Biking with Hasselblad

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by luxikon, May 19, 2009.

  1. luxikon

    luxikon Member

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    I want to make a bike trip to Norway. The region I want to go to is one way at least 1000 km from here. And I want to take my 500MC with Distagon and Sonnar and my SWC with me. I have padded my saddle bags with 3 cm thick sponge rubber. Will my equipment survive the transport? Who is experienced in biking with camera stuff?
     
  2. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    I can't say for sure but I think your sponge padding in a saddlebag is more than the cameras would have originally enjoyed whilst beinmg shipped, flown and trucked around the world to dealers.


    Steve.
     
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  3. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    In five months I rode over 2000 miles with a 4x5. This include a lot of gravel roads and some high speed descents over washboard roads -- and one over-the-handlebars crash. No extra padding for the camera gear other than the usual for carrying it around. No problems. I still use the equipment 22 years later.

    Vaughn
     
  4. Trask

    Trask Subscriber

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    When I bicycled through France many years ago, I had my Olympus OM-1 in my handlebar bag for easy access. I later found that heat buildup had altered the colors on the film. So my recommendation is that you pay particular attention to keeping your film cool. Not much shade on a bicycle.
     
  5. Pinholemaster

    Pinholemaster Member

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    I'd recommend a large day pack for the cameras to be worn on your body. The vibration of a bicycle can do a considerable amount of damage to a 35 mm or medium format camera. Pack other stuff on the bike, but use your body to isolate the bike's movement from the camera gear.
     
  6. mikebarger

    mikebarger Subscriber

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    A friend of mine carries a hassy in his saddle bag every mile he puts on the hog.

    Mike
     
  7. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    Another thing to think about...if (when) you crash, would you rather have a hard object in a pack on your back when you land, or have that hard object in a pannier. And where would it best for the camera to be in that situation?

    The two times I have crashed, I have rolled and have been able to reduce the damage to my body -- I don't think I would have done as well with a pack on with a camera body in it.

    Vaughn
     
  8. arigram

    arigram Member

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    I have no advice to offer but a request:
    Please do keep us informed of your undertaking as I too have a bicycle and cameras (including the aforementioned Hasselblad) that I want desperately to combine together in a comfortable way. And I am not the only one as I also know two brothers, photographers-cyclists, preparing for some serious touring.
    The camera bags I have are not perfect for the bicycle (either on one's back or on a rack) and my experiments in combining the protective material of a camera bag with a regular backpack have been awkward and non practical at best.
     
  9. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    That's really not a fair assessment. A 4x5 camera is essentially a box with few moving parts, none of which are particularly small or delicate. Aside from a cracked ground glass, anything that gets loose or out of alignment can be usually be set straight with a screwdriver and a couple of wrenches. A Hasselblad is a different animal with lots of very small and very precisely made and fitted parts. I'm not saying that it is a particularly delicate instrument. These things are known to take some abuse and keep going. But they do require regular servicing that is often beyond the capabilities of the average camera user. A 4x5 camera can be serviced by a smart chimp.
     
  10. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    There is a mirror cover/stabilizer for my rb, which you can put on for shipping. I guess a similar implement must be available for a hassie. That might be helpful.
     
  11. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    I had a conversation along these lines with my brother recently. He was just about to go on a motorcycling tour and was fixing his luggage, tent, etc. to the bike.

    He said that there was no way he would ride with any of this stuff on his back. He came off his bike once with a fairly heavy backpack on and had no control of his body.

    I know cycling speeds are not the same as motorcycling speeds but the principle is the same.



    Steve.
     
  12. Thomas Wilson

    Thomas Wilson Member

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    I have to agree with Steve. I have a bit of experience carrying Hasselblad gear on/behind a bike. While I've never attempted a 1000 km journey, I have made countless 40 mi. trips and have had more than a few wipe-outs.

    Keep your center of gravity as low as possible. Trust me on this. Panniers are good, but this year, I will be buying one of those kid-carriers that attach to the rear hub. A light, efficient, weather proof enclosure for gear, tent, bags, etc, seems a good choice to me (now).
     
  13. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    Good point, Frank, but don't forget that included in 4x5 gear is a lens mounted in a shutter and a light meter...and an Olympus XA for snap shots. Sorry I did not point out the more fragile equipment separately. Wish I had that smart chimp with me on my previous trip to NZ -- hitch hiking for 3 months with a 4x5 with a massive light leak. This dumb ass did not realize it until I got home! On the bike trip I did carry a pinhole in a matboard lens board in case something happened to my one lens.

    Steve -- yes, center of gravity is very important! On my bike I had low-rider front panniers...it was amazing how stable the 80 pounds of equipment actually was once I got rolling!

    I relatively recently took a day ride with my 8x10...most of the stuff in the back panniers (no front panniers), the Reis pod on the back rack (sticking 3 or so feet off the back, and the camera body and lenses in the pack on my back. Not stable at all! I returned after dark (no light) as I could not resist a last couple images at sunset. The last part was downhill thru thick forest -- I went very slow because I could not see the trail. Fell twice due to the pack upsetting my balance. Interesting starting to fall without seeing where, or on what, one is going to land!

    Thomas -- that is what I need for the 8x110, though I have also been eyeing those one-wheel trailers, too. I would be using it on single-track trails and the kid-carriers are too wide.

    Vaughn
     
  14. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    I haven't Vaughn. The lens/shutter and light meter are small packages and relatively easy to secure with bubble wrap or foam padding.
     
  15. Kvistgaard

    Kvistgaard Member

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    By "bike" - do you mean bicycle or motorbike? I am familiar with hauling stuff on the former, but not the latter. If you are bicycling, I'd advise you to use a photo backpack, thus using your body to absorb vibrations. If/when you crash, speed is low, so I guess you'll be fine flying over the handlebars, even with a backpack strapped on. Alternatively, a few Domke inserts in a regular backpack can do the trick as well - that way, you can get a backpack with a better / cooler (in the cooling , not the smart-looking sense) carry system, so sweating is not so much of a problem.

    Or get a carrier, as suggested elsewhere - I have a chariot (http://www.chariotcarriers.com/) which I usually use for hauling my kids around in. It is rather lightweight, and will take a lot of stuff besides your photo gear.
     
  16. luxikon

    luxikon Member

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    By 'biking' I actually meant 'motorbiking'. Sorry for my bad knowledge. We motorbiker use the word 'bike' for 'motorbike' over here.
     
  17. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

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    The safest place on a motorcycle for cameras is the middle of the bike, on the tank. This part of the motorcycle is where the least amount of jolting is felt from the suspension, plus, with some insulation the vibrations which occur at around 4,250-4,500 rpm on the flat twin motorcycle will not effect the cameras much, if at all.

    I have crashed 9 times in a big way over the years and with over 2,000,000 kilometres under my belt on bikes, I have seen some interesting things happen to cameras.

    In the late seventies and through to the nineties, the Elefantboy tank bag from Germany was possibly the best. This was due to the size of the tank bag itself, plus the thick construction and the closing over the top flap with map carrier on the top.

    One of the German manufacturers, KArl HEinz DOrn, "Kahedo" has a great range of tank bags, they supply Touratech with a Touratech badged tank bag system so their quality is right up there.

    I was in Germany this January and met up with a friend who has family ties with this company, he showed me an experimental bag for the modern motrocycle that is a modern version of the Elefantboy tank bag He wasn't sure whether this type of bag would sell. If that bag is around in Germany this summer, I would look at this as a contender.

    When carrying cameras in the tank bag, wrapped in some covering, sometimes a case, they will usually survive virtually anything except for when you cartwheel a bike and it happens to land on the tank first.

    I have had three tank bags rip off in crashes and go flying or sliding all over the place, but the cameras inside survived.

    If you have your cameras sitting directly on something hard that transmits vibrations, then they will be shaken to pieces. If a Nikon F2 shakes to pieces that way, then I'm sure any other camera will also shake to pieces.

    A hasselblad with a WLF folds down to a very small square box, with a film back on, a small rectangular box. Pack your lenses on their own, that way they are each self contained in a personal sleeping bag.

    Film can be carried almost anywhere.

    The greatest advantage of carrying your cameras in the tank bag, is that you take the bag off the bike for lunch or whatever, thereby reducing the chance of theft greatly.

    Mick.
     
  18. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    That's o.k. Both motorcyclist and cyclists use the term bike. Sometimes you need to know the person in order to determine which type of bike they are referring too.

    That would be quite a cycling trip! The distance should have told us that it was a motorcycling trip (or that you were some sort of cycling superhero!).




    Steve.
     
  19. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    Ahhh...the old "pushbike" - "motorbike" confusion. A 1000 km ride on a pushbike is very doable, a couple of weeks at a leisurely pace...on a motorbike it is a dayride (depending on the road type).

    Vaughn
     
  20. TimVermont

    TimVermont Subscriber

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    The issue of access and use has always mattered for me. I've done this two ways, one with the camera in a bag mounted on the handlebars: easy to get to, bad for high-speed steering, etc. The camera was basically suspended in the bag with a little bit of padding, so it was ok, but I didn't like what it was doing to the handling of the bike.

    The second way is with a "Bob Yak" bike trailer. Wicked good. The camera is in the closest fitting Pelican box I could find, and tripod in a nylon bag for a sleeping bag pad. Stop the bike, two quick clicks of the latches on the Pelican box, camera in hand. I can steady it on the handlebars, or snap it onto the quick release for the tripod and shoot.