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Old Tuesday 4th December 2007, 14:49   #1
rafiki
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Cycle carrier for camera equipment?

I have just transferred my old Dawes Mean Street hybrid from UK to our place just outside the Donana National Park in Spain. Much of my bird watching is now done on the bike rather than in the car. It's a far better way to watch birds as one can easily see around and overhead, stopping is quick and can be done on the white-lined no-stopping-for-cars routes. Birds seem to be less frightened of a slow-moving cyclist than of a noisy diesel 4x4 too and so access is better. HOWEVER, my main passion is bird photography and there the problem lays. I use a big Canon DSLR camera attached to a heavy 400mm telephoto lens. The Kirtland bag I have fastened to the rear carrier of the cycle at the moment is not big enough and the fixings not secure enough for the weight. Of course it is most essential to be able to get the camera out quickly. Can anyone suggest a cycle pannier/bag that will be securely fixed, large enough, accessible enough and, possibly, padded in case of a spill on the uneven dirt roads?
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Old Tuesday 4th December 2007, 19:07   #2
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How big is your 400?

I sometimes cycle with a 400d & 100-400 just on the camera strap, round neck and one shoulder. The end of the lens goes into a waist-mounted Lowepro Off Trail 1 that normally holds the camera and 17-85, which stops the camera/lens from sliding around away from the middle of my back. Bins go either neck/other shoulder, or in a handlebar bag.

If I was going for a longer-term solution, I'd look at a dedicated DIY fitting on the bike, with one end attached to the over-the-wheel loop of a pair of front low-rider pannier carriers, and the other end attached to the centre of the handlebars. Possibly made from a length of plastic drainpipe with camping mat padding inside. This is a fairly well protected location on a bike, as usually the handlebar ends take any impact.
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Old Tuesday 4th December 2007, 19:31   #3
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I'd worry about vibration affecting my gear mounting it on a bike - how about a chest harness? I have used one whilst climbing (though only with a 70-200 f2.8 on my 1DsII), and it didnt restrict movement or affect balance unless I was on an absolutely vertical section, which shouldnt be a worry on a bike! Lowe Pro street and field system can be set up in this configuration.
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Old Wednesday 5th December 2007, 13:15   #4
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Thanks Andrew and Gordon. The camera is a weighty combo of a 1D MkIII with a 100-400 IS L and a 1.4x teleconverter so the zoom can be shortened whilst on the move. Quick on the draw is the aim and I know that with a rig like that it's a tall order but I'm determined to find a solution because birding on a bike is so good. I carry my binoculars around my neck whilst riding and that is perfectly ok. I wondered if one of those harnesses advertised for bins and cameras would fit the bill. A DIY solution had occurred to me but I'm a bit mechanically challenged!
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Old Thursday 6th December 2007, 06:39   #5
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Just had a look at the Lowepro site. The toploader chest harness looks ok although I shall try to find a local supplier where I can try it on. The Toploader 75AW may accommodate the camera and lens.
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Old Saturday 8th December 2007, 00:13   #6
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I wouldn't be too keen on carrying anything of any size on my chest when cycling. You are leaned forwards, so whatever it is will hang away from your chest and swing about unless the straps are pretty tight, and also anything of any bulk below belt level will bump against your thighs with every turn of the pedals.
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Old Monday 10th December 2007, 10:50   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rafiki View Post
Just had a look at the Lowepro site. The toploader chest harness looks ok although I shall try to find a local supplier where I can try it on. The Toploader 75AW may accommodate the camera and lens.
That's what I use for my 1DsII and 70-200 f2.8, which fits inside nicely. It also can be used on a shoulder strap, which works well when walking, or attatched to a belt. Lowe pro street and field used to do a belt which had loops for attatching separate lens pouches - I used this system for a long while and found it very flexible. (Since buying a big scope and a big lens, I now use a phototrekker sack since it will take the big optics and the tripod I now have to carry around too!)
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