Biking (Bicycling) and Photographing.. Advice?
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.
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.
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)
Addendum: They do still make something similar:
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.
Thanks guys. Can you explain the difference between a laydown and a pannier?
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
And my Surly... note the lovely Brooks saddle. Ahhhhh....
Last edited by spacer; 07-08-2011 at 10:57 PM. Click to view previous post history.