One of the great things about being a technology journalist is that I never accidentally drop any devices. Instead, what I do is stage random drop tests in real world conditions at unpredictable times without warning. One such test happened with my GoPro Hero9 Black yesterday with surprising results. Here’s the tale of what happened, and how you can prevent it from happening to you.
I recently got super into cycling, and have been trying to convince my wife to take it up too. To aid in this, I decided to use my GoPro to record my favourite bike path in the hopes that the beauty would convince her to join me one day. So, I attached my brand new cycling mount to my handlebars, did up the thumb screws as tightly as I could, and put in the mount clip until it clicked. I couldn’t get the rubber thingy to stay on, but figured that would be fine.
I then hopped on the bike and started heading downhill. As I went, I could hear a rattling coming from the GoPro, which didn’t sound good, but it was a rough road surface, so I assumed it was normal.
Three blocks later, some guy stepped out into the bike path and I had to stop suddenly. This is where everything went wrong. Both in slow motion and all at once, the GoPro flew off the mount, bounced on the road, went under either the tyre or spikey pedal of my bike, causing the bike to jack-knife, then the GoPro bounced again onto the road divider and then under a parked car.
Here’s the surprising part, though: the GoPro is fine. It didn’t save the recording of the incident, but it still turns on and works like nothing happened. It’s like the time I accidentally ran over my second-generation iPod with a ride-on lawn mower on damp grass. It’s a bit dented, and the lens cover no longer fully seals, meaning it’s not waterproof, but it’s absolutely fine. It’s a marvel of modern engineering. None of the glass is even slightly scratched despite not being in a case. Can all devices be made out of GoPros? Because that’s ridiculous.
Now, if you’re familiar with GoPros and action mounts (I previously mostly used mine just for time lapses and other stationary activities), you would have spent the second and third paragraphs cringing and knowing exactly what was going to happen next. But if you’re brand new to the world of action cams, here’s how you can prevent this stressful situation from happening to you.
According to Matt Tonokawa from the GoPro Mounts & Accessories team, this is a relatively common and easy mistake to make your first time using a mount. “It can be really sticky when you go to push it in, so you think it’s clipped,” he said. “But unless you hear that click and can put the rubber plug down, then it’s not ready.”
His tip is to always triple check before you start any activity, especially if it’s a high vibration scenario like biking, and particularly if it’s a new mount where the fastenings are stiffer.
After you’ve triple checked, if you hear a rattling noise, then you need to stop immediately and check again, because the mount shouldn’t make any noise, even in high vibration situations.
Another tip, this time more related to fun than safety, is that you can use the cycling mount on lots of things, not just handlebars. It has extra rubber bits so you can put it on a smaller pole, like closer to your wheel, or bigger so you can put it on your saddle post. If biking isn’t your thing, it can also attach to a hiking pole or kayak paddle.
So, in conclusion, learn from my mistakes, and all hail the GoPro Hero9, which will outlive us all.