January 2008--Fans of Campy Only know that we enjoy taking photos on our Campy-equipped rides--often while we are riding. It's a great way to record the beautiful places we ride, and helps bring back great memories months or years later.  We've been clicking away for years, using a progression of cameras with ever-increasing image quality:
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But wait, isn't it dangerous to ride and photograph at the same time?  No.  Taking photos while riding can be done safely, provided you use proper caution. It takes a little practice, but give it a try and soon you'll be taking great shots of your riding companions, the scenery, or whatever else strikes your fancy.

Presented below are our recommendations for cameras and their use, based on our ten-plus years of experience.  We welcome your suggestions or additions.


  • Use a good camera, but not *too* good. I've never dropped a camera, but it could happen, so only use a camera that you're willing to lose.  Top-of-the-line Nikons, for instance, are probably not a good choice. 
  • If you use a digital camera (and we're assuming most people will), use one that doesn't have a flip-out screen. Flipping open the screen can be annoying and difficult to do while riding.
  • While flip-out screens are not good, a large LCD screen at the back is.  It is much easier and safer to line up your shot in the screen than it is to look through a viewfinder.
  • Try to find a camera with an easy-to-use on/off switch and a large, easy-to-find shutter button. You will appreciate this when you have full-fingered gloves on.
  • Shutter lag--that hesitation between when you push the shutter and the photo is actually taken--will be a problem with reasonably priced cameras.  Don't worry about that--see our suggestion below about not being too concerned with perfection.
  • We recommend getting as much resolution as you can, consistent with our general rules about not spending too much. You'll appreciate the resolution if you want to crop your images later.
  • Stay away from cameras that need special batteries. You will appreciate this when you're in East Nowhere and the store has AAs but not the type that your camera needs. My current camera (a Samsung S730) uses AA cells. If you want, you can always use NiCad or NiMh batteries.

Carrying and Using a Camera While Riding

  • Rule #1: Watch where you're going! Don't risk crashing just to get that perfect shot.
  • Other basic rules: Don't take shots at high speed (you judge what "high speed" means for you), on technical downhills, on rough pavement, or in any situation where you should have both hands on the handlebars.
  • When in doubt, STOP and THEN take your shot.  
  • In my experience, lining up your shot in an LCD screen is the best way to take pictures while on the bike.  Most digital cameras nowadays don't have optical viewfinders--if yours does, I recommend not using it, since you will be compromising your view of the road.
  • Don't worry about getting a perfect shot. You can straighten or crop your photos easily with simple editing software that is either already on most computers or available for free.
  • I carry my camera in a jersey pocket. This works well, except when it's cold and you have a vest or jacket on. Another option is to put it in a handlebar bag, provided that you can reach into it while riding without unzipping it.  Always keep your eyes on the road.
  • We always carry two items in the jersey pocket that the camera is in--the camera itself and something else (like a wallet or energy bar) between our body and the camera. This will act as a vapor barrier to help keep the lens from fogging. It will also help keep perspiration out of the camera (we ruined one on a particularly hot ride when too much sweat got into it).
  • In inclement weather, putting a vest or jacket over the pocket that has your camera in it will almost always be enough to keep it dry.  If in doubt, put the camera in a ziplock bag (keeping in mind that this will make it harder to get it out to take pictures).


If you're into documenting with video, the same recommendations for cameras apply. The most bike-friendly video camera I have found so far is the Flip Video (http://www.theflip.com). It's cheap, easy to use, and takes pretty good videos. Wind noise is always an issue when filming from the bike, but the Flip seems to suffer less from this problem. (Some of my on-the-bike videos can be seen at my blog: http://wheelsnorth.blogspot.com)

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