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What Do FPV Drones and Urban Downhill Mountain Bike Racing Have In Common?

Joining the two provides one heck of a visual!

I gained a new appreciation for two activities this past weekend. FPV (first-person view) drone flying and Urban Downhill Mountain Bike Racing. To be fair, I always appreciated FPV Drone Flying as it takes experience and talent to pilot drones in the ways that these pilots do. While FPV Drone Flying has always been in my orbit, I am a complete newbie to Urban Downhill Mountain Biking.

First, let’s dive into FPV drone flying. The pilot sees precisely what the drone sees. You will most likely see a drone pilot with a controller in hand along with a goggle-like eyewear set-up like this:

FPV drone flying puts the pilot directly into the action, whereas typical drone pilots have to enjoy the perspective from a fixed place on the ground. There is a saying amongst FPV drone pilots, “If you get involved in FPV, you won’t have enough money for drugs.” In other words, they are saying the sport is addicting, and all available funds will be funneled into this. Personally, I will take their word for it because the last thing I need is to become obsessed with another activity.

While the sport of FPV drone flying has taken off, specific creators have taken it to the next level by increasing the quality of their content. Now the viewer can be transported and put right into the action. My hat is off to the FPV pilots over at Dutch Drone Gods. Here is some sampling of their work:

Now, this brings me to the incredible sport of Urban Downhill Racing. Imagine taking a mountain bike and maneuvering it through cramped streets, down flights of stairs, and over ramps, to name a few. Leave it to the team at Red Bull to introduce us to another crazy sport. In their own words:

Follow urban downhill riders from all over the world through the narrow streets of the Chilean town of Valparaíso. The skills of the riders will be tested on this urban track peppered with stairs, corners, and concrete.

A racer going down stairs and then traversing a sharp corner.
Urban Downhill Mountain Bike Racing (media by JC)

Downhill biking on endless stairs.
Stair Galore (media by JC)

The videos above doesn’t do this sport justice, so this brings us full circle with FPV drone flying. The creators at Dutch Drone Gods set out with the intent to film the tightness of the course, the sharpness of the corners, the many stairs, and the screaming fans. More importantly, they wanted to film a rider experiencing the course in one continuous shot. It is also essential to say to complete this task is more complicated than throwing on the goggles and flying from point a to point b.

To be more specific, completing such a task requires a team of individuals working in unison. Given a drone requires a good signal throughout the run, several antennae have to be placed throughout the course to minimize the loss of visual signal. It is also important to note a signal booster is hovering on a larger drone overhead to enhance the continuous shots' chance of success.

Again, I appreciate both FPV Drone Piloting and Urban Downhill Mountain Biking. When you marry the two, you get something special. I dare you to watch the below video and not come away with a further appreciation for both!


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