August 12, 2011 12:59 pm

One cyclist, 8,800 miles, and Windows Live Movie Maker

Dave Benfer will have cycled 12,500 miles by the time he completes his US bicycle tour. He left Seattle, Washington on the 29th of July, 2010 with the singular goal of raising awareness about biking. To do so, he gave up his quiet life in Seattle and hit the streets. During this time, he’s had 35 flat tires, replaced 2 sets of bike tires, 2 sets of chains and 4 sets of bicycle brake pads. Not only that, but he has logged over 400 hours of video on Windows Live Movie Maker on his Windows 7 PC the HP Mini210 – a 2lb netbook that he uses to connect to the internet at public libraries.

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We interviewed Dave to find out more about his experience:

KL: What inspired you to take this trip?

Dave: This trip is my 5th bicycle tour. All of the previous trips I took were 2 weeks or less. I have a long history of doing things in the outdoors. I am an avid backpacker, kayaker, fly fisherman. I waited until I retired, and took a year off to ride my bike.

KL: How’d you find out about Windows Live Movie Maker?

Dave: Before I departed on this trip, I had ZERO experience editing video. I spent a couple of weeks researching some of the most popular video editing software. I downloaded several and used the “trial” versions.  I picked Windows Live Movie Maker because it best fit my needs. I watched a bunch of tutorials on YouTube, and I discovered the Windows Live Movie Maker forums. It has all the functionality I require (actually it has more than I need).

KL: What did you do before becoming a bicycle documentarian? 

Dave: I spent over 20 years serving in the USAF. I retired at a base just south of Seattle.  I flew on large cargo aircraft.

KL: How do you film while biking?

Dave: About 80% of the time, I hand-hold the camera. Many people ask this question and when I tell them, they are astounded I am able to hold the camera so still and keep myself in the shot. I’ve been riding for almost a year and I vlog [video-blog] daily…. I guess I just got good at it. The other 20% I either mounted the camera on the small trailer or shot video of me riding the bike. This perspective is visually interesting and you can see the surrounding terrain as it passes by.

KL: What sort of camera do you use? 

Dave: I started with a cheap point-and-shoot camera. I’ve been using a Flip UltraHD camera for the last 5 or 6 months. I wish I had a GoPro camera. It’s really the sort of equipment built specially for this type of trip.

KL: What are three tips for anyone else heading on this sort of journey?

Dave:

  • Tip number 1: Document your trip and share it with others. Thousands of people create journals and blogs every year and document their bicycle travels. I wanted to do something different and do my best to inspire people to ride bicycles. But recording a bicycle adventure and sharing it allows other people to follow in real time. I get a lot of motivation from messages I receive.
  • Tip 2:  Be prepared for all contingencies and weather. Being able to repair a mechanical failure or being prepared for cold and wet weather not only will make the trip more comfortable, but might save your life.
  •  Tip 3: Be open minded. Be prepared to experience any new situation. Visit places and things you might not ordinarily visit. Smile and be friendly to the people you meet.

To find out more about Dave’s interesting and powerful story, follow his YouTube page here. Have questions for Dave or about using Windows Live Movie Maker? Ask them in the comments section below or via Twitter @kristinalibby.