Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Commuting
Reload this Page >

How to carry camera gear on the bike?

Notices
Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

How to carry camera gear on the bike?

Old 06-09-10, 04:48 PM
  #1  
Seattle Forrest
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Seattle Forrest's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 21,391
Mentioned: 68 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 12468 Post(s)
Liked 3,849 Times in 2,146 Posts
How to carry camera gear on the bike?

This isn't something I need for work, but bike commuters are the sherpas of the urban world, so I figure if anybody can point me in the right direction, it's the combined wisdom of this forum.

I like my bike as close to "naked" as possible, so no rack, panniers, or even fenders. On the other hand, I live in a very scenic part of the world, and recently got a roof rack to carry my bike on the car. And I'm a hobbyist photographer. A bike restricts the trails I can take, but lets me cover far more ground than I'd ever be able to on foot alone.

I have a very comfortable hiking backpack, which I don't use while cycling because the corners block my view. I'll probably take this the next time I bring my bike out into the mountains, since I won't be sharing the trail with buzzing cagers. I'm trying to carry a camera body, as many as two lenses, and a 10 lbs tripod, which is in the ballpark of 2.5 feet when collapsed. Plus food, a jacket, and stuff like that. This is manageable while hiking, but I'm nervous about messing up my sense of balance while on the bike.

Any suggestions for a better way to carry it? I'd like to prioritize for my safety, comfort, and then the safety of the gear. I've seen threads here about carrying large pizzas on a bike, so I'm sure this will be pretty easy by comparison.

Seattle Forrest is offline  
Old 06-09-10, 05:10 PM
  #2  
neil
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Edmonton, Canada
Posts: 737
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
For occasional use, the backpack is probably adequate. I don't like riding with things on my body, though (uncomfortable, high centre of gravity), and prefer to keep stuff on the bike.

My camera goes in an Ortlieb handlebar bag with camera insert. I can fit it in the medium bag with one lens on the camera + one extra lens. There's still some room for a battery charger and a P+S, but not extra camera stuff. It's small for an SLR, though (Canon Rebel XSi with 18-55 and 55-250 lenses), if you have better gear, get the large bag. Bar bags and Shimano brifters don't get along well, you'll probably need to move your shifter lines - I added brake noodles to the line to bend them downwards right away.

The tripod may be able to strap to the top or down tubes depending on bike size, otherwise you'd have to add a rack or trailer to do anything different than the backpack arrangement. Another option is to add a kickstand and ball head to the bike, and it becomes a tripod...no height adjustment, though. Still leaves you with the coat and so on which need a bag of some kind, though a saddle bag would probably do you.

At the end of the day, if you want to carry stuff on your bike, the rack and panniers are the best and most versatile way to do it, and I highly recommend adding them to any bike.
neil is offline  
Old 06-09-10, 05:15 PM
  #3  
sauerwald
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: San Jose, CA
Posts: 1,840

Bikes: Bianchi San Remo - set up as a utility bike, Peter Mooney Road bike, Peter Mooney commute bike,Dahon Folder,Schwinn Paramount Tandem

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I shoot mostly LF, and don't attempt to carry my LF rig on a bike, however I have taken my MF setup on the bike. I have an aluminum briefcase type thing with the diced foam insert, it holds a Hasselblad 500CM, a couple of lenses, a light meter and misc little stuff. The whole briefcase fits in an Arkel T-42 Pannier, and i strap the tripod on the top of the rack with bungee cords.

Another option is to go to a small camera. I have a couple of 35mm rangefinders which I can fit in a pocket and take anywhere.
sauerwald is offline  
Old 06-09-10, 05:45 PM
  #4  
fotooutdoors
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 358

Bikes: Salsa Fargo, One-One Inbred 29er, Blue Norcross

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I will start with a caveat; I do not like using a backpack for biking because it messes with my balance. Based on what you said, it seems that your load is on the heavy side for a backpack while riding, regardless of your opinion on them. Plus, your backpack has a hip belt, which gets in the way of pedaling. In addition, tripods are long and difficult. I would look at finding a rack that you can add and remove easily, and add it for your mountain rides.

Personally, I lash my camera bag onto the top of my rack and throw my tripod in a pannier (since it is so long, I have to lash the tripod to the rack as well for stability). I haven't ridden any really gnarly trails, but it has worked on jeep roads. FYI, I carry a midsized body (Canon 20D), 3 lenses (100-400 4.0-5.6, 17-50 2.8, 50 1.8) and sundry accessories (batteries, filters, etc), plus my tripod. I would guess the camera bag weighs in the lower teens, while the tripod is about 6 lbs.
fotooutdoors is offline  
Old 06-09-10, 07:58 PM
  #5  
KrautFed
cars are fun
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Baton Rouge, LA
Posts: 235
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I'm a photographer and I use a Lowepro Flipside 400 AW. A serious design flaw (IMO) actually makes it kind of nice for cycling. I'm 6'1" and the waist band is over my belly button when properly fitted... i.e. way too high. I would actually have to NOT recommend it for taller hikers... for me, I have to make the "stomach" strap very tight to make weight distribution comfy... however not being able to breath through stomach isnt exactly comfy! This pack can carry some serious gear, and does so tightly and securely. Tripods are the weak points of any backpack and will require straps/bungee to keep them still, but they will still be out in the wind so to speak. Otherwise, the pack is very sleek and streamlined. Photographers are used to it, but it has to be mentioned... photo gear is HEAVVVVY. I will be working on a pannier/rack setup for my next bike (in month or so). Can I recommend the 400 AW for cycling?... NO based on price alone.

Here's a video of me using it as hiking pack... carrying D300+grip, 12-24, 24-70, 70-200 VR, 300 f4, Teleconverters, 6+ lb tripod, and enough misc items to get MacGyver into Fort Knox.
KrautFed is offline  
Old 06-10-10, 10:13 AM
  #6  
Seattle Forrest
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Seattle Forrest's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 21,391
Mentioned: 68 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 12468 Post(s)
Liked 3,849 Times in 2,146 Posts
I like the idea of being able to turn the bike itself into a tripod; KrautFed mentioned MacGyver, and it would be about that cool. Unfortunately, though, if you can't adjust the height, it won't work. A lot of great photos involve shooting from about ground level ... one of the best ways to get a unique perspective it to not shoot from (normal) eye level. The photo below is an example of that, even if I didn't shoot it from a bike ride. Still, I'm really impressed that somebody came up with this, and if I ever retire to a home with room for a few bikes, I'll have to get one, even if it's just for novelty's sake.

An easily removable rack over the back wheel might be the best idea. This will let the bike carry the weight, and keep the sweat off my back. I'm sure it will change the balance of the bike slightly, but so will the pack, and I haven't figured out how to practice riding with the backpack weighed down, because it blocks my view and I live in a dense city with lots of traffic.

Sounds like Saurwald must be using a pelican case? That might be a great idea if I get a rack. It should protect the camera in a biff, and also in a sudden rain storm. Fortunately I'm not carrying medium format gear; I've got a Canon 5D ( ~2 lbs ), a Manfrotto 3021 tripod ( 10 lbs! ), and tend to bring a 15-30 lens ( ~2 lbs ) plus, occasionally, a 50/1.4 or 135/2 or 300/4 ( 3 to 4 lbs ), depending on what I expect to run into. My backpack has straps to keep the tripod still and in the center of the bag ( otherwise my back gets sore ), but it sounds like there are better options, and ones that won't change the way my bike feels when I'm commuting, and doing other city rides, which is about 99 % of my riding right now.

Seattle Forrest is offline  
Old 06-10-10, 11:28 AM
  #7  
dersan
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 111
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
i am also a prof photographer and i use transalphine from detour 30 litre backpack and i also use lowe computrekker if i want my tripod with me.
dersan is offline  
Old 06-11-10, 05:59 AM
  #8  
slcbob
bored of "Senior Member"
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: MD / metro DC
Posts: 1,615

Bikes: Cross-Check/Nexus commuter. Several others for various forms of play.

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 206 Post(s)
Liked 51 Times in 42 Posts
There's a fundamental issue here, and you either need to cross the fence or stop staring over it.

Side 1 -- I like my bike as "naked" ==> all the crap is going to be on you ==> you are going to be hot, uncomfortable, sweaty, and unstable (because of high center of balance) while you admire your naked bike.

Side 2 -- you get over the naked bike thing, go 180 out and keep your body as unburdened as possible (though hopefully clothed). You put together a nice rig with a rack, pelican cases, some padding, custom little mounts for the mongopod, etc. You and your gear are firmly mounted, stable (lower CG), and sort of slick. You are more comfortable on all accounts except for the anguish of seeing your burdened bike, which you actually grow to appreciate for its own aesthetic because it is so darn functional.

Depending on how rough the trails are, one negative with the bike mount may be there is a certain cushioning / suspension inherent in the camera gear being on you rather than on the bike. Which may become a negative if you fly off the bike either with or because of that gear, and can be mitigated by good padding. There are a number of chest mount things, etc., which may give you a body mounted option for one camera body for cushioning, handy photo ops, etc.

Good luck. Show us a pic of you all kitted up next time you venture out, whichever way you go.
slcbob is offline  
Old 06-11-10, 08:15 AM
  #9  
EmuMaster
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 11
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I bought the Topeak Compact Handlebar bag to carry my Olympus E-P2. Works great, and has room for my phone and keys too. The only thing of my back is my Camelbak.
EmuMaster is offline  
Old 06-11-10, 09:09 AM
  #10  
Leiniesred
South Denver Commuter
 
Leiniesred's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Aurora, CO
Posts: 319

Bikes: 2003 Spec. Epic, 200ish Bianchi Milano

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
At first, I really like the handlebar bag idea becuase you can quickly get your camera out for a shot.

However, I think the best idea is a clamp on seatpost rear rack with a trunk bag on it. That way, you can quickly remove the rear rack and bag and get back to "Naked" biking.
Consider a clamp on rear rack with the side braces to keep the panniers out of the spokes. Then, you can get a trunk bag with roll down panniers for those days when you want to carry a lot of stuff, or the day you decide that a backpack is too hot for biking.
Leiniesred is offline  
Old 06-11-10, 01:33 PM
  #11  
Kimmitt 
Senior Member
 
Kimmitt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Oceanside, CA
Posts: 952

Bikes: Electra Townie 3i with xtracycle, Surly Cross-Check

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
+1 on the clamp rear rack. Can handle the weight you're looking for, and can be put on and off easily. That would be my approach.
__________________
I see unexamined people. All the time. I don't think they know they're unexamined.
Kimmitt is offline  
Old 06-11-10, 03:59 PM
  #12  
slcbob
bored of "Senior Member"
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: MD / metro DC
Posts: 1,615

Bikes: Cross-Check/Nexus commuter. Several others for various forms of play.

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 206 Post(s)
Liked 51 Times in 42 Posts
+2
slcbob is offline  
Old 06-11-10, 04:27 PM
  #13  
Seattle Forrest
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Seattle Forrest's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 21,391
Mentioned: 68 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 12468 Post(s)
Liked 3,849 Times in 2,146 Posts
Originally Posted by slcbob View Post
Side 1 -- I like my bike as "naked" ==> all the crap is going to be on you ==> you are going to be hot, uncomfortable, sweaty, and unstable (because of high center of balance) while you admire your naked bike.

Side 2 -- you get over the naked bike thing, go 180 out and keep your body as unburdened as possible (though hopefully clothed).
For the record, it isn't the aesthetics that makes me like my bike to be unburdened; it's that I know reflexively how it handles. I crashed a mountain bike once after having the brake pads changed; most of the ride home went fine, but at one point I found myself distracted, and left a turn to force of habit. I squeezed the levers as hard as I was used to having to to get the bike to stop, and went over the handlebars. I broke one of the bones in my elbow. I had a much more minor crash another day on a friend's bike, which just couldn't take curves like mine could; that was much less awful. Both were when I was a lot younger. Among the lessons I took away from this, is that I like things to be predictable. I like my bike to react in more or less the same way whenever I put it in the same situation. Weighing it down makes me nervous when most of my riding doesn't require any baggage, and when I typically make do with a wallet and a house key.

I'm sure the backpack is not the best way to go. Coming home with groceries ( down hill for about a mile ) also makes me nervous. It sounds like the rear rack that I can take on and off is my best bet.

Oh, and don't worry; the bike is pretty close to nekkid, but the rider is decked out in wool.

Originally Posted by slcbob View Post
Good luck. Show us a pic of you all kitted up next time you venture out, whichever way you go.
Will do! And since it's supposed to be summer tomorrow, I'm likely to hit the trail with the backpack, since it's what I've got now. I can't head to the LBS to pick up a rack, because I have a birthday to go to.
Seattle Forrest is offline  
Old 06-12-10, 12:12 AM
  #14  
slcbob
bored of "Senior Member"
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: MD / metro DC
Posts: 1,615

Bikes: Cross-Check/Nexus commuter. Several others for various forms of play.

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 206 Post(s)
Liked 51 Times in 42 Posts
Predictability is a darn good thing -- love the hydraulic discs for the elbow-savingly consistent touch. I hear you.

The burdened bike will definitely handle different than the unburdened bike. But it will be the same different each time and I think less different than the whole load on your body.

I jumped quickly on the seat post mounted rack suggestion for its convenience at nuding up again at the drop of the hat, but let me add two afterthoughts.
1) There are some quick release versions, and others that are more of 4 bolt thing similar to the stem/handlebar mount.
2) The weight carrying capacity of that class of racks is constrained. At first I was thinking only 10lb for the tripod, but realize you're probably talking about more of a load that will be at or beyond the edge of their envelope, +/- on some bumpy terrain? 20-30 lbs is max for some of them. Be sure to look at that.

There's no easy on/off proper frame mounted rear rack I can think of. I am a huge fan, think when unloaded it is a small weight and an unnoticeable impact on handling well worth the flexibility, but YMMV. Strength of rear racks varies widely, too.

Happy travels.
slcbob is offline  
Old 06-12-10, 12:47 AM
  #15  
wunderkind
Pro Paper Plane Pilot
 
wunderkind's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 1,645
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
When I am out on paid shoots, I drive. No point hauling around my gear on a bike. Doesn't make sense for my type of shoots (car reviews and architecture work). However on my leisure rides, I still couldn't figure out a happy medium on carrying just one SLR and coupla lens. It upsets my bike's weight balance. And the thought of having my Ls crushed in a crash is not cool. Therefore so far I just bring a P&S when I go biking around.
wunderkind is offline  
Old 06-14-10, 06:21 AM
  #16  
EmuMaster
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 11
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Leiniesred View Post
That way, you can quickly remove the rear rack and bag and get back to "Naked" biking.
That bag does have a quick clip on it, so you can remove it and be left with just a small piece of plastic. The bag even converts to a fanny pack
EmuMaster is offline  
Old 06-14-10, 11:24 AM
  #17  
bhop
Senior Member
 
bhop's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 1,894

Bikes: Bianchi Via Nirone 7, Jamis Sputnik

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by wunderkind View Post
When I am out on paid shoots, I drive. No point hauling around my gear on a bike. Doesn't make sense for my type of shoots (car reviews and architecture work). However on my leisure rides, I still couldn't figure out a happy medium on carrying just one SLR and coupla lens. It upsets my bike's weight balance. And the thought of having my Ls crushed in a crash is not cool. Therefore so far I just bring a P&S when I go biking around.
Same here. I shoot car shows/events on weekends occasionally. I have too much heavy crap to carry in that situation, so I drive there, plus it's usually pretty far. When bike riding i'll strap my Olympus Stylus Epic, or M6, or other small-ish camera around my chest and be off.
bhop is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Thread Starter
Forum
Replies
Last Post
Squidwalker
Commuting
37
03-03-13 09:41 PM
Yo Spiff
Electronics, Lighting, & Gadgets
8
03-16-12 10:30 AM
RWBlue01
General Cycling Discussion
33
09-26-11 11:41 AM
steve-in-kville
Living Car Free
19
10-20-10 09:40 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.