It continues to be a busy summer, even more so with a bunch of products on the radar to get reviews knocked out as announcements occur coming into the start of the Tour de France next weekend (the weekend after this weekend). So we’ve packed up a crap-ton of gear and I’m making a bit of a mobile office these two weeks. First up has been half of our week in the Netherlands, starting off in The Hague.
1) Riding out in the dunes
First up on my workout list was an evening ride along the coastline and out into the dunes. I just sorta randomly picked a route that was a simple out and back. The first portion would be through the town/city, and then it was into the parkland area where there was cycling track without any cars.
I was testing a bunch of stuff, all cycling related – so this sort of ‘no cars to worry about’ terrain worked well. I didn’t need a super-long workout for this one though, so I kept it a bit shorter at about an hour.
It’s definitely a nice area. I could certainly see the appeal of a summer vacation spot/home/trip to near the beach, with plenty of activities for everyone –and great riding/running (and even swimming) options. Though, I suspect it’s cold as balls in the winter, especially with the wind.
2) DJI Spark Wind Testing
I’m always looking to see what content I generate tends to get the most traction. After all, I don’t want to spend time writing/etc doing something that nobody cares about (with a few exceptions I suppose). One video I did around the DJI Mavic last fall was that of a high-wind test. I found myself a super-windy day and then put the Mavic (and a Phantom 4) up in the air and recorded the results.
Fast forward to a few days ago and it was super windy on Thursday, so I did a bunch of testing then with the new (and tiny) DJI Spark – and then went back out on Friday to double-down on it. More or less the same concept as before, except this time on a mostly empty beach.
Overall things worked pretty well. You can check out the video here, showing how it all works:
And I got a few pictures while I was there:
I’ve gotta say, in general, I’m impressed with the Spark. I wouldn’t have thought it’d be something that really worked for me (since I prefer the higher end footage of the Mavic), but the size and portability is more so than I thought. Sure I wish the props folded up even more, but the whole concept of a quick and simple drone to get in the air without a remote is definitely appealing. I mean, don’t get me wrong – don’t even think of taking away my Mavic…but still, I could see cases where I’d bring this instead on a trip to save weight where my chances of using a drone might be slim, but I still want it in my back pocket (literally) in case I do.
3) Hello, Gouda.
Saturday morning we took a quick train ride down to the town of Gouda. Mainly for the cheese. Ok, actually, entirely for the cheese.
It’s a nice little day-trip type town with an active shopping street, plenty of smaller shops, and then this weekend was also a harbor festival of some sort. So we checked out that as well.
Though I think as good as the cheese was, the highlight was a small gelato shop that we stopped at. Oh, and these fried fish bits were also quite good as well.
After hours of wandering around, we simply jumped on the train back to The Hague. Easy as pie.
4) Back out on the bike
I went out really early Sunday morning to do a combo bike ride and get some shots I needed for the DJI Spark review around automatic tracking and such. Going out early in this vast area was ideal, since there would be nobody around. Plus, the rolling terrain on some of the off-shot paths makes for good footage.
I actually had a fair bit of luck in getting the tracking to work (more than I’ve had with the Mavic), though that may be more the terrain here is easier to track than where I was testing previously in the Canary Islands. Or perhaps there’s been some algorithm improvements. I still wouldn’t recommend it for just going for a ride and having it follow you like the Airdog can, but it seemed improved for shorter clips.
Now I should preface that I do a crap-ton of research on no-fly zones and such before I go places. And the Netherlands has a crap-ton of no-fly zones. However, this massive section of the park isn’t one of those spots. I note this because I got cut-off early by an arm-band wearing volunteer who said the park was a no drone area. While pleasant, best I can tell he was simply making stuff up. There are no rules published on the park’s site, on any national site, or any other publication I can find. Further, it’s funny – because I found a few online drone videos of the park, and a volunteer had posted on a few of them that drones weren’t allowed, yet numerous people responded that simply wasn’t true – along with plenty of links showing it was. Either way – I wasn’t about to get into an argument about it with him, so I packed.
Again – somewhat annoying to go well out of my way to find a quiet spot with almost nobody around early on a Sunday morning, only to have to wrap up without completing. I hate wasting time. Sigh. Off to find another field north of Amsterdam today sometime. Minor rant complete.
5) A Father’s Day Ride with The Peanut
Sunday it was time for a ride with The Peanut and The Girl’s family. Both her parents are in town and we were off for a bike ride for the day. We simply rented more traditional town bikes from a shop at the train station. Said shop has hours that best any bike shop in America: 5AM till 2AM – Daily (with slight variations). Seriously. For a bike shop. Heck, some McDonald’s don’t even have those hours.
Bike rentals for the day were 7EUR, and that even included the baby seat for The Peanut. We had already bought her a helmet back at Sea Otter. Yes, for real, the helmet brand is Nutcase, and it protects The Peanut.
The Peanut seemed to enjoy her first bike ride. She would reach forward and hold onto the back of my running shorts when we went faster or down some hills. And she was also pretty happy about her watch for the day.
Out of all the baby toys one could get her – she’s most content with having a watch to poke at. Go figure.
We rode out into the Dunes a little ways, and then walked to a beach spot. The sand was great there – The Peanut loved looking for things to eat within it.
Afterwards, we headed back towards the boardwalk areas and enjoyed lunch in one of the countless beachside cafes.
And of course, we enjoyed stopping along the way to take some photos too:
As I noted above – it’s definitely a nice area – and certainly one we’ll probably put back on our list of places to come back to.
With that – I’ve gotta get ready for a ride in a bit and wrap up some more review goodness. Have a good week ahead everyone!
Thanks for reading!