Introduction: The Hands Free Bicycle Camera Tripod
I like to ride my bicycle. I also like photography. Combining photography and bicycles doesn't always work though. If you don't have any large pockets in your clothing you have the problem of storing your camera when you aren't taking pictures. Taking pictures while biking doesn't always work either if you don't want to stop your bike, take your bulky camera out of your oversized pocket, turn the camera on, take the picture, and resecure you camera in your pocket.
I thought about these problems and came up with the perfect solution, the Bicycle Camera Tripod...
Step 1: Get Your Supplies
To make a Camera Tripod for your bicycle, you will need a few parts. All of them are pretty low cost. You probably already have most of the supplies.
-Bicycle- You probably already have one of these, especially if you're reading this Instructable.
-Camera- The key to making this project work is for your camera to have a place that you can screw onto a tripod.
-Small Tripod- The tripod I used came with a toy telescope that I found in the toy section of a discount clothing store (Marshalls, TJ Max, etc. I forget which one I got it from). The telescope is completely useless for looking at stuff, but the tripod that the telescope was attached to was very useful for this project. It stands about a foot tall and is easily adjustable. The telescope/tripod cost me about $5.00.
-Zip Ties- I used these to attach the tripod to the bicycle.
Step 2: Position Your Tripod
Figure out where you want your tripod. Wherever you put the tripod on your bicycle, factor in the ease of reaching over to press the button on your camera to take pictures. I thought it would be pretty cool to have some unique views like attaching the tripod just below the seat looking down at the wheels, but it really didn't seem to practical when I started thinking about it.
In the end, I choose the location which was the most logical for me, which was on the handlebars. That way the camera was easy to access to take pictures. The camera is also always in view so you can see if the camera may be getting loose from the tripod, and you can avoid any disasters involving expensive electronics before they happen.
Play around until you find a suitable location. Test the location out by placing the tripod there and closing the legs around the bike frame. See how well the tripod holds without being properly secured. Once you've decided where you want your tripod, you will secure it to the bike with zip ties.
Step 3: Secure the Tripod
You are going to secure the tripod to the bicycle using zip-ties.
Keeping the tripod in the position you decided on in the previous step, take a large zip-tie and loop it around the three tripod legs and pull it tight. This initial zip-tie will help hold the tripod in place when you add some more in the next step...
Step 4: Add More Zip-ties
Next, take three more zip-ties and loop each tie from the three individual tripod legs to around the handlebars. Pull these tight. These three zip-ties will pretty much secure your tripod and eliminate most of the chances of it falling off of your bike.
For good measure though, put on one more zip-tie around all three of the legs somewhere above where you put the first tie. This will add some extra safety...
Step 5: Attach Camera
Your tripod should now be secure. Go and get your camera and find the hole in the bottom where you can screw in a tripod. Carefully screw the camera onto the tripod attached to your bike. Screw it nice and tight. If you have a camera strap, see if there is any place you can wrap it around for extra security. I was able to fit my bike handle through the strap.
Step 6: Go for a Ride & Take Pictures
The pictures you see on this step are all pictures that I have taken while using this bicycle camera tripod.
Using a video camera with this setup is just as simple as using a still camera. As long as the video camera has a place to screw onto the tripod, it should work. My video camera was at least double the weight as my still camera and I had no problems with keeping the heavier camera secure. The only problem with video was that the camera would pick up all of the vibrations from the bike and turning the handlebars a little showed up a whole lot in the video. But regardless, it's better than holding the camera and riding the bike at the same time. This is a video filmed with the bike tripod of me riding a bike over a suspension bridge that crosses the interstate and connects two different trails.
Something that I noticed while using this bicycle tripod was peoples reactions to seeing a camera sitting there on a bicycle's handlebars. People normally ignore you while you're riding a bike. Maybe a few people will nod or smile at you, but that's normally the full extent of the interactions between the people using the trail where I tested this out. When I had the camera out, the amount of interaction at least doubled, if not tripled. It was very strange. Maybe people just want to get on camera.
Remember to wear a helmet and don't get in an accident!