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Cycling with a camera
Old 6 Days Ago   #1
bert26
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Cycling with a camera

I wanna get back into cycling but I hate having a messenger bag or jansport on me because I am literally only carrying my camera and one lens. Can anyone recommend a small bag for this purpose with some padding? I really don’t want some fancy brown leather bag or something, just something black, small, and basic. What y’all use?
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Old 6 Days Ago   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bert26 View Post
I wanna get back into cycling but I hate having a messenger bag or jansport on me because I am literally only carrying my camera and one lens. Can anyone recommend a small bag for this purpose with some padding? I really donít want some fancy brown leather bag or something, just something black, small, and basic. What yíall use?
https://www.rei.com/product/790382/s...lder-bag-small

Hope this helps ó itís small, waterproof, great for the bike, no sound when opening, has great closure system.
Cheers,
Jim
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Old 6 Days Ago   #3
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OP, are you looking for a bag that you carry on-body, or something on-bike? For on-bike, Topo Designs and Velo Orange make handlebar bags, and I think both have shoulder straps for off-bike carry:
https://topodesigns.com/collections/...13779447382069
https://velo-orange.com/collections/...-handlebar-bag

Depending on the size of your kit, Velo Orange also makes their Snapper Sack:
https://velo-orange.com/collections/...randonneur-bag

For on-body, I use the Topo Designs Field Bag as a camera bag. It's not quite full messenger bag size, but can definitely fit a medium size kit, plus other essentials like snacks, tools, jacket, etc. It has a padded shoulder strap, and a small buckle strap that can go around your waist to keep the bag stable while you ride. It might be discontinued, but if you're interested in one, let me know.
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Old 6 Days Ago   #4
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I can't imagine carrying my camera in a handlebar bag. After each ride I would have to search in the bag for the screws that fell out, and re-align the rangefinder.
I use a cheap leather shoulder bag from Amazon, I used to use a ex-military musette bag, and I only carry an M2 with the mounted 35mm lens.
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Old 6 Days Ago   #5
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I ride and will often carry a camera but it is safely stowed...to the extent one can safely stow a delicate object.

I don't spill often but had a terrible crash about a year and half ago after hitting a deep pot hole. I was going almost 30mph on a downhill and in effort to keep eyes out for traffic missed the hole! I went down almost vertically. My MacBook Pro survived just fine , giving me good confidence in my Arkel Orca side bag. I can fit a small Domke that holds my camera in the side-bag. Or I use a foam Optechs cover and wrap that in clothing in the bag -not ever-ready by any means.

If I want or need to have something ready to grab, I'd stick to a small camera like Olympus XA or digital equivalent. I don't like handlebar bags but imagine something like a Velo Orange Mini-Rando or Transporteur would be a good solution. I also have a Carradice Nelson for one of my Brooks saddles. It works nicely for a small camera. Carradice are excellently designed and constructed.

https://www.carradice.co.uk/bags/saddlebags
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Old 6 Days Ago   #6
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Maybe we should also ask the OP what kind of cycling he means to do. Cruiser fat bike to the beach, brakeless fixie around town to the cafe, skin suit time trialing, gravel randonneuring, MTB, or full suspension drops off 20-foot cliffs.
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Old 6 Days Ago   #7
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Years a go I wanted to do the same thing. It turned out I liked riding the bike so much I dropped the whole idea of bringing a camera. Always take my phone so I just use that... I know, not helpful
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Old 6 Days Ago   #8
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I cycle every day, to the greatest extent possible, and do typically 15 to 25 miles on every ride. Sometimes I want to carry a camera, sometimes not. Sometimes I want to carry more than just a camera too. I always carry my iPhone, a pair of gloves, tire patch kit, tire irons, a couple of tools, sunglasses, wallet, and AirPods.

My solution to this is multiple carry systems. I equipped the bicycle with the smallest Specialized frame bag ... that carries the tools, gloves, wallet, sunglasses, AirPods, tire patch kit, tire irons, and iPhone. Sometimes an overskirt too, tightly rolled up.

In cool and variable weather, I have the largest size Ortlieb Saddle Bag mounting fitted on the bike and can just slide the bag on. In that I can carry a waterproof jacket, light over-pants, and spare jersey, all tightly rolled and compressed.

I have two handlebar carry systems: the Specialized weatherproof roll-bag carrier and a Peak Design Field Pouch affixed to the handlebar with a pair of the PD anchor/connector system pieces and some nylon webbing. I haven't had occasion to use the roll-bag carrier yet, but the PD field pouch is particularly handy and easy to take on and off the bike, and I can quickly clip a PD strap on it for a small walkabout bag that can hold a modest camera ... or even a fairly bulky one like a Polaroid SX-70. But mostly I dislike putting a camera in a bag attached to the handlebars because of all the road shocks that go right through it... I usually use it to carry a small table-top tripod and other not-so-delicate things when riding.

My main carry for a camera or other more delicate stuff is one of either a Wotancraft Mini Rider or Easy Rider; usually the Mini Rider. These are expensive sling bags that have the features of a compression strap system to keep them tight and small when you're not carrying to capacity and a fantastic leather and woven cotton strap/harness that fixes them on your back comfortably and securelyóthey do NOT move around as you ride at all, yet they are easy to swing around to your chest and get gear in and out of by unclipping one easy-access one stay strap.

The Mini Rider at full capacity can hold my Hasselblad 500CM with 80mm lens, back and waist level finder, with room for a meter and a spare roll of film ... but no, I've not actually carried that yet. I have carried my Fuji GS645S, Polaroid SX-70, Leica CL, and tons of other stuff in it. Super comfortable, super easy to work with, etc. Without a doubt, the best and most useful on-body bag I've found for bicycling yet.

The Easy Rider I find more useful when motorcycling because of its large capacity, but I've used it on the bicycle as well. It can carry a decent camera system and enough other clothing and gear to manage a weekend trip, and is easy like the Mini Rider to work with on the go in an instant. On the motorcycle, I've traveled for a week with nothing but a small tank bag and this sling bag.

Carrying stuff on two wheelers is always a bit of work to figure out. There are many times when I just don't want to carry anything but the minimum, but I still want to make a photo or two. The frame bag is always in place, and I can fit the iPhone and a Moment lens or two in that easily with the other "always carry" stuff, even a tiny iPhone stand and the Moment remote release, and still do a decent lot of photography if I really want to. Like this photo, for instance:


On the Bike - San Jose, 2019
iPhone 8 Plus + Moment 15mm Ultra-Wide Lens

I'm wearing the Wotancraft Mini-Rider in that photo because I also had with me the Polaroid SX-70 ...

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Old 6 Days Ago   #9
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What I recommend is that you find a small, light camera, sling it over your shoulder and around your back on a strap, and go. I have a little Retina Ia for biking (I bike just about everywhere). You want to be able to forget that you even have a camera w/ you, and the Retina delivers since it weighs only about 1 lb. If the camera's used like that, I guarantee you will get some good shots on rides. You can stop, grab the camera, and get a shot off in no time, then get going again. I have lost countless shots because I couldn't get a camera out and ready quickly. Not anymore!
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bike/cameras
Old 6 Days Ago   #10
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bike/cameras

I like a Fuji X-E2 w the 27/f2.8 pancake for bike rides, camera strap over the shoulder puts camera underarm, no swinging about when riding, but
quickly accessible. I had another Fuji (100S) which was also a nice bicycling camera when you want more than a phone/cam. Of course there are other options available, but these have worked well for me when I want to travel light. ymmv
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Old 5 Days Ago   #11
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If I carry a camera with me, I just strap it over me like a messenger bag. I've done this with my X100T, Leica Ms, and Nikon FE. Another option is I have a fanny pack to use if I want to carry junk that won't fit in my jersey pockets. Yet another option is I take the Stylus Epic or XA and slip it in my jersey pocket because it's tiny. I guess it would suck if I crashed, but I just take the risk..
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Old 5 Days Ago   #12
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I use both of these on my road bikes. They're not very cool looking, or very aero, but I can carry a sandwich and a camera.


https://www.jandd.com/detail.asp?PRODUCT_ID=FTOR2-GUIDE
https://www.jandd.com/detail.asp?PRODUCT_ID=FMBHPE
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Old 5 Days Ago   #13
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I have a 22-25L backpack with 2 sections that can fit both my Medium format (GW690) and a m43 with the 35-100 with space for some light provisions, film and a 35mm P&S. Yep, carried all of it a few times. Usually for 25-30km rides. For longer ones, even a generic Camelbak type without the water reservoir fitted the m43 tele kit or a nikon F90+Prime rather well.



My (now ex) bike was a 29er MTB but I tend to do cross country gravel roads with not very technical segments. For a shot, I just stop, hang my packpack to the front, take camera out and shoot. Sometimes I just lean the bike a bit and take a bit for the picture. A bit like artillery but has worked well.
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Old 5 Days Ago   #14
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@bert26, Black, small and basic with some padding describes a huge number of simple camera bags by dozens of makers. Are there any other specifics you can share with us that might help narrow your choices down?

For instance, just knowing if you want the bag to be strapped to you or to the bike (or the option of both) would help a lot.

Personally, if your bike has mounting lugs for it, I might suggest just getting a single pannier to put on one side of the bike. You could wrap your camera in a padded wrap and keep it in the pannier along with a snack, some tools and a rain poncho (use the poncho for additional padding). Some panniers even come with a removable shoulder strap so they can double as a tote.

That's just if you don't want the camera strapped to your body. If you don't mind carrying the bag then I'd just suggest looking up camera bags at B&H and using the filters to narrow down what you like out of hundreds of choices. It's pretty hard for us to help you choose if we don't know what you like.
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Old 5 Days Ago   #15
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I've tried a messenger bag or camera bandolier style and quickly gave it up, with a somewhat low handlebar it will slip and eventually dangle against your thighs and arms. I'm slightly worried about vibrations, so not in a bag on the bike, although that might be unfounded and certainly depends on your bag, bike and road surfaces. That leaves only a backpack for me.
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Old 5 Days Ago   #16
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Damn, thanks for all the info. I’ll be riding a track bike through the city and the outskirts as well. I have a really twitchy build with very tight geometry so it’ll definitely be a bag I wear. I would not feel comfortable at all slinging the leica around my shoulder like it’s a bag but that does sound amazing. I’m very experienced but still, that sounds so risky. Just something small, black, light, with quick access to my camera. You see, there are so many times I’ll be driving around, see something amazing out the window, and not be able to shoot it. I just like the idea of hopping off the bike for a minute to get the shot instead of missing the shot trying to park. I mostly shoot street but have grown pretty tired of the downtown area here and would like to start shooting up in the numbers where things and people start to get pretty strange. Areas like this are too spread out to park and walk. It looks like I’ll just look for something on b&h. I definitely don’t want the bag to look camera specific but even if there are logos I can just black em out.
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Old 5 Days Ago   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by retinax View Post
I've tried a messenger bag or camera bandolier style and quickly gave it up, with a somewhat low handlebar it will slip and eventually dangle against your thighs and arms. I'm slightly worried about vibrations, so not in a bag on the bike, although that might be unfounded and certainly depends on your bag, bike and road surfaces. That leaves only a backpack for me.
That is a valid concern. One that I share, since I rely on panniers and tend to inflate my tires to the maximum.

My partial solution to the vibrations concern is to put a satchel sized messenger bag into the pannier, which is lined with a padded camera insert.
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Old 5 Days Ago   #18
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Old 5 Days Ago   #19
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This Everest bag has been my 'briefcase' for the last ten years and is still going strong. It is relatively small- no Timbuk2 'meal for 8' monstrosity and screaming velcro patches. Simple- one large cnetral area, some flat pockets on the front, two end pockets. The main area is wide mouth- not a slit with a zipper, just a box with no top. The flap covers the top well, is heavy enough to not flap in the wind, etc. There is light padding for the central area to give it both structure and a little protection. With one camera- Leica, rollieflex, or Olympus M43 setup for me- there is room for a phone, a tire patch kit and basic tools, and maybe a little more. The flap is large enough to allow for having a jacket captured in the top of the bag if the weather changes quickly or such.

https://www.amazon.com/Everest-Lugga...ateway&sr=8-14

And this Jill-e insert fits inside the Everest bag perfectly. I leave the top flap loose but over the opening; you can also zip or flip the top back and tuck it in so it is never in the way.

https://www.amazon.com/Designs-Camer...gateway&sr=8-2


All in all, this ends up like a $150 thinktank designer-y Leica field bag for $40. With no pretenses and an off-brand label that can be easily sliced off.

I've tried a variety of ways of doing what the OP describes over the years -minus the twitchy fixie - and this setup just keeps working. Smaller bags make access and getting things in and out tricky in the field. Larger bags are, well, large and annoying. My goldilocks setup for street walking and riding.
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Old 5 Days Ago   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bert26 View Post
Damn, thanks for all the info. I’ll be riding a track bike through the city and the outskirts as well. I have a really twitchy build with very tight geometry so it’ll definitely be a bag I wear. I would not feel comfortable at all slinging the leica around my shoulder like it’s a bag but that does sound amazing. I’m very experienced but still, that sounds so risky. Just something small, black, light, with quick access to my camera. You see, there are so many times I’ll be driving around, see something amazing out the window, and not be able to shoot it. I just like the idea of hopping off the bike for a minute to get the shot instead of missing the shot trying to park. I mostly shoot street but have grown pretty tired of the downtown area here and would like to start shooting up in the numbers where things and people start to get pretty strange. Areas like this are too spread out to park and walk. It looks like I’ll just look for something on b&h. I definitely don’t want the bag to look camera specific but even if there are logos I can just black em out.
When I tour, I use a frame mounted handlebar bag like Bob links to just above. When I go into a store, restaurant, or camp for the night, I want something I can grab off the bike easily. It carries camera/phone/wallet/map and some easy-access sundries, like a small tube of sunscreen. Buy something that detaches quickly from the frame. I never bike AND photograph, I bike THEN photograph, so wearing the camera doesn't do much for me. Travel cam is an Olympus Pen-E3 or OM-D E5 or similar. Vibration has never been a problem.

I did use a messenger bag when commuting in NYC on a bike. It solves a short-haul solution, but I wouldn't want something slung that way for a long ride. It weighs unevenly on one shoulder and slides around front at inopportune times.

You have to choose a solution that works for you, but let me offer the following:

1) you can't eliminate risk to the camera if you insist on riding with one. You can manage the risk a bit, but you are fighting physics on this because of the speeds at which you will be traveling, and the fact that a bike purposely does not have much mass. Use gear you can afford to lose in a spill/crash, theft, or rain and then stop worrying about it. It is only stuff, and if you have spent what I think you have on that bike, the cost of a used digicam is trivial.

2) wearing anything that's not clothing when cycling is an opportunity for something to go wrong.

3) a bike is a terrible getaway vehicle. Don't worry that your photo gear will signal anything of importance to thieves: they already want your bike, which is probably worth more than the average week's salary just as parts.

4) Don't worry about vibration. It isn't an issue that can be managed by placing a camera on your body vs. on the frame. When you travel by bike, you are essentially a giant sack of water sitting a metal frame. When your wheels hit a pothole, where do you think the impact of that event goes? Right into you and everything connected to you. Just buy a used Oly for $150 and smile when you touch that shutter button.
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Old 5 Days Ago   #21
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I ride with a camera carefully in the summer. I like the IIIf best but have used the M6 with a 35. Can't be bothered with a bag. For longer more serious rides I have the camera immersed in clothing in a pannier bag. A risk of course. NB The 2 lug M5 is no good for cycling....
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Old 4 Days Ago   #22
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NB The 2 lug M5 is no good for cycling....
Yes, that brutalist M5 is much too ugly for cycling, and will totally destroy your fashionable hipster street cred.

OP, if you're looking for a small on-body bag, consider the Peak Design Everyday Sling 5L. Or the Topo Designs Quick Pack or Mini Quick Pack. All three options are available in all black.
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Old 4 Days Ago   #23
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Quote:
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...

4) Don't worry about vibration. It isn't an issue that can be managed by placing a camera on your body vs. on the frame. When you travel by bike, you are essentially a giant sack of water sitting a metal frame. When your wheels hit a pothole, where do you think the impact of that event goes? Right into you and everything connected to you. Just buy a used Oly for $150 and smile when you touch that shutter button.

Potholes, sure, vibration, no. Inertia prevents an adult human body from being accelerated like that. Sack of water is exactly the right metaphor, it would make for a decent camera suspension system, I don't understand how you arrive at the wrong conclusion from it. Try transporting a carbonated drink on the frame and compare to one from the backpack.
Your solution of using an affordable camera on the bike I fully support.
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Old 4 Days Ago   #24
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I ride with a camera often.

I use a Ape Case ACPRO 650 strapped to the handlebars using two velco straps and some old camera bag strap plastic clips. I fasten the back to the fork tube with another velcro strap. Works great and easy access!

I can also put a camera in the rear rack bag above the rear tire if I carry more items.
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Old 4 Days Ago   #25
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I move around Ho Chi Minh City on a motorbike but I'm not hanging my gear on the bike...too much vibration. A good friend cycled from Bangkok to Jinghong, China, stored his Sony and Zeiss Batis 85mm lens in a photo bag hanging from the handlebars only to find halfway the trip that his Zeiss Batis 85mm lens had died. He sent it to Germany for repairs and their verdict...vibrations. Now, I am aware that the plural of anecdote is not 'data' but just to be sure, I'm using a shoulder bag to carry my gear, not in the least since it is cushioned by a moderate beer belly. Cheers, Peter
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Old 4 Days Ago   #26
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Don't try it with an Argus C3! I had my Matchmatic in my mac pocket one damp day, my foot slipped on a wet pedal, and I drove the camera hard into the handlebars with my chest.

One corner of the camera was hard enough to draw blood on my ribs.

Not a mark on the brick... actually, maybe if you value your camera more than your ribs, maybe the C3 is a good idea?

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Old 4 Days Ago   #27
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If you wreck no amount of padding is going to save that camera and lens. I've had cameras in my messenger bag before and go down on a rainy day -- that's the end of that. Now I just sling it over my chest when I ride, set to 1/1000 and hyperfocused so I can ride and photograph at the same time. Worked for Bill Cunningham, works for me.
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Old 4 Days Ago   #28
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Yeah I wouldn't carry my Leica on my bike unless I was doing a long tour out on lonely country roads. In the city, get a point and shoot with a zoom lens and have fun. You won't cry nearly as much that way.
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Old 4 Days Ago   #29
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It's surprising how hard it is to cycle with a camera. One would have thought that combining these two hobbies would be a natural fit. I find that I rarely ever have a camera with me because I'm either cycling, or driving my other hobby: A Lotus Elise, which has no storage space at all for a delicate camera.
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Old 3 Days Ago   #30
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It's surprising how hard it is to cycle with a camera. One would have thought that combining these two hobbies would be a natural fit. I find that I rarely ever have a camera with me because I'm either cycling, or driving my other hobby: A Lotus Elise, which has no storage space at all for a delicate camera.

Cycling take attention. In a city, it's like playing a video game with potential death coming from every direction. On a more open road, it's about movement. Either way, the kind of contemplation and attention that I would have while walking around to take photos is very different than the attention I have to the road and to movement when cycling. I can carry a camera for days and weks and never stop my bike to take a photo.



And face it, cycling is about going forward. Stopping means you aren't cycling any more!
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Old 3 Days Ago   #31
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Cycling take attention. In a city, it's like playing a video game with potential death coming from every direction. On a more open road, it's about movement. Either way, the kind of contemplation and attention that I would have while walking around to take photos is very different than the attention I have to the road and to movement when cycling. I can carry a camera for days and weks and never stop my bike to take a photo.



And face it, cycling is about going forward. Stopping means you aren't cycling any more!

Well said!
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Old 3 Days Ago   #32
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If I carry my camera on a ride, I change my head from "go fast" to "go slow". I only "carry" 10 or 20 percent of my rides, so when I carry, the point of the ride is to shoot film. Being a one-camera-guy, I'm wearing the M2 on a strong strap, over my shoulder. I probably will transition to carrying a Zorki & 35mm when I gain confidence in that camera. I am fortunate to live in a town with enough cycle traffic that auto drivers, for the most part, respect the cycler.
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Old 3 Days Ago   #33
Ste_S
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bert26 View Post
Damn, thanks for all the info. Iíll be riding a track bike through the city and the outskirts as well. I have a really twitchy build with very tight geometry so itíll definitely be a bag I wear. I would not feel comfortable at all slinging the leica around my shoulder like itís a bag but that does sound amazing. Iím very experienced but still, that sounds so risky. Just something small, black, light, with quick access to my camera. You see, there are so many times Iíll be driving around, see something amazing out the window, and not be able to shoot it. I just like the idea of hopping off the bike for a minute to get the shot instead of missing the shot trying to park. I mostly shoot street but have grown pretty tired of the downtown area here and would like to start shooting up in the numbers where things and people start to get pretty strange. Areas like this are too spread out to park and walk. It looks like Iíll just look for something on b&h. I definitely donít want the bag to look camera specific but even if there are logos I can just black em out.
You don't sound too dissimilar to me really, I ride a vintage track or road bike to go and shoot around my city. If I'm on my road bike then any standard camera bag will do (or just the camera itself over my shoulder), fixed wheel then It'll be a backpack so it doesn't swing around. I use a small Rapha backpack with the insert from my camera bag inside it.

If I'm out cycling on long rides and I don't want to take a bag, then to be honest my phone in a jersey pocket is fine. If film then folders or clamshells are great - Voigtlander Vito II, Olympus XA or mju series etc, all of those fit in a jersey pocket. Heck, I can fit a Zeiss Nettar in a jersey pocket should I want to shoot medium format on long rides.
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