Bicycle Diaries: Julia Busts Out the Helmet Cam

By Seattle Mag June 21, 2011

This article originally appeared in the November/December 2022 issue of Seattle magazine.

REI’s Julia Trippel recently shot some helmet-cam video (thanks to our friends at Contour cameras) of her commutes to and from work. Check out the videos — and Julia’s comments on them — below…

The Joy of Commuting By Day:

On a moist Sunday morning as I crested the hill at 23rd on Union, I almost got to rest at the light next to a Mini Cooper but the light turned green.  The pavement was wet enough to remind me how much I appreciate my full-wrap fenders.  Cappy’s Boxing Gym was quiet, and traffic was very mellow. 

Since the helmet cam more than quintuples the weight of my helmet, it makes the helmet fit noticeably differently and tips the helmet pronouncedly in one direction.  While I have mounted the camera in various locations on the helmet, each time it seemed to enjoy tilting forward to give a very thorough perspective of pavement.

Commuting by Night:

One particular evening as I was leaving work, there were 2 ambulances pulled over on the corner.  As I passed, everyone involved seemed calm so I didn’t worry too much.  When I reached the next large street I needed to cross, since it was full of cars, I hopped on the sidewalk to slowly make my way to the other side of Denny to make my way up the hill.  The benefit to riding on the sidewalk going up Denny was 1) it is so wide that there is enough room for cyclists and pedestrians, 2) cyclists and pedestrians are moving at nearly the same rate going up this hill and 3)the sidewalk provides multiple feet of buffer from the exhaust of cars making the big effort up the hill (while I’m breathing hard making the big effort up the hill).   

Once I got to the top of the hill, I glided back off the sidewalk and cruised.  Later, though the chevrons for cyclists are painted on the right side of the road, I needed to turn left.  You’ll notice the camera swerves left as I look over my shoulder to make sure it’s safe to move into the left hand lane.  By the time I reach the light, it has turned green and I turn, continuing on up the hill! 


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