it may have been my french teacher or possibly my history teacher, but either way, one of them definitely had eyes in the back of their head. though i did once receive three strokes of the belt from my mathematics teacher (i had asked the fellow sitting next to me if he could say parallelogram, three times quickly), that was pretty much in full view of the teacher as he consulted his book prior to scribbling on the blackboard. the other, and i apologise for not remembering specifically which, but it was quite some number of years ago, seemed to have this uncanny sixth sense, resulting in a chalk projectile heading in the direction of anyone talking out of turn.
aside from the eyes-in-the-back-of-the-head skill, this was accompanied by the sort of throwing accuracy that would likely have resulted in a professional career as a darts player. we often used to wonder if the teachers' education college from which the majority of staff had graduated, held special courses on attack skills, rendering them all but invincible in the face of unruly pupils. probably not, for even in those days of so-called corporal punishment i doubt it was considered to be a promotable line of action.
though car ownership was rife in the 1970s, it hadn't quite reached the level of saturation that appears to be the case nowadays. many of the teaching staff simply walked to work, though obviously the head teacher was too important for travel to be by anything other than the latest of ford cortina ghia with automatic transmission (rumour had it the latter was a necessity as mrs headteacher had once driven into town without changing out of first gear). i recall only one of my secondary school teachers who actually cycled to work; his aim in class was every bit as accurate as the others, but he resorted to using blackboard dusters as his exocet missile.
had those with the sixth sense described above found themselves as committed cycle commuters, it is most unlikely that any would have come a cropper at the hands or steering wheel of an errant motorist approaching from behind. nowadays however, when it is apparently a condition of planning permission for new-builds that there is ample car parking for at least two cars, the prophecy has been fulfilled. several households in the immediate vicinity are party to three motor cars. aside from requiring more parking space than is readily available, at sometime or other those cars will be traversing the local tarmac.
and that's only on a small island. i shudder to think how this situation is multiplied on the mainland.
despite this ever-increasing number of cars on the roads, it is frequently the case that, in cities and larger towns at least, commuting by bicycle is not only the most efficient means of transport, but quite often the quickest. it is therefore of little surprise that many choose this very mode of travel, negating any oppressive need to find a parking space on arrival at one's destination. i realise i'm preaching to the converted, but so doing does not alleviate the inherent dangers of riding midst motorsist already aggaravated by the number of cars preventing them exploring the stated acceleration of the very vehicles in which they are well and truly stuck.
this is, if nothing else, the very time when a pair of eyes in the back of your head would be more than welcome.
until medical science can make that a practical reality, how about an eye on the back of your seatpost? and not just any old eye, but one capable of 720p hd video? that is precisely what the folks at cycliq have managed to provide in the shape of their fly6 rear light/hd video combo. the fly6 is scarcely any larger than a number of flashing rear lights currently available on the market, though it is one or two grams heavier.
the flashing led section offers a few different modes, including an incredibly powerful strobe light sited just under the camera lens. the hd camera can be used without need for the lights to flash, achieved by deftly pressing the buttons on each side until the desired combination results. video is continuously recorded onto a miniscule micro-sd card. this works in a constant loop mode, storing ten minute chunks in .avi format. when it fills the available storage, it begins all over again. oddly enough, the manual states that the 32gb micro-sd will store around eight hours of video, yet the battery is apparently rated at six hours.
altering the date and time, recorded visually on every video frame, is a simple matter of altering a text file included on the sd-card.
the fly6 arrives with pretty much everything you'll need to attach it to virtually any seatpost on the market, including aero style. there's a cable with which to charge the battery via a usb slot and a standard sd-card adapter in order to access the stored video. rather obviously, the fly6 has rather limited use in a rural setting; sheep and cattle rarely attempt to sneak up on itinerant cyclists. thus, the short video which i've uploaded to vimeo, while possibly offering the ideal cure for insomnia, is principally designed to show the quality of video (link below).
despite islay's roads being a lot less than billiard-table flat and the fact that the camera was attached to the seatpost of a specialized crux by means of two rubber bungee cords, the quality is quite impressive. i had truly expected the footage to be a lot less stable than is indeed the case. if you consider that urban roads, though scarcely flat, are generally a smidgeon less akin to offroad than the route traversed during the video, there's little doubt that footage recorded during the daily commute, would have the sort of spielberg quality that mine lacks.
should you have the great misfortune to be involved in an accident, if the fly6 detects that the bicycle has tilted to an angle greater than 60 degrees for five seconds or more, it triggers a program that will shut the device down after one hour, preserving footage prior to and following the incident (always assuming that the fly6 isn't damaged at the time). this may be of great use during any subsequent legal proceedings.
it's a clever idea well executed and its £99 price tag could prove well worth the expenditure should anything untoward occur when out and about on your bicycle, cheerfully minding your own business. it's easy to use, easy to fit and accessing the video files was simplicity itself. unfortunately, not all video editing applications are happy importing .avi files, but i simply downloaded a free app entitled smartconverter allowing me to create the linked file in apple's imovie. the fly6 also records audio, but in the example below, i simply switched this off in the editing software because the sound of rotating tyres and cyclists chatting while they pedal, seemed a tad irrelevant.
cycliq also feature an hd video/front led light on their website as currently available for pre-order. fit both on the same bike and you may have to incorporate the words 'cctv recording in progress' on the front of the club jersey.
saturday 19 march 2016..........................................................................................................................................................................................................