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sog1927
30-Aug-2007, 12:22
So, does anyone have any good suggestions for transporting LF (4x5 in my case) on a bike, either on
a short jaunt (<20 miles), or on longer rides? I have a reasonable system worked out for carrying my
MF gear (well, except for the 500mm), but transporting the 4x5 and associated paraphenalia is an entirely different proposition.

Steve

Michael Graves
30-Aug-2007, 12:40
My wife and I took a weekend bicycle trip with two bikes, a tent, sleeping bags, an 8x10M Toyo, 12 film holders and a box of lenses and accessories.

How? When the kids were little, we bought one of those trailers that you haul your kid in. It worked just as well for camping and photo gear as it did for kids. Better, in a way. I didn't have to make the Toyo wear a helmet. I gotta tell ya, though, riding up hills was a bear!

drew.saunders
30-Aug-2007, 12:55
Search rec.bicycles.tech for reviews/opinions on the Bob trailers, but most of what I've heard are positive. If you already have an LF backpack system, you can just put that in the trailer and bungie it down.

http://www.bobtrailers.com/trailers/trailers.php

You could do the rack/pannier system, but then you'd likely have to split the components between two panniers, plus strap the tripod to the top of the rack sticking over the rear wheel.

Drew

wclavey
30-Aug-2007, 13:01
I purchased meduim sized paniers for my bike and I put the backpack with the LF in one side and other stuff (collapsed tripod, case of filmholders, water, jacket, cap, etc.) in the other. I only have done trips in the <20 mile category, but everything travels well.

Lucas M
30-Aug-2007, 13:46
I only go on shorter bike rides with a 4x5 camera which I am able to fit in my backpack just fine. Water too. I enjoy bike rides as you are more inclined and able to stop when you see something then if you are in a car.

Greg Lockrey
30-Aug-2007, 15:13
I'm assuming your using a touring bike with pannier frames, Bobtrailers is a great idea and so would any baby carrier that you could get from a hammerhead whose kids are now grown up. Check your local bikeshop or clubs in your area and contact those kind of guys that may have one cheap. I heard that Boulder is a mecca for bikers. :)

sog1927
30-Aug-2007, 16:42
Mountainsmith "Day" lumbar pack: Tachihara 4x5, 3 lenses (180 Nikkor-W, 90 Angulon, 270 Tele-Arton), Polaroid 545, BTZS darkcloth, meter, loupe, and 40 Velvia quickloads. Tripod strapped to the rear rackon the bike. Keeps people from tailgating ;-)


I think this will work.

Steve

Eric James
30-Aug-2007, 16:58
I think that carrying the gear on your body rather than loading it more or less directly on an axle will be better for your lenses. This approach will be a good deal faster too - just get off the bike and go photograph. If it turns out to be too much for your back you might compromise by carrying the lenses and filters in a lumbar pack or backpack and putting the more durable items in a (Ortleib) pannier.

I hope this works for you, and I hope you'll report back.

Toyon
30-Aug-2007, 17:30
Lucky for you there is a lf camera specifically designed for bicyling, called a Cycle Poco. A very compact folder. Add a small convertible lens and readyloads and you've got a great ultra-lightweight system.

sog1927
31-Aug-2007, 10:28
So this setup proved a little uncomfortable on a 10 mile shakedown ride yesterday. Mountainsmith sells an accessory padded backpack strap which might help - I'll let everyone know how it works out.

Thanks to all for the excellent suggestions!

Steve

Greg Lockrey
31-Aug-2007, 11:37
Your'e not ever going to like carrying anything on your back while riding. Find a way to haul your gear on a rear platform. Put a lot of foam rubber to absorb the road shocks. Your can use your handlebars for the tripod. If your bike has front and rear pannier frames, so much the better. What kind of bike are your riding, BTW?

Vaughn
31-Aug-2007, 22:01
Hello Steve!

I hope your next trip out is more comfortable! I am trying to picture the pack you got -- I picture a big lumpy thing that sits in the small of your back.

I had a large daypack that I used for my lightweight 4x5 system. It was a top-loader, which is not as nice as a front panel loader, but it was relatively tall, average width, but not too deep. It kept my gear spread out evenly along my back, and no weight sticking too far off my back. It also had a removable closed cell pad that was stored inside the pack right against my back -- it kept equipment from sticking into my back (and could be sat on for when I photographed in snow, on wet or cold ground, or on ground with little sharp annoying rocks.)

I put in a 2" layer of soft foam on the bottom of the pack to protect the equipment when I set the pack down. I made a foam enclosure for the 4x5 and that went into a stuff sack -- it fit in perfectly down into the bottom of the daypack. In next would go my lens (in a Calumet lens wrap) and the 6 film holders (each in its own zip-loc, then all in a small stuff sack), then the Pentax digi spot, a small stuff sack full of little accessories (lupe, lens cleaner, cable releace, etc) and the darkcloth. The pack had two detachable side pockets, each long enough for two water bottles, if I need to carry food and water.

It worked well. I bike-toured 5 months in New Zealand with it. When I had the whole bike loaded up, the camera pack got strapped on top of the tent, sleeping pad, tripod, and sleeping bag that were stapped crossway on the back rack. But once I got to an area I was going to photograph in, the front and rear panniers got taken off and left in my tent or the youth hostle, and I put the camera pack on my back, the pod strapped to the rear rack and off I'd go. I often would leave the bike and hike around, so having the pack ready-to-go was nice.

I did notice that I rarely photographed while I was riding with my full load -- the hassle of unpacking the bike to get to the camera stuff was too much. And as slow as bike travel is (especially over passes with 80+ pounds of gear/food on the bike!), I still prefer walking when searching for light to photograph. But even with the unloaded bike, I tended to discover light to photograph after I got off of it and got to walking around.

Vaughn

sog1927
11-Sep-2007, 23:42
The pack is this one:

http://www.mountainsmith.com/products.asp?productId=22&categoryId=4&subCategoryId=1&subCategory2Id=0

The addition of the "strapettes":

http://www.mountainsmith.com/products.asp?productId=146&categoryId=22&subCategoryId=0&subCategory2Id=0

has improved things greatly. Main compartment carries Tachi, wrapped 270mm Tele-Arton, and 545i holder, meter, and filter wallet. Zippered pocket inside main compartment carries loupe. Outer compartment carries 40 Quickloads (overkill for me). BTZS Darkcloth is wrapped around the Tachi. 90mm Angulon and 180mm Nikkor-W have each fit in, of all things, Hasselblad magazine cases which fit quite handily into the mesh water bottle pockets on either side of the pack. These close completely shut with a drawstring. I would've put them on the belt of the pack itself, but the belt is 2" and the belt loop on the magazine cases is only 1 1/2". I may try just putting them on the strapettes.

You can't see it from the pictures, but this little pack has a very well-designed lumbar pad and is really constructed like a tiny, internal frame pack. It's quite comfortable even with a fairly heavy load and it's surprisingly roomy: I could fit a 5x7 in it if I had someplace for the lenses. Does anybody
make a large-format lens case with belt loops (preferably 2")? It would be more convenient if I had lens cases that I could just attach to the belt.

It top-loads, which is actually quite nice under the circumstances - I don't have to take it off or
set it down to have access to equipment. It also has bottom straps which work nicely for a tripod.
The strapettes are, in fact, well-padded backpack straps with a sternum strap. They really distribute the weight quite well.

I haven't tried it with conventional holders or Graphmatics yet.


Hello Steve!

I hope your next trip out is more comfortable! I am trying to picture the pack you got -- I picture a big lumpy thing that sits in the small of your back.

I had a large daypack that I used for my lightweight 4x5 system. It was a top-loader, which is not as nice as a front panel loader, but it was relatively tall, average width, but not too deep. It kept my gear spread out evenly along my back, and no weight sticking too far off my back. It also had a removable closed cell pad that was stored inside the pack right against my back -- it kept equipment from sticking into my back (and could be sat on for when I photographed in snow, on wet or cold ground, or on ground with little sharp annoying rocks.)

I put in a 2" layer of soft foam on the bottom of the pack to protect the equipment when I set the pack down. I made a foam enclosure for the 4x5 and that went into a stuff sack -- it fit in perfectly down into the bottom of the daypack. In next would go my lens (in a Calumet lens wrap) and the 6 film holders (each in its own zip-loc, then all in a small stuff sack), then the Pentax digi spot, a small stuff sack full of little accessories (lupe, lens cleaner, cable releace, etc) and the darkcloth. The pack had two detachable side pockets, each long enough for two water bottles, if I need to carry food and water.

It worked well. I bike-toured 5 months in New Zealand with it. When I had the whole bike loaded up, the camera pack got strapped on top of the tent, sleeping pad, tripod, and sleeping bag that were stapped crossway on the back rack. But once I got to an area I was going to photograph in, the front and rear panniers got taken off and left in my tent or the youth hostle, and I put the camera pack on my back, the pod strapped to the rear rack and off I'd go. I often would leave the bike and hike around, so having the pack ready-to-go was nice.

I did notice that I rarely photographed while I was riding with my full load -- the hassle of unpacking the bike to get to the camera stuff was too much. And as slow as bike travel is (especially over passes with 80+ pounds of gear/food on the bike!), I still prefer walking when searching for light to photograph. But even with the unloaded bike, I tended to discover light to photograph after I got off of it and got to walking around.

Vaughn

Ed Brock
12-Sep-2007, 07:33
For those reading this thread and considering trailers - The Bob trailers have single wheels and track your bike. If you miss a pothole with the bike, the trailer will also miss the pothole. I also like the suggestion of carrying lenses (the only fragile part of LF) on your body. You can lift off the saddle to avoid a big bump. For lenses I would suggest a fanny pack which does not put extra stress on your body while cycling.

keeds
12-Sep-2007, 08:32
I also like the suggestion of carrying lenses (the only fragile part of LF) on your body.

What about your ground glass?

Vaughn
12-Sep-2007, 10:51
What about your ground glass?

I never had problems with the GG in transportation -- it should be tightly held in (for best focusing and to keep it from rattling around on the camera back.) And the camera should be packed so that nothing can hit the GG.

That said, when I traveled for 5+ months on my bike, I carried an extra GG in a old 4x5 film box just in case. I also carried a pinhole in case something happened to my lens. Fortunately I never needed to use either.

Steve,

While that looks like a great little pack, it would not be the style I would choose for myself for comfort. Also I would prefer the lenses to be inside the pack for max protection.

I carried my lens in the front right pannier of my bike -- thinking that if I crashed, I would try to crash on the left side (away from the lens and derailer). Of course when I did crash (drifted off the side of a gravel road on a curve and hit some rocks), I went over the handle bars, the front wheel turned a full 180 degrees and I had absolutely no control over anything. Only minor injuries to me and the bike, none to the camera gear.

The kicker was that this was on a 140 km stretch of gravel road -- about 100 meters before it became pavement again. It was also on Christmas Day...so it goes.

Vaughn