Turning on the device to record is simple: move the Record Slider forward, lock it into place, and the record icon turns red. The camera beeps once to indicate that it is recording video.
I found it very easy to start and stop recording during the bike ride, and it only took one hand to operate the device. The recording beeps are loud beyond reason but very helpful, especially when you can't see the status icons.
Four gigabytes recorded about 1.5 hours of continuous footage before shutting off. I started the bike ride with the Contour on full charge, and the battery status icon stayed green the whole time.