Take my OM on my bicycle?

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by makoti, Dec 26, 2012.

  1. makoti

    makoti Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 8, 2012
    Shot in the dark question...

    I am taking a bicycle tour soon. 14 days. Some days will be 50+ miles. On nice days, I'd like to carry my good camera with me, instead of just shoving my p&s in my pocket (which I will if rain is threatening). I am looking for a seat bag. Something that goes directly under the saddle. No handlebar bags or pannieres. Has anyone ever done this? What bag did you use?
  2. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    Do you have a rear rack? Trek makes a nice snap-in bag that would be big enough and I believe it is waterproof. I have one and it would hold camera, lenses and have room for more. It's also a semi-rigid bag so it has some level of protection.
  3. reva

    reva Mu-43 Rookie

    Feb 24, 2010
    South Jersey (Philly!)
    For shorter rides (~10-15 mi), I would take my d90 with the blackrapid strap, and a carabiner, and clip it to a belt loop. this was enough to keep it suspended above the crossbar of my road bike, and easily accessible while riding. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that your omd will be considerably smaller, so maybe a similar rig can work for you!
  4. makoti

    makoti Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 8, 2012
    I will be renting the bike from the tour company, and I don't think there is a rear rack, but I'll check. Do you know the model of the trek bag? That's why I was thinking seat pack. I can easily take that with me & they fit any bike.
    The strap is interesting. It didn't sway to much? My bag is a timbuk2, so for short rides I can just wear that.
  5. I'd never ever put my camera or lenses in a bag that is mounted on the frame of my bike. Too much vibration that will harm your delicate gear, especially the IBIS of the OM-D.

    I always carry my camera and lenses in a Lowepro Slingshot 100 or a Lowepro Photo Sport 200AW on my back, the saddle suspension and my body dampen vibration and shocks that could harm the equipment.

    Tripods that I carry on the back rack are periodically checked for loose screws and fastened.
  6. Indianpeaksjoe

    Indianpeaksjoe Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2012
    I ride with my OM-D almost every day. I carry it in my small hydration pack in a Montbell Light camera bag (very thin and small: mont-bell :: LIGHT CAMERA SHOULDER BAG M). The camera is light, so for half day rides it is not a problem. Plus your body provides suspension for the camera.


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  7. dyrmaker83

    dyrmaker83 Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 19, 2011
    Washington, DC
    A saddle bag suspended from the saddle rails would let the camera hang and serve as a suspension of sorts. The Velo Orange Croissant Saddle Bag is a good one that has a large opening for access. The only thing is that you won't have the easiest access while on the bike.

    There are a number of handlebar bag setups that give you fast access. Places to look include Velo Orange and Rivendell, but most have some sort of support structure (i.e. a decaleur) required. I think Ortlieb has a quick-release handlebar bag that's also waterproof (EDIT: they do, and a camera insert is available).

    I usually just us a sling-style strap. The camera usually stays to my back, and gives me instant access - including shots while riding!
  8. rkelac

    rkelac Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 15, 2011
    I use an Arkel handlebar bag. Problem with a seat bag or rear rack bag is that by the time you get the camera out what you wanted to take the picture of is over.

    I find the OM-D to be pretty rugged. Lost a rear rack bag off my bike once with the camera in it (always check rear racks and bags, another reason for handlebar bags for some of us) and the camera still works fine.
  9. rkelac

    rkelac Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 15, 2011
    Here is an interesting article on taking a camera on a bike.


    He's talking about very long trips and carrying a FF Nikon though.
  10. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    I've travelled extensively by bicycle, including a couple of trans-continental trips and in the end my cameras always ended up in a modified handlebar bag. Under the seat bags are just to slow to access, especially if you ride in a group that's not "into" photography like you are. Putting the camera on your body can work but if you fall you could do a lot of damage to youeself if you land on the camera (not to mention damaging the camera itself). I always found that the handle bar extenders (bullhorns) stopped anything from hitting the bag directly. I also found that using a quick release system meant that when not on the bike I could use the handlebar bag as a normal shoulder bag. It contanied my cameras but also my passport, maps and valuables so it was always with me. I don't think an underseat bag will allow that kind of convenience.

    A handlebar bag is easy to get used to and the lightweight kit of m4/3 wont throw out your balance for more than an hour or so. When I rode Cairo to Capetown I carried an EOS1, 17-35 and the huge 35-350L in a handlebar bag. Plus a couple of hundred rolls of Velvia/Provia and kodachrome. That trip was 16,000kms and the gear had no problems from vibration (getting hit by a truck did some damage though). Every trip after that gets easier as the gear gets smaller and lighter.

    If yoùre really against handlebar bags I'd look at a small photo backpack or an insert. But I don't enjoy riding with a pack and I'd hate to land on it in a fall. I can only imagine the damage an EM5 would do to my spine if I landed on it.

  11. makoti

    makoti Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 8, 2012
    Thanks everyone!

    You all gave me some good ideas & leads. Since it will not be my own bike I'll be riding, a handelbar setup is not likely. I agree that it is the most convenient, though. A large seat pack is possible, but I think I am leaning towards just using my Timbuk2 bag. Rode with it today, and it seemed to be ok. I may invest in a smaller version, because, ya know, I have money to burn. :rolleyes: 
    On days that look like rain, I'll just carry my sacrificial p&s.
    Anyway, thanks for the ideas. Still have a few weeks to plan it all out.
  12. Savas K

    Savas K Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 10, 2013
    Consider a chest pack. A top-loader that is fitted with the optional purpose built straps.
  13. Indianpeaksjoe

    Indianpeaksjoe Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2012
    Thought I'd update this, I have been riding with an Ortlieb Ultimate 5 with their Ortlieb Padded Camera insert on my snow bike the past few months and it has worked really nicely. Very easy to access while riding.
    robonza: Review: Ortlieb Camera Insert

    I wouldn't take it mountain biking on really rough trails, too much bouncing around, I'd throw it in my backpack for that. But for road riding, easy trails and especially snow biking it is great.

  14. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    I keep my camera gear in a bar bag (ortlieb 5) on tour. My 5dmkII survived just fine
  15. Savas K

    Savas K Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 10, 2013
    I used an Ortleib case mounted in the rear pannier position, originally bought for riding to work. Rode the bike out east following a a collection of roads mentioned in a book. The paths brought me to scenes to photograph that are unavailable to vehicular traffic due to parking restrictions. During some stops, I wished for a handlebar mounted solution so that I could shoot by mere straddling. Though some scenes invited putting the bike down and walking into and among things to shoot.
  16. angusr

    angusr Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 21, 2011
    I've done loads of this and would second what Joe and others have said. The accessible positions are 1) bar bag 2) chest harness 3) back pocket. The smaller m43 cameras fit fine in a back pocket - gf3 with 14, 20 or 45mm in my case and this works well off road.

    For touring on road, I think a bar bag is the simplest bet. Ortlieb stuff is great. I never got on with a chest harness, but Ortlieb make one of those too.

    Off road with a bigger camera I think it has to go in a back pack.

    Have a good trip and let us see the pics.
  17. I am looking at options with regards to carrying my new to me Olympus OM-D EM-1 micro four thirds camera and lenses (probably two) when touring so this thread is a nice find. My thinking is along the lines of a camera bag insert for my Ortlieb Ultimate 5 handlebar bag but they do look like they take all the room up in the bag. Does this sound right?

    I am curious as to what others use and/or if anyone has found a good reasonably priced insert that fits the medium Ortlieb Ultimate 5 handlebar bag as getting a genuine one looks like it might be a bit of hassle from here in Australia.


  18. Just came across this approach that a member over at BentRider has adopted (I ride a bent as my commuter so this idea appeals for that purpose at least). Anyway I thought it worth sharing.



  19. janneman

    janneman Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 6, 2012
    Jan (John) Kusters
  20. I have recently looked at options to carry my Olympus OM-D EM-1 camera with a Olympus 17mm f/1.8 prime on my Bacchetta Giro 20 ATT and decided to try out an Alpkit Fuel Pod. So far the Alpkit Fuel Pod is ticking box as a camera case after I made up some inserts to protect the camera and lens however I have yet to get a zoom lens so will have to see how that fits to get a final decision on its suitability.

    Apologies in advance for the photos ... rushed and lazy.


    Mounting the Fuel Pod was pretty straight forward. It comes with loop points sewn along the bottom and two ends of the bag, but no Velcro straps. The loop points are also quite small, so Velcro no more than 20 mm wide would be ideal. I did’t have any suitable lengths to hand so used zip ties which are working well actually.


    The Alpkit Fuel Pod is a one compartment top-tube bag, it is not a camera bag so I had to make up some inserts to provide an element of protection for the camera along the lines suggested in this thread. I found given the dimensions of the OM-D EM-1 that a piece of an old sleeping mat was ideal for the base. I then lined the sides of the Fuel Pod with some 3mm high density foam I had to hand and I used the same foam padding to make a divider come battery card pocket to provide protection between the camera and my future lens.

    The camera is a tight fit but I do find it reasonably easy to remove and reinsert. Not super fast by any means so not a quick grab to snap that fleeting moment but it works in terms of providing reasonably easy access to my camera. At this point in time I don’t have my zoom lens so I have my hood for the 17 mm lens in the spot it will go. This seems to work okay and hopefully the lens will fit okay (my concern is the height).


    Access to the camera is via a double zip arrangement with a piece of cord design to facilitate a single pool. It works okay but the cords where not tied on properly. I also find the piece of Velcro is a bit of a pain and slows down accessing the camera.

    Riding the bike I do brush against the Fuel Pod when I first head-off but after a short period I no longer notice this so I am either pedalling slightly differently or it is simply not bothering me.

    All up I am pretty happy with the setup so far, but once I am carrying a zoom that will be the real test of the bag and oh and riding in the rain.

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