Biking (Bicycling) and Photographing.. Advice?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by brian steinberger, Jul 8, 2011.

  1. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Member

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    My girlfriend just bought me a very nice Cannondale "hybrid" bike for my birthday. I've been wanting one for a while to begin photographing from the back roads in my area, where parking a vehicle along the road is just too tough.

    I bought a Mamiya 645 Pro system with 4 lenses that I want to use, as well as a lightweight Benro A2960 tripod that folds down to 16", very nice.

    So, to carry it all and how is my main question. I can of course carry the kit in my Lowepro photo backpack, with the tripod either attached to the outside of the backpack or on a rack over the back wheel. Or, the idea I like better is to get a rear rack and a pannier of some sort that will hold the entire kit and tripod. My problem is that I know nothing about this stuff!! Has anyone found a pannier that works great as a "camera bag"? Are there any panniers tough enough to use as "camera bags?" I've never seen one in person. I just like the idea of carrying my gear on my bike rather than on my back.

    Thanks for any advice you can give.
     
  2. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Bike riding with a pack is not safe during an accident or a fall. Panniers are better.

    Contact Andy. He has lots of experience with carrying and using cameras while biking.
     
  3. jacarape

    jacarape Member

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    Hi Brian, I'm an avid bicyclist and have given this also a lot of thought. I ride a Trek 520 so it has a braze ons for front wheel rack/panniers where I plan to someday use it to carry a small tripod.

    In the meantime I use a single grocery getter bag. As there is no padding in the pannier, I carry my really small kit in a padded bag, and the little Gitzo fits it as well.

    You have a lot of stuff to carry, putting all of that on your back and peddeling for an afternoon sounds pretty miserable. Maybe unsafe? That's pretty much sums up my advice, forget the backpack.

    If your lenses are in cases, you could velcro in padding to panniers. And as you mentioned you can put the tripod on top of the rack.

    Don't forget a good tool kit. Getting a flat really isn't any fun if you can't fix it.

    There are a lot of good looking racks available, give some of the companys a call and see what they recommend.

    Happy biking!
     

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  4. Fotoguy20d

    Fotoguy20d Subscriber

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    I use a Performance transit rack and pack on my road bike. Mine is around 15 years old but I'm sure they still make something similar. The other day, I had shorts, t-shirt, boat shoes and my Canon 40D with 18-55 lens stuffed into it. Not to mention two tubes, CO2 inflation kit, chain tool, spoke wrench, and a bunch of other little tools.

    The worst thing I can say is that it tends to throw off the balance of the bike from what I'm used to (which is normally just a little bag, around 100 square inches, under my seat)

    Dan

    Addendum: They do still make something similar:

    http://www.performancebike.com/bikes/Product2_10052_10551_1023817_-1

    http://www.performancebike.com/bikes/Product_10052_10551_1023677_-1___
     
  5. spacer

    spacer Subscriber

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    I spent most of my commuting and event ride years on a "converted" cyclocross bike. While I still have it and won't ever get rid of it, I did pick up a more dedicated touring rig a couple years ago: a Surly Long Haul Trucker.
    Never thought too much about hauling much camera with me on it, and will probably take the Canonet on most rides, but I do have a Blackburn QR rack with a padded trunk bag. It'd be just about right for my Kowa, a lens, and still have a bit of room for a hand towel and some other cycling stuff. The bag has foldout panniers, and my spare tubes, multitool, and tire fixin' kit all go in the underseat bag. I like to think that the camera would be relatively well protected in a laydown, compared to being in a pannier. Also, gotta be careful which side you rest the bike on then.
     
  6. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Member

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    Thanks guys. Can you explain the difference between a laydown and a pannier?
     
  7. Fotoguy20d

    Fotoguy20d Subscriber

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    A pannier is a side pack - usually, you have one on either side of the wheel, whether front or rear. A laydown is when you dump the bike.

    Dan
     
  8. Steven K

    Steven K Member

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    Brian,

    Panniers are bags which are attached to the rear rack. They attach to either side of the rack and extend downward to the bottom of the rack. They also attach to the bottom of the rack. If you lay the bike down on a pannier whatever is in the pannier gets squashed by the weight of the other pannier and the bike.

    Rack trunks or trunk bags fit on top of the rear rack; they are not as good for heavy loads, nor will they hold as much as a large pannier, but they're safer from being squashed by the bike in case you lay it down or skid out.

    I have some Jandd panniers; they are fairly rainproof but provide no padding. Tough? Yes. Perfect camera bags? No. Although you could put a camera bag into one of them quite easily. Go to your local bike shop with your gear and take a look. You can buy completely waterproof panniers, huge expandable panniers (like mine), etc. There are almost as many pannier bags as there are camera bags.

    Make sure that when mounted (and filled) you won't hit them with your heels. Riding with only one pannier feels a bit weird but is workable; balancing the load on either side is more comfortable. When I've loaded my camera, it's been in a camera bag, then the bag went into the pannier. Instant padding and protection.

    cheers,

    Steven
     
  9. Pinholemaster

    Pinholemaster Member

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    The problem with packing camera gear on the bike is the huge amount of vibration your cameras will experience. Over time your gear will shake itself apart. :blink:
     
  10. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Member

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    I like the idea of keeping my gear in a camera bag then putting it into a pannier, or better, into a bag that mounts to the top of the rack behind the wheel, similar to what Dan suggests in post #4.
     
  11. spacer

    spacer Subscriber

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    This is the quick-release rack I usually use for short runs, and here it's mounted to my Montague Paratrooper. The trunk bag is also quick-release,
    mounted in a channel in the center of the rack, so I can remove it and carry it around by its built-in strap like a normal camera bag. On the sides, what
    appear to be pockets are actually folding pannier bags. Nowhere near as roomy or tough as purpose-built panniers, but extremely handy when I need
    some extra space.
    The pack usually carries my non-bike stuff, like books, snacks, etc. If I'm needing capacity for a longer trip, I now have a permanent rack on my Surly,
    and nashbar panniers for the moment, but I'm gonna be looking into either building my own or finding a good set for future trips.

    I think it shouldn't be too difficult to insulate your camera gear from most vibration, but I haven't really studied the issue much yet. My Canonet is likely going to be my ride companion after it's CLA'd, and it'll be riding in a handlebar bag. Though.... it would be interesting to have one of the more compact 4x5 cameras along on a trip. Uh... a *short* trip.



    [​IMG]
    And my Surly... note the lovely Brooks saddle. Ahhhhh....
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 8, 2011
  12. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    I've been giving some thought to the same thing; having just recently added a Cannondale Quick 5 hybrid to my toy collection. I also have some subjects in mind which are more easily accessed off a local rail trail. I have some ideas but haven't executed any of them yet. On my old road bike, I used a rear rack and a trunk bag with a sheet of "egg crate" foam in the bottom to occasionally carry a camera.

    I also have a handlebar bag that hangs from a sort of slingshot shaped heavy wire hanger that slips behind the stem and over the bars. I finally dug that out the other day and discovered the U that goes around the stem is a bit too narrow for this new-fangled bike. I plan to try some creative blacksmithery on it but haven't gotten to it. The straight bars on the new bike seem more cluttered with gadgets than the old road bike too, so I'm not sure the bag will work, but we'll see. Those trinkets get pricey, so I'd like to recycle if I can. With the odd sloping top tubes on hybrids, I fear I may not be able to get mine and my wife's bikes on my tailgate carrier if I put a rear rack on mine. The bars on one barely clear the rear wheel on the other as is, but maybe I'll be lucky.

    I envision putting my Bronica fitted with one lens in a padded surround in the trunk pack and place another lens or two and other miscellaneous stuff in the handlebar bag. The bar bag is pretty big, it easily carried my Canon A-1 with the 35-105 zoom and a sunshade installed, even with lots of home-kluged padding. I assume I can cobble together some way to hang a decent tripod on a frame tube or the rear rack, but we'll see. I do have a tripod carry strap that I could sling that across my back at probably less risk than a whole pack full of stuff.

    With unusual optimism, I'm not sure there's that much vibration, especially with some modest padding around the gear. That won't do much for big bounces, but I don't contemplate off road or stunt riding -- my bones are way too old for that! :D

    Guess we should post some pictures here if either of us gets set up.
     
  13. spacer

    spacer Subscriber

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    I have a monopod that I've used mostly when we're hiking around Pinnacle and I don't want to lug the tripod. It collapses down to a size
    that wouldn't be at all objectionable on either of my racks, and I'm sitting here thinking about how I can attach it to the bike so that the
    wheels become the other two "legs".

    It's also short enough that I could mount it up front somewhere. It might be just the thing for that pit bull that lives south of Scott.
     
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  15. grahamp

    grahamp Subscriber

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    You need a solution that will protect the equipment (vibration, shock, and moisture), be easy enough to remove or access that it won't be a chore to stop and use the camera or take it with you if you leave the bike.

    When I was using a classic touring bicycle I had a bar bag carrier (Karrimor) as mentioned above. The bag (which I still use) was made by Agu Sport as a camera bag - more basic padding. Since the whole thing was suspended on a sprung frame and shock-corded to the font forks, it absorbed a lot of the vibration. Even survived a crash that took out the forks and my collar bone :cool:

    The Brompton folder I use has a frame attached front rack that works well to hold a padded bag. I have put my old bar-bag onto the Brompton Y bars directly. I often have a monopod strapped to the Brompton's single tube or across the front rack.

    I used to carry a single tent peg and guy line so I could stand my fully loaded touring bike upright when loading/unloading my camping gear. I got some odd looks, but it was very practical.
     
  16. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Member

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    Thanks guys for all the advice. I think I'm going to purchase a bike rack and bag to sit on top of the rack. You guys recommend any company or website that has a huge selection of almost every bike bag available?
     
  17. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

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    Spacer: is that first pic a painted Klein Mantra?
     
  18. Fotoguy20d

    Fotoguy20d Subscriber

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    I'd recommended Performance bike. You might even have a store somewhere near you. They have a pretty good return policy. You could also try backcountry.com and their sister companies.

    Dan
     
  19. Adrian D

    Adrian D Member

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    Hi, some time back I used to regularly use Bob Yak trailer on the back of my tourer to take along a 5x4 outfit in a bag, and an old wooden Gandolfi tripod. It worked a treat. I did consider that vibration from the road might be minimised as the camera was effectively slung between two axles, though it could have been my imagination. For any smaller format camera outfits I just pop them into a rear rack-mounted pannier, wrapped up in a fleece or something, just in case I ever take a tumble....
     
  20. ShaneLee

    ShaneLee Member

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    I only travel on my bike. I have my bag on my back. If you have panniers your cameras will be bouncing about and if you fall off their the first thing to hit the fall. If you have a well padded backpack and you fall off chances are you'll fall on to your side. I've fell of a couple of times and my camera has been fine every time.
     
  21. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    I will second that advice. The same advice was given to me by my brother. In this case it was with regard to motorcycling rather than cycling but it applies just the same. In the event of an accident which throws you off of the bike, you do not want anything extra on you. Everything should be attached to the bike.

    You should see my brother's motorcycle when he has his bags, tent, fishing rods etc. attached to it!


    Steve.
     
  22. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    I've transported camera gear in handlebar bags, on racks, backpacks and jersey pockets. They all work.
    My preference is a rack on the back, or rear panniers with a rack. I find that a backpack makes you top-heavy, and gets uncomfortable after a while.
    If the cameras have some padding and are secured, a fall from pannier height, or even rack height isn't a problem.
    If they are going to fall, I'd much rather it be from a 3 ft/ 1 meter or so than from 6 feet attched to me.
    YMMV
     
  23. pcyco

    pcyco Member

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    hallo

    this i have posted in an other thread too

    http://www.koenig-photobags.de/Backroller.phtml

    not cheap but safe

    maybe you can doo something similar in diy.

    if you prefer mountainbiking the best way is to carry your cam in a backpacker. no suspension is as good as your legs :smile:

    thomas
     
  24. spacer

    spacer Subscriber

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    Nope. I looked into buying a Klein once, but the guy wanted what he paid new... 6 years after he bought it.
    This is a Montague Paratrooper.
    http://www.militarybikes.com/products.html
     
  25. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

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    Holy shite that's a cool bike. I've been looking to get a mtn bike for some time now and this thing looks sweeeeeet. Kinda disappointed it doesnt come in 29ers. Pshh, oh well.
     
  26. spacer

    spacer Subscriber

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    I think their prime goals were to have a bike that'd fold as compactly as possible, while retaining a lot of commonality with the majority of mtn bikes out there, for parts availability.