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Destroying Worlds Since 2015
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Discussion Starter #481 (Edited)
Some Stuff

Well, I did manage to get a couple of rides in on Tuesday and yesterday (Wednesday), after checking the air quality advisories. Unfortunately today the air quality in Whistler has graduated to shitty. Predictions aren't looking great for the next couple of days, so we've made the decision to head home. If we're going to be stuck inside because of the air, we might as well be stuck where all of our stuff is.

The ride yesterday, Sept 16th, was my 100th riding day this year, which is a pretty cool milestone for me. Last year I have only 67 days recorded, although I don't appear to have started before June. Odd.

Anyway, I've avoided too strenuous of riding, because even though the air quality has been moderate, that's still not great. And I can feel the difference. I run out of wind that much sooner, and it takes that much longer to get it back. I also avoided No Horses because it's been a bit wet, and I don't think my first black trail should be attempted with the additional issue of wet roots and rocks. (The other day doesn't really count as I made a wrong turn and missed most of the trail.)

I'm also seriously eyeing that rock roll at the top of the Toads rock dome. I seem to be just this side of ready to try out rolls like that. Really, having mastered the ladder roll on Jo-Jo, I shouldn't have a problem.

So I don't know what the next couple of days (or weeks?) are going to be like. I can't go riding when the air is crappy. There's some rain come up in the forecast, which is good for the smoke and fires, but bad for the trails. Who knows?

On another subject, I bought the family passes for Seymour today. So now I'm covered for all three mountains: Seymour, Cypress, Whistler. Only Whistler has announced the reservation system, so far. I might conceivably end up staying in the lower mainland for most of the winter if things work out a certain way.
 

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Destroying Worlds Since 2015
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Discussion Starter #482
Things are getting better

They've lifted the air quality advisory for the lower mainland as of today. The rain the last couple of days helped a lot, no doubt. Fortunately, it wasn't the normal biblical all-or-nothing deluge that we normally seem to get around here. A couple of showers, some overnight rain, no biggie. And more importantly, no puddles and mud on the trails--although the roots were a little zippy.

I'm continuing to fool around with my Insta360, trying to find the perfect way to take videos. I 've discovered that the 4K module takes really great videos, even if I can't pick a POV. I tried mounting it in front of the handlebars this morning on my ride. The result is pretty good, although the brake and dropper post cables ended up getting in the way. I'll try again with an extender to get the camera in front of the cables. I'll also try the 360 module in that position. I also need to try the chest mount and helmet mount again, although as mentioned, the helmet mount only really works with a full-face helmet.

Anyway, the actual ride was pretty good. I fell off the long skinny on Jo-Jo, but 'fell off' just means dropped off the side this time--no spill involved. The drop at the bottom of Jo-Jo was a good news / bad news kind of thing. I landed flat, which was good, but I landed almost off the right hand side of the trail while struggling to get my left foot back on the pedal properly. So a kind of a close call there. Nevertheless, the landing felt good, so I think I'm getting it.
 

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Destroying Worlds Since 2015
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Discussion Starter #483
Another good day. I did the usual trails, and hit all the features that I normally try, and nailed all of them. I'm becoming more comfortable with the ladder roll, the two skinnies, and the drop on Jo-Jo. I'm even becoming, well let's say 'less uncomfortable' with the section of Hett Creek just above the bridge. I've nailed that something like 3 of the last 5 times, and the two fails were just dabs, not falling into the creek.

I mounted the camera at the front using the short extender, and that makes a difference not only to the video but also to convenience accessing the camera. Unfortunately, it still looks like a stroll in the park because of the stabilization, so I'll wear the chest mount the next time out, just for comparison.

I still need to add North Starz to my regular ride route. There's no reason I haven't already, except inertia. It's not even particularly difficult, except in the getting-out-of-breath sense. And speaking of which, I did the entire ride up Heritage Mountain Boulevard in 2nd today. That's a new high.

Sadly, there may or may not be any more rides this week. The predictors are not looking optimistic. Even actual thunderstorms. We shall see.
 

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Destroying Worlds Since 2015
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Discussion Starter #484
I managed to get in one last ride before the waters of hell descended upon us. I did the full route including North Starz, which was great.

Now we have what looks like a week worth of rain, in the form of several storm fronts coming in one after the other. There will be no trail-riding for a few days, I think.

I did manage to get in some Insta360 videos on my most recent ride. I really don't think a handlebar-mounted camera is the way to go. It just doesn't give the proper flavor. The chest mount is much better, but not perfect in that the front of the bike blocks some trail detail. I will be trying out a helmet mount with the unicorn/rhino extension. That might do better, but as mentioned before, it requires a full-face helmet to prevent wobble.

More to come.
 

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Destroying Worlds Since 2015
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Discussion Starter #485
Yeah, so assuming I can ride tomorrow (the predictors are optimistic), then I'll have gone 4 days between rides. Jeez, I'm even more addicted to mountain biking than I am to snowboarding, I think. Of course, my early snowboarding career involved waiting 5 days between snowboarding sessions every week, so maybe I've got herd immunity to that. Or something. 🥴

Something I forgot to mention in my previous post though... I discovered a technique while riding up the hill towards home on my last ride. As I've mentioned previously, I practice precision riding by trying to stay between the expansion joint lines on driveways as I ride up on the sidewalk. I think they're maybe 4-6 " across. Some days I've been really good, some days I've sucked. But the other day I figured out the variable. I suck when I sit up straight with my arms mostly straight, and I do much better when I'm crouched down (even when seated). Mechanically, it makes sense. Being crouched gives me more slack with which to extend my arms to the right or left to make adjustments. I just never realized it was that important. Note for the future.

I'm currently watching rock roll videos on youtube. There are a couple of rock rolls, one in Whis, one in Coquitlam, that I've been avoiding because rock roll. But at some point, I have to bite the bullet. I'd be happier if I could watch someone go down them first, but I have to accept the fact that my timing is never that good. So, videos. So far it doesn't look bad. The Coquitlam roll is probably the preferred starter, since the bottom is mostly loam, which should be relatively painless to stop my face with if I bugger it up.

And one last item, I did manage to get all the way up Heritage in second gear the ride before last. So the improvements are real.
 

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Destroying Worlds Since 2015
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Discussion Starter #486
Argh!

Riding through Bert Flinn today, and my rear brake started to squeak again. Same as last time. I cut my ride short and headed home before it got too bad. I washed the bike, just in case dirt was involved, and played with the pads. The pads are definitely both moving, so it's not a seized puck. Or maybe it was seized and has released. Either way, I rode it around the parking lot afterward, and no squeak. But if it starts to go again, I'm going to ask the tech to just replace the entire assembly.

I made a decision today while riding to not avoid rocks and shit any more. I've tended to ride around them whenever possible, and I think that timidity has slowed my progress. Yesterday I saw a guy deliberately roll over the rock that's dead center in the walking trail. And he wasn't that good otherwise. So now I'm running over everything. Hopefully I'll gradually get more aggressive with what I aim at, and hopefully it'll help my stability.
 

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Destroying Worlds Since 2015
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Discussion Starter #487
The wash didn't fix the squeak, sadly. However, I've figured out the pattern. Hard peddling and/or compression of the rear suspension seems to cause the squeak. That leads me to believe that the caliper is slightly misaligned and/or the wheel has some play. I'm going to try the following:

1. Realign the caliper.
2. Check the wheel for tightness and play.
3. Remove the brake pads and clean them.

If none of that fixes it (I am not going to disassemble the brake system to the point where I'd need to bleed it), I'll take it in to Trek and just ask them to replace the entire rear brake assembly. (As mentioned earlier).

This is a long shot, but there's a zip strap around some of my cables in front of the handlebars. If that's causing some kind of change of geometry that forces the hydraulic fluid to close the pucks... Yeah, I dunno, it sounds dumb to me too. But I'm going to cut off the strap anyway. It was there for keeping the cables out of the way of the camera, and I've given up on that option anyway.

On the subject of my actual ride today...

I did North Starz again. Wow, that trail is an ass-kicker. It's not a particularly hard blue overall, but it has several short, punchy first-gear climbs with switchbacks. Those will work the skillz, you bet. I spun my rear tire on the first one, but learned to modulate a bit after that. There's also a pretty impressive rock roll at one point in the trail, which strangely doesn't look quite as big as it did the first time I examined it. The ride-out worries me a little, though.

There's another rock roll on Starz Line 2, which isn't quite as big and has a better ride-out. I finally hit that one today. As usual with such things, the reality wasn't as scary as my imagination painted it. I don't think I'll have trouble with that one. And with a little bit more desensitization, I'll probably be able to do the one on North Starz soon.

Other than that, I did all the usuals, except Hett Creek, because the squeak was getting bad. But that's okay, I was pretty wiped after the North Starz ride. I think the drop at the bottom of Jo-Jo is getting to be routine, and there's another drop on Starz Line 2 that I'll be trying out in the future. It's a bit close to the rock roll though, so I have to make sure I can come out of that feature dependably, so I can get the momentum going.

One last very small issue... the trails in the Starz Line area are all interconnected, and I think some of them don't show up on Trailforks. So I've gotten lost a time or two, although I do always seem to end up down at the bottom of Jo-Jo anyway.

And I'm now dependably coming in under 195 and 38" waist, so that's another milestone.
 

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1. Realign the caliper.
2. Check the wheel for tightness and play.
3. Remove the brake pads and clean them.
Take some fine sandpaper to the brake pads for just a few passes, and cleaning the rotors themselves with some isopropyl alcohol should do the trick. Make sure to re-bed in the brakes though, just a few roll downs gentle on the brakes to get pad material back onto the calipers, trying not to come to any abrupt stops.
 

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Destroying Worlds Since 2015
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Discussion Starter #489
Take some fine sandpaper to the brake pads for just a few passes, and cleaning the rotors themselves with some isopropyl alcohol should do the trick. Make sure to re-bed in the brakes though, just a few roll downs gentle on the brakes to get pad material back onto the calipers, trying not to come to any abrupt stops.
I did a close examination of the whole caliper, and the inside puck is definitely not retracting. Not quite frozen, but definitely has its range of motion reduced. New calipers aren't expensive, so I think I'll probably just ask the shop to swap it. About time for new pads anyway.
 

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Destroying Worlds Since 2015
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Discussion Starter #490
So, the smoke is back. Not nearly as bad as before, I think mostly because this wave is coming all the way up from California and probably thins a little over that distance. But it's enough to make the horizon disappear into a haze, and it's enough to make riding hard uncomfortable. I could feel it this morning whenever I started panting. After a while I just packed it in. I think if I go out at all tomorrow, it'll just be up to the school field to do some techniques. And maybe Coquitlam river and back.
 

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The fires look really bad, seeing them on the telly most nights here in Oz so here's hoping they're under control soon enough.
 

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Destroying Worlds Since 2015
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Discussion Starter #492
The air is better today, at least down at ground level. The high-altitude haze is definitely there, but it seems to be staying aloft. I went for a ride today and didn't feel it in my lungs. I even did the extended route that includes North Starz. I did the rock roll again on Starz Line 2, but couldn't bring myself to launch off the rollable drop. I may have to session that one.

Did all the features on Jo-Jo, including the drop at the bottom--which, come to think of it, is possibly higher than the one on Starz Line 2. Derp. Oh, well, one thing at a time.

I'm regularly pedaling up Heritage Mtn Blvd in 2nd now, and today I did my home stretch in 3rd. So definitely getting stronger and more stamina. My weight is stuck around 195 right now, but I've plateaued every 5 pounds or so since I started keeping track. No biggie, I have another month and a half to two months of riding before the mountains open. And even at 195, I think I'll feel a lot better about my boarding this year.

I checked my rear suspension today because I've felt like it was bottoming out lately. Pressure is right, and my sag is right, but the little ring was close to the bottom of the range when I got back, so I've turned up my rebound speed a bit. Unfortunately, the EX 7 doesn't have a lot of adjustment on the compression setting. It's on medium, and it's basically that or full off or full on. I'll check what the EX 8 has the next time I'm up in Whistler. This might be the excuse I need to buy a new bike. Assuming I can find one.
 

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Destroying Worlds Since 2015
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Discussion Starter #493
I'm up in Whistler for a couple of days, and I went biking this morning. I'm trying out the Insta360 on a helmet mount. I've used my old Giro full-face because it has about the best camera mount accessory I've ever seen--the thing is solid and doesn't vibrate at all, and mounts toward the front. Unfortunately, the Giro collects my breath a little too much, so my glasses are always on the edge of fogging up, so I don't think it's a useful long-term strategy.

The Bell helmets have a camera mount that honestly makes me less confident--both in terms of wobble and in terms of staying put. I'll probably try it tomorrow, but really just for completeness. I did the helmet-mount videos today and while they're an interestingly different perspective, they're not what I'd call compelling. For starters, they work best in portrait mode--in landscape, you either focus on the ground in front of the bike or the middle distance. The former doesn't give you the bigger picture, and the latter might as well be a handlebar mount.

All in all, I haven't been able to come up with anything that's better than a chest mount. It seems to give the best combination of a view of upcoming terrain plus a feel for what the bike is going over, thanks to the handlebars bouncing in the foreground. And landscape mode works best.

And on that subject, I found a site that sells a backpack with a chest mount adapter available for the straps. The ideal merging of both worlds, as far as I'm concerned. I think the only unknown at this point is whether I should use one of my short extenders to stick the camera a little farther forward to get a better view. Something I'll have to try.

Oh, and I got an underwater shell for the Insta360. It's an aftermarket job from Telesin, and honestly, it's better than what Insta is trying to foist on us. One foible I learned this morning, though--condensation is a thing. I did some videos only to discover a big ol' foggy patch right in the middle of the forward lens. Of course. The solution is to put the camera and shell out on the patio for a few minutes to let temps equalize, then seal it in. There are also drying packets that I can stick in with the camera if I want to bother.

So getting around to my actual ride, which is really what the whole thing is about... I didn't do anything excessive, just Molly Hogan and Tin Pants and the route down from Dwarf Nebula. However, I sessioned Dwarf four times, circling around on the fire road, because I just couldn't get through some of the moves today for some reason. Sessioning is definitely the way to go, though. By the fourth try I was able to get all the way through.

And, big news of the day (drum roll), I did the drop at the top of Toads. As with most of the other stuff, the reality wasn't nearly as bad as my anticipatory terror. This drop is actually worse (steeper and deeper) than the one on North Starz in Bert Flinn, so there really is no excuse any longer.

Overall, a fun morning, although I have to say, it's getting cold quickly in Whistler. Temp was around 11c when I left. But that's okay, I have the kit for it.
 

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Destroying Worlds Since 2015
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Discussion Starter #496
Second day in Whistler. Went riding again today, but I decided to not bother with the camera and just have some fun. I did a lot of the usual trails, and was much better at handling natural features today. I really can't decide if my first-day problem is from switching bikes, or because the terrain in Whistler is fundamentally different from the terrain in Coquitlam. I suspect it might be a bit of both.

Interestingly, I'm really starting to warm up to the EX 8. I know I was a little ambivalent about it when I first got it, being more used to the EX 7. But I find now that the 8 is just more solid and predictable, and the brakes and transmission are simply smoother. More expensive parts, I guess. I suspect I may be subconsciously trying to convince myself that it's time for a new bike. 🤨

I did the rock roll on Toads again, so I'm now convinced the first time wasn't a fluke. I also slipped a bit on the rocky section just after the rock roll--nothing to do with the roll, just a slippery patch of rock. It clued me in to the fact that morning dew is going to be an increasingly important consideration, though. Between that and the temps, I will probably have to ride a little later in the morning in the future.

I also did No Horses beginning to end. I got off the bike twice; once to check a drop for chain-ring clearance, and once because the roll-down was a wet combination of rock, loam, and pine needles. No bueno, big time. I don't think I'd have a problem with that feature in better conditions, but I don't think my first attempt should happen when conditions are sketchy. Other than that, No Horses is an interesting trail and not too difficult for a black.

I found today that I'm getting a lot more comfortable with ladder bridges. I'm still cautious with them, but I'm relaxing enough to be able to take them sitting or standing, seat up or down.

Anyway, back to Coquitlam tomorrow, just in time to avoid some crap weather here.
 

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Destroying Worlds Since 2015
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Discussion Starter #497
I'm back in Coquitlam, and I went riding this afternoon before the rain sets in. The current predictors are for several days of meh to yech weather, so I'm not really sure what to expect.

I brought the EX 8 back from Whistler so I'd have something to ride while the EX 7 is in the shop. I've asked them to look at that squeaky rear brake and do something about it, but I'm also getting a full service done at the same time because why not.

Meanwhile, this is the first time that I've been able to ride the 8 on the same trails as the 7 since I first bought it. And being used to both bikes means I can really feel and appreciate the differences. And boy, are there differences. The EX 8 is definitely a better-riding bike. It's quicker and more responsive yet at the same time more stable. The brakes and transmission are obviously better since they make up the lion's share of the difference in price between the two models. But what was a revelation to me is how much of a perceptible difference that makes. I rode the same trails quicker, with less wobble and more confidence. And my manuals are better, which is probably down to the suspension.

Now I really need to buy another bike. 🤬
 

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Destroying Worlds Since 2015
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Discussion Starter #498
Camera work

Things cleared up this morning just enough to be able to go for a ride. Lots of puddles of course after yesterday's monsoon, and the roots are pretty zippy. But I did the main trail, Black Dog, then went down to Coquitlam River park and back up. It's not a challenging ride, but it is exercise.

I wore the new USWE backpack with the camera chest mount adapter. I used the day to test a couple of different options: camera with or without the Telesin diving case, camera with or without the 3" extension on the mount, and 360 lens vs 4K lens.

So, first takeaway: chest mounts are simply the best mount point. Nothing I've been able to come up with even comes close. I suppose a camera suspended on a pole over my shoulder might do a good POV video, but the chance of the camera tangling with the foliage is just too high. So, chest mount.

Second, diving case. The Telesin diving case causes a slight issue with stitching. Not horrible, but noticeable. But unless you're swinging the POV around like a drunken sailor, it really isn't much of an issue. The diving case also has a small tendency to fog up if you install the camera in a warm room, then go outdoors where it's cooler. A simple fix is to open the case once you're outside and let the temps equalize. I think the image is slightly more clear without the diving case, but the case really protects the camera. This one comes down to personal choice, I think.

Third, extension arm. Totally unnecessary. Honestly, if I hadn't announced the build at the beginning of the videos, I wouldn't be able to tell. So I'm going without the extender.

And last, lens type. The 4K image is definitely way more clear. You can't pick or adjust POV, which may or may not end up being a major issue. Based on my small experience from today, the POV is perfectly fine for picking up the details of the ride. The 360 image, of course, lets you pick your POV, but with the chest mount there isn't really a lot of flexibility beyond up and down. So ultimately it'll be a choice of better quality overall image or better fine-tuning of the image framing.

The dashboard items, it turns out, are only available if the camera is being controlled by something with a built-in GPS. The phone obviously works fine. I have to test if the watch works. And there's some indication that the Insta remote might work as well. More testing. But one way or the other, being able to add slope, speed, compass direction, and path to the video is a huge bonus.
 

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Destroying Worlds Since 2015
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Discussion Starter #499
Rain

I went out yesterday morning, hoping to get a ride in before the next wave or rain came in. I almost made it. Partway down Jo-Jo it started to rain, and by the time I got back up to the top it was pouring. So, short ride. Today I went late in the afternoon, when the weather finally cleared up enough. Again, short ride. I guess they're good for exercise, so not a waste, but I'm not getting any technique practice to speak of.

I am, however, starting to wear cold-weather kit. So I guess we've reached that point in the season.

It's also worth mentioning that all three local mountains got snow yesterday (Oct 11). That's got to be some kind of record. Of course it melted right away, but the first snowfall always does. It's symbolic. With Whistler, maybe less so. There's a layer of snow at the top of the Whistler Gondola, and it looks like it's going to stay. If this is at all representative, we may be looking at an actual good snow year.

I've got a lot going on right now. I've got the EX 7 in for a Level 3 tune-up, which is the expensive one. But I've been riding the bike hard for 3 years now, and it's about time for some TLC. After this, the bike will probably be good for another couple of seasons, then it's trade-up time.

I've also ordered the USWE backpack with the back protection. I'll see how that does as a combination back-protection/backpack/hydration holder/camera mount.

I'm going to test the Insta remote with the camera tonight or tomorrow, to see if it supplies the GPS and other stats. If it does, I think that'll be my preferred controller.

On the snowboarding front, I've checked with the Boardroom, and they think they'll have all their snowboarding stuff in by the end of next week. But meanwhile, I'm going up to Whistler, so I may find stuff there. What I'm primarily looking for are bindings. I need a new set to go with the Rome Blur, but I also need to replace the Union bindings that I seem to have ended up with after unloading some of my boards last season. I've come to the conclusion that I like Flow, Now, and Rome bindings, and will probably stick with those brands until and unless I get direct evidence that something else should be considered.

I'm also trying to get hold of some of the new Anon kit, like masks and particular lenses. But the Burton site is an absolute shit-show. Stuff goes from 'coming soon' to 'out of stock' with nothing in the middle. I've written them an email, and I actually expect an answer. Their customer service is quite responsive, if totally ineffectual against some really stupid-ass management decisions.

I shouldn't need much in the way of new stuff this year. I've got plenty of clothing, layers, socks, boots, boards, etc. after my spending spree last year. And I've lost enough weight that everything will fit me 'well' to 'loose'. That's great, because it leaves room for the protective gear, which I also have lots of.

Going to be a great season. I'm going to keep biking as long as possible and start boarding as soon as possible. Not sure when I'll have time to sleep, but oh well.
 

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Destroying Worlds Since 2015
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Discussion Starter #500
Camera Notes

This is for the Insta360 One R. As mentioned in previous posts, I've been trying to work out the conditions under which I can add GPS stats to a recording, such as path, elevation, slope, etc. Having completed my research, this is what I've found:

1. You have to turn on GPS tracking. You do this using the phone app. While in viewfinder mode, press the hexagon at the top right, then turn on the GPS icon. As far as I can tell, this sets it in the camera, so once it's on, it's on.
2. You have to be controlling the camera using either the GPS remote, Apple Watch, or iPhone app. If you use the camera buttons, you don't get GPS tracking, even if the phone is connected.
3. In the case of the GPS remote, you have to wait for it to pick up the GPS signals and get 3 bars. It's very similar to my old Garmin watch, in that I'd be standing on a street corner for up to a couple of minutes until the watch latched onto the signals.
4. In the case of the phone app (and possibly the watch app as well), the app has to always have access to your location. When Using App isn't good enough, because as soon as the phone goes to lock screen or black screen, you lose the GPS tracking.

If you have it working properly, a Stats option will be available when viewing a recorded video, along with Download, Trim, Speed, etc. If Stats isn't available, you didn't record GPS.

That is all.
 
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