BikeCommuters.com

mini bicycling photographer…

I’m often known for riding my big front-loading Bilenky cargo bike to photoshoots. However, if I find that getting to a shoot requires a lot of bus and train transfers or if I just want to go incognito, I’ve found the Dahon Speed TR and an Ortlieb Shuttle Bike to be a great combination!

For would-be bicycling photographers, or anyone that has to carry equipment in a waterproof semi-hard case, this is the way to do it.

The Ortlieb Shuttle Bike is a great waterproof case that has a special mounting mechanism that attaches to your rear rack.

The Shuttle Bike is just the right size to fit my LowePro backpack that contains my camera and strobes on one side of the clam shell design, and a small softbox and folded matt board I use for a reflector on the other.

Now, on a “regular” size bike (700c or 26inch), the weight may make the bike feel a little top heavy. However, on a folding bike, it’s just right. The smaller wheels lower the overall center of gravity so the bike doesn’t feel as top-heavy. It’s noticeable when out of the saddle, but if you sit and spin the handling isn’t affected too adversely.

When I’m using this Dahon Speed TR and Ortlieb Shuttle Bike setup, I usually carry my lightstands and umbrellas off of my Brooks saddles (probably not what they were originally intended for) with a pair of toe straps. It works surprisingly well.

And since my Shuttle Bike is usually pretty full, I have to mount my BikeBurrito with tools to the rack (note flexible mounting system :).

As you can see, with a little ingenuity and the right pairing of gear, you can do quite a bit with a bicycle…even carry a portable studio! Below are some snaps I’ve done with this simple setup.

27 Comments

  1. Elizabeth

    Mmm. Mmm. Good.

    Go figure I was just looking at a Dahon catalog that a friend passed my way and wondering if I’d like it…

  2. Dottie

    Very cool set up. I always love looking at your beautiful pictures!

  3. 2whls3spds

    Russ,
    You keep posting pictures of that bike I am going to have to figure out how to get one. I am hoping that I can see and ride one before I put down my hard earned money. But the more I see of the one you have the more interested I get. I definitely need a compact/folding type bike, just cannot decide which one. Dahon has gotten on my bad side once before for a broken proprietary part that took 3 months to get. But that bike looks so right.

    Aaron

  4. Ghost Rider

    I’ve been coveting a Dahon, too — and Russ’s coverage of them isn’t helping one bit!

  5. Moe

    Aaron,
    I’m planning to sell my KHS F20-R, let me know if you are interested.

  6. Russ Roca (Post author)

    Aaron,
    You should take a look at Gaerlen:

    http://www.gaerlan.com/

    They do a lot of after-market bike mods (including getting handbuilt 3x wheels if you’re not fond of the straight lace) that allow you to customize a Dahon to suit your needs.

    R

  7. Mike Myers

    I’ve always been intrigued by folding bikes. I have absolutely no use for one, but they’re awfully cool. But I live in a place with no mass transit. I drive a Honda Element, which is the best bike carrying vehicle EVER, and I haven’t flown in years. Thus, I can’t justify a folder—-but being on the Bike Friday mailing list doesn’t help. LOL

    Being a short guy who hates toe clip overlap, I wonder if a minivelo would be an ideal solution. Bianchi makes these but they’re not available in the US. Bummer

    http://bikehugger.com/2008/05/bianchi_mini_velo_i_still_want.htm

  8. Teck

    Love the pics & the set-up you have – thanks for the write up!

    Just curious how the special mounting system work on the Ortlieb – looks pretty sturdy.

    Teck
    http://www.abiobikes.com

  9. Ghost Rider

    Teck, take a look at this article:
    http://www.bikecommuters.com/2008/11/22/ortlieb-shuttle-bike-review-part-1/

    The rack mounting widget is covered there…

  10. Iron Man

    That D300 looks nice too. Is that your primary kit or do you have the D2X or better yet the D3X too?

  11. Russ Roca (Post author)

    The D300 is my primary….I have a D200 I use as well when I need to cameras….

    I’d like a D700, but you can’t really buy “just” the camera when you go full frame, you need the lenses to go along with it…it’s sort of a pain in the butt…

    So for now, I’m more than happy with the D300, except for the occasional assignments when it is super dark and I could use a higher ISO.

    R

  12. casey h

    Your pictures always look great Russ. Keep up the good work!

  13. Iron Man

    Nice. My Mrs has the D200. She won’t even let me look at the thing let alone strap it to a bike.

  14. Matt / PBBT

    Russ, I love my D700. Last October, I upgraded to it from the D70. The D700 is the single greatest camera I have ever used and I have used a lot of Nikon cameras.

    That said, you’re right. Going to full-frame while keeping your cropped lenses is a non-starter.

    Fortunately, when I bought my D70 in 2004, I knew Nikon was going to come out with a full-frame digital camera. So, instead of buying a 17-55/2.8 DX, I went ahead and bought the 17-35/2.8 (and the 70-200/2.8 AFSVR).

    As the years went by and no Nikon full-frame digital camera was released, I started to feel silly for not getting the 17-55. Then, the D3 and D700 were announced and I rejoiced.

    I love shooting wide and always felt cramped with the DX format even at 17mm. It is nice to have a wide angle lens again without having to drop a couple grand on the 12-24/2.8. (That said, I still want one, I just no longer need one.)

    If you’re married to the DX format, check out the D90. Two of my friends bought the D90 and its low-ISO performance is better than the D300 by three stops, give or take. Everything else feels crisper, too. Of course, that is to be expected on a camera that is two years and a generation newer.

    (Not that you really *need* a new camera. All your stuff looks great. I’m sure you’d do just fine with a D100.)

    —Camera Fan Boy Matt

  15. Matt / PBBT

    One last note… the Nikon D700 works amazingly well with older Nikon glass. My 55/3.5 manual focus macro lens is amazing on the D700. It wasn’t even worth mounting on earlier Nikon DSLRs. What fun is shooting if you aren’t able to meter?

    The D700 will matrix meter and shoot in aperture priority mode with glass dating back to the 1960s. It’ll even record metadata with those lenses provided you tell the camera the focal length and maximum aperture . Wonderful!

    Okay. Enough camera talk.

    —Matt

  16. Iron Man

    That’s why I didn’t get into photography. That’s a whole lot of numbers being bandied about there Matt. My right brained mind thinks that sounds a little too close to math for such a creative endeavor.

    I paint though. For a while I’ve been thinking about combining the two joys of mine. I’m always finding great landscapes to paint while on long rides in the country. I need to tow my French easel with me next time I head out into the farmland.

  17. Russ Roca (Post author)

    Matt,
    Thanks for the info. I do plan sometime in the future to go FX…I just know I’d have to buy a whole new set of lenses to go along with it…ugh

    Good to know about the D90. With the D300 I tend to try not to shoot above ISO 1000, after that it sorta falls apart. Strange though, I prefer the color (esp. for portraits) of the D200 to the D300.

    Ack.

    In some ways, I miss film cameras. They were a mature technology and not changing all the dang time.

    Hopefully when I do get a D700 it’ll be the last camera I’ll have to buy for a long time. It looks a pretty full featured and maturish camera. Like you, I’m a Nikon shooter (from the FM, FE, FE2, F2, F4, F100). I just want this continual upgrading to stop so I can just focus on pictures.

    Although, to tell you the truth, for all my bike touring, I really have been enjoying the Canon G10. Planning to get the Lumix LX3 for the wide angle soon.

    R

  18. 2whls3spds

    Moe,
    Thanks for the offer, but I am looking for something more touring oriented with ALL the goodies.

    Aaron

  19. Chip Haynes

    I’ve been doing most of my daily commuting for the last 13 years or so on a vintage (1972) Raleigh Twenty three-speed folder. For me, and the type of riding I do to work and back, it’s a perfect fit. And it’s amazing how much stuff you can carry on a folder.

    You should have one.

  20. 2whls3spds

    @chip…I am still looking for a Twenty. I keep missing out on them. I have the Raleigh Compact RSW ( “Compact” being a misnomer if there ever was one!)

    Aaron

  21. Chip Haynes

    So, um, 2whls3spds, I do happen to have an extra Twenty. It looks to be box stock and in good shape.

    Fancy a trade?

  22. Ghost Rider

    Chip,

    Aaron’s too far away…but you always said you’d like to shower ME with gifts — and I’m in the market for a folder. 😉

  23. Chip Haynes

    Hey there, GR- So what have you got to trade?

    In all honesty, we have four R20’s. Two are highly modifed and two are box stock. One of the stockies is a keeper- it belonged to JoAnn’s aunt, but the other might be available for the right trade. I’ve always wanted a RSW16- it’s what they used on The Prisoner (the old English TV show) in The Village.

  24. Chip Haynes

    Ok, so after thinking about for a bit, let me put this out there: I’ve always wanted an early 70’s Schwinn Sports Tourer (21″ frame or smaller). I would prefer one in French Blue, but I’ll take what I can get. Now: Who wants a box stock Raleigh Twenty?

    Anyone?

    Anyone?

  25. Matt / PBBT

    Russ, just in case you missed it, check out the EvoVelo photo contest…

    http://www.ecovelo.info/

    They have some of the best bike porn on the internet. Their photographers are out of my league but you’d be competitive. Many prizes are available.

    —Matt

  26. Membris Khan

    Really really really cool! I like Ortlieb bags, and I’m a biker-photographer too. In fact, I’m looking for a more bigger bag for muy photography equipation (actually I use a Ortlieb Bike Box 2)

    Regards!

  27. Erik Sandblom

    Russ, did a short entry on your setup at a Swedish blog, Ecoprofile. I used your photo to illustrate it and credited you. I hope that’s okay!

    Cyklande fotografen i Long Beach

    PS I want to be a photographer too, if you get to use all this cool gear!

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