How could bike-cam footage be used in road cycling?

This week has been a great one for bikecam footage – I’m been rhapsodising about this one, put together by Red Bull Bike, of the final runs from Rachel Atherton and Manon Carpenter in the Leogang Downhill MTB World Cup – you can see exactly where the race was won, and really get an idea of their different styles, and I bloody love it!  MTB is full of GoPro video (remember Gee Atherton’s unfortunate manly accident caught on camera?) and I love the pre-World Cup track previews Red Bull Bike put together – eg Claudio Caluori’s Fort William preview, and Katerina Nash and Georgia Gould’s Cross Country trackwalk and Jenny Rissved’s preview of the Eliminator course at Nove Mesto.

And it’s not just MTB, we also had some great helmetcam from the Berlin BMX Supercross World Cup – videos from Brooke Crain (including her crash), and from Felicia Stancil (with great jumping shadows) and former World Champ Mariana Pajon (including the moment Caroline Buchanan passed her, and celebrated her win:

and from the road, with Alison Powers leading out Coryn Rivera to win Stage 4 of the North Star Grand Prix

Now, I don’t understand why the UCI banned on-bike cameras in the first place.  Remember these AA videos, from 2011?  Marijn de Vries‘ crash in the Ronde van Vlaanderen, and Lucinda Brand (I think) in the uphill attacks and descending through the pack in the Giro Donne – wow!

(More AA Drink videos including bike-cam – Giro Donne Stage 1Giro Donne Stage 4, with Linda Villumsen’s attack, and Giro Donne Stage 3, which has no bikecam, but does have ice-vest dancing!)

And we love Gracie Elvin’s video-diaries of her life on the road, including this one of ORICA Team Time Trial prep

So, how else could bike-cam be used in cycling?  Obviously more of these kinds of videos, but that head-to-head downhill video is fantastic, and I’d love to see the same sort of thing from ITTs, with the top 2 runs placed next to each other, so we can see exactly where the race was won.  Or team time trials!  And put forward-facing cams on sprinters’ bikes, and show not just individual riders, but also the top 2 riders’ footage next to each other.  And just show footage in general, it’s fascinating.  I would LOVE to see how eg Marianne Vos moves through the peloton, and uphill attacks, what it’s like for riders going up the iconic climbs in the Classics and the Giro, and descending, and just everything, really.

And on the track – I’d love to watch a keirin or a sprint from riders’ perspectives (especially the keirin, wow!) – and in cyclocross, the final lap would be fantastic, especially 2 riders’ laps side-by-side (I know, there’s the mud issue – check out this hilarious video from the Cairns MTB Eliminator, I laughed out loud – and isn’t it great that Red Bull Bike showed it?).  Back in the day, used to have the “crazy camera guy” ride each SuperPrestige course with cameras strapped all over him, and I loved the insights that gave.

Now, one of the things in the way is that teams and riders might not necessarily have the incentive to do these head-to-head pieces, and that’s one of the (many) reasons Red Bull is such a great sponsor.  I can hand-on-heart say the reason I became addicted to downhill MTB was because of Red Bull Bike, and each race being shown live & archived on Red Bull tv.   But race organisers or the tv companies could, it’s win-win, and I can genuinely say editing things like that is not hard, even I can do it (riders, if you have bikecam video, send it to be, I can edit it for you, it’s super-simple).

And with so many of these cameras being wifi enabled, imagine how they could be included in race live-streaming?  Someone like Tour Tracker could give us the option to flip between moto or bikecam views – and on tv, companies could put it up in-race, either by itself, or as a split-screen.  It would certainly enliven some of the duller parts of the men’s TdF sprint stages!

And these videos definitely pull in the hits – I can tell just from my RTs and tumblr re-blogs in my tiny corner of the interwebs.  People love to see this stuff, and it can be exhilarating to watch.  As soon as the UCI gets rid of the insane ban (the sooner the better!) I can’t wait to see all the exciting new ways riders, teams, races and media use this.  Dear GoPro, please give a camera to Marianne Vos, how could you lose?  Bikecam is the greatest – more! Now! Please!


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