

So lesson 1 – Garmin image stabilisation is good, but it is stretched to the max when you mount the camera on the handlebars.

Obviously measuring cadence on a DH bike is pointless so for G metrix only had HR. HR overall was pretty low for the day, but this is only the third time I’ve done these runs after breaking my shoulder, 5 ribs and getting blood in the lungs (SO last year) – You will understand we I was a little skittish. (ok disclaimer over now onto the video.)

The day progressed all that separated me from my glorious video revival was a 30 km ride home into a 22 kt head wind…

Come Sunday evening I settled in to edit the video. Being a big fan of Zwift I thought that I could merge these two exercises – and so did a Z1 ride on the trainer while editing the footage. Wow, I still don’t have it. 45 mins later and while I’m sweating from the riding, the video is still, in a word, Boring.

Wait a minute… what’s that option “auto create video”?

Click, choose the type of video, then the activity, then the music and “go”.

about 30 seconds later Im looking at a perfectly edited video of the day – and the super smart part is that the software uses the metrix to decide what are the best bits! Hang time/Speed?elevated HR/ G force all are flagged and then the vide is built around them – complete with fancy transitions and timed music.


In conclusion the battery life as with all cameras could be better and I could have been smarter with my mounting, but the G metrix magic that the software offers is above and beyond, and I think reason enough to buy this smart little camera!

eBay and toddlers

So I’ve decided that I’m no longer safe on the road – crazy drivers (ok in korea there is some truth to this – I think their drivers license requires replicating scenes from mad max). As such there is only one answer. Radar. Like what helped the allies defeat the Germans in world war 2, on my bike. Awesome. AND, it doubles as a light. AND the technology was developed by a fellow South African. Win.

BUT, I’m not interested in paying retail – after all only snobs pay retail. Enter eBay.

I’m told that great deals are to be had on cycling gear on eBay, and the idea appealed – set my upper limit for what I’m willing to pay for a piece of kit and then my app goes into a one up battle with your app – and hopefully because I have  slightly (and I’m talking cents) deeper pocket, I win the item, get the girl and live happily ever after. Well I’m half way there, I got the girl so now I just need the gear.
Oh how naive I was. I think there is a thesis waiting to be written about eBay bidding behavior – Brinkmanship and late nights. 

After losing out on my first 3 varia radars, it just kills me to see that you lose out by a pound or a dollar. I’m sure the winning bid had set their limit higher but they only need to eclipse your max. Ok to be honest I probably could have tried harder but being in Seoul all my auctions ended at like 4 am – and I’m afraid for my safely but not THAT afraid.

So another varia went up, I controlled the bidding for the first 3 days and it had settled on £80 (retail is £150 or so…) then no one really bothered. While there were three other bidders in the mix I was cautiously optimistic.

Fast forward 2 days and I was still in tr lead. As usual with 8 hrs to go I went to bed. 

Come 4am our 2 year old decided it was cuddle time “huggy” she says. I walk her back tone and take 10 mins to settle her. As I lie down again I remembered my auction and curiously logged in. 

5 minutes till close!

Score, I bid and immediately was trounced. Ah so there was someone else at play. Game on. We danced while the time dropped and at 40 seconds to go we were at £92. I bid 94 and se did my mysterious challenger. They got in a second before me so even though the leading bid was 94 they had it.

10 seconds to go. 

Rapid typing ensured and suffice to say I secured a new varia radar for 96 pounds – and somewhere someone is frustrated. And tats why the fuel of this post is eBay and toddlers.

I’ll post a review of it once I get it 🙂 thanks for reading…

Update: just snipered a Asia winter jacket for £54. Must stop.