Introduction: The Hands Free Bicycle Camera Tripod

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of Go for a Ride & Take Pictures
Your camera is all ready to go. Get on your bicycle and go for a ride and test out your camera at the same time. You should be able to reach up and press the button to take the picture without even slowing down. It's great if you're riding with people that don't necessarily want to constantly stop to take pictures, and you don't need to hold your camera while riding either.

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!


gear-guy (author)2009-09-21

i might do this at some point. it probably wont secure a dslr it would be useless.

stephenniall (author)gear-guy2010-01-04

i made one like this and it secured my fuji dslr ! but i wouldnt ride with it as its usually raining and i didnt want to destroy my good camera so now i used glasses with a camera in recording to a sd card

gear-guy (author)stephenniall2010-01-06

the problem is more the fact it's my dads camera, and the lens is worth more than i earn in a year or two.

stephenniall (author)gear-guy2010-01-06

Thats why i dont use my camera ! im afraid of me crashing and breaking it ! id be lost without my dslr !

although i could do what i do in my dads van ! 

a netbook and a webcam

gear-guy (author)stephenniall2010-01-06

a cheap bridge camera may have the same quality as a dslr in this situation, it would be lighter and wouldnt matter as much if it got broken

stephenniall (author)gear-guy2010-01-06

A even cheaper 3 mp sony camera etc would be better Its easier to take off and compact enough so when you take it off your bike (so it doesnt get stolen) itll fit in your bag without being noticed!

mojo13 (author)stephenniall2011-09-08

Why not just buy a GoPro and a handle bar mount? or one of these

I'm not trying to slam your idea, but I have a GoPro with the handle bar mount, and you get absolutely no shake, and thats when I am downhilling.

If you are on a Mac, it will automatically take the vibration out in iMovie

Hexpigge (author)2010-03-30

Im not sure about zip ties :D... I mean, I dont find it really safe...

nix78 (author)2010-03-23

 You can also remove the "jumps" caused by the vibration and sharp movements of the handlebar by post-processing the video: I recommend DeShaker, which is a plugin for VirtualDub. The video below was processed with DS, and I am pretty pleased with the results:

Notes: the video is a bit zoomed in so that the black fram is not that annoying, and the source video was 320*200 px, not the HQ version.

gisagisa (author)2009-09-30

I guess if you remove the sound, it will be a very softer experience watching the video. ;)

bachterman (author)2009-09-26

if you can put a counterweight on the hanging parts, and can manage that the tripod can tilt, you can have a cool steadicam effect.

DaveyHorse (author)2009-09-16

Thank you woofboy111! I also like both bicycling and photography, and its such a pain to stop and take the camera out of the bag and set up the camera, because by then youv'e missd the shot and stopped a whole lot of traffic. Ive wante one of these for several years, but never knew quite how to go about building one. Appreciate the tip!

theburn7 (author)2009-06-22

you have the same camera i and a bunch of other college students have, that thing is so cool with the shutter speed adjustments and stuff

gallatea (author)2009-04-30

My favorite part was watching your shadow riding the bike in the video. I like all the sounds that are captured. Great idea.

dustyG (author)2008-12-19

i ride a bike,and i like to take photos too,i can't wait to put a tri-pod on my bike,thanks for the ideal,

koolaidslammer (author)2008-12-13

i take it from the video, that the camera isnt very steady, but steady enough, or, you just cant ride straight.

jward92 (author)2008-05-28

thats not a suspension bridge...

woofboy111 (author)jward922008-05-28

Yes it is...

jstech (author)woofboy1112008-08-29

Not to be pedandic, but that's actually a cable-stayed bridge, because the cables from the bridge deck go straight to the towers. They were common in the rebuilding of Europe after WWII because they use less cable than a suspension bridge, and steel was scarce.

woofboy111 (author)jstech2008-08-31

I never knew that. I always thought that these bridges were suspension bridges, although a different type than the older suspension bridges. I didn't realize these bridges had a whole other name. Thanks for correcting me!

jward92 (author)woofboy1112008-08-30


garvey1 (author)2008-08-18

Use a clamp mini tripod, $7 on ebay. Item number: 360079720619

fallenspirit123 (author)2008-08-10

Wow you have the same camera as me!

SuperMoo332 (author)2008-07-31

nice, BTW I got the exact same model camera :P Canon A570 IS Powershot

a_n_o_t_h_e_r (author)2008-06-23

Great Idea. If your reading this save yourself some time from viewing each step. All this instructable says is to zip tie a small tripod to your handle bars. Check out the last step where the results of the instructable are posted. Maybe a tilt / pan / leveling tripod would be a good one to mount.

Soupraok (author)2008-05-28

have you thought of adding a spring mech, to absorb the shock

Soupraok (author)2008-05-28

Good idea, nice work

2shane2 (author)2008-05-08

I had to go photograph about 40Km of road, every 300 meters or so I mounted a camera onto a steel tab I made up for my bicycle, and the vibration from the soon road killed it. Even relatively "flat" road shook it bad. I would like to advise that when mounting camera's to bicycles, that "GOOEY" mounts be used... Sort of like the big wallowing american cars in car chases from the 60's and 70's.... I'd suggest a frame or holder that allows about 2 or 3 inches of all around travel.... like screwing a bolt into the camera base, and then putting some soft foam into a plastic tube... and then slotting the bolt into the foam... so that all up and down and forwards / backwards frame shake is isolated from the camera. Really sloppy gooey long travel mounts.....

suggsugg (author)2008-04-29

nice instructable, good idea. I have the same camera too, it great

poobajones (author)suggsugg2008-05-07

me too

2strandtwizt (author)2008-05-03

Great idea! I've thought about doing this with a video camera.

error404 (author)2008-04-30

nice idea, but me being the master of disaster I know if I left the tripod on the bars without the camera, I would end up taking an eye out on the vertical bolt. Just me trying to preempt my inevitable injury.

Mr. Rig It (author)2008-04-29

This gives me an idea for my quad

codykage (author)2008-04-29

great concept

jongscx (author)2008-04-28

Hmmm... Idea! mod the camera or set it to take pictures every so often of your trip... Then play it back as a high frequency slideshow...

theRIAA (author)jongscx2008-04-28

use CHDK!!! i use it on my a620, it's better than a $500 camera now.

and great photography

BOMBOMBOMB (author)2008-04-28

congrats on such a wonderful instructable. It's simple yet useful. Ive never rated any instructables but this is a perfect way to film my films :P Nato

GorillazMiko (author)2008-04-28

AWESOME! Maybe if I can mod my video camera (it has no screw thing at the bottom) so I can put it in my bike. In the meantime though, I'll just use my digital camera. +1 vote. +1 rating.

joejoerowley (author)2008-04-28

Very Cool! Great Instructable!

leebryuk (author)2008-04-28

Nice job. The scenery suspiciously looks a lot like Tampa and some of it's trails. One side benefit is safety. If someone buzzes you, catch up to them at the light and take a picture of their license plate and occupants. They get pretty nervous. Don't be shy about calling the police either. These people degrade the quality of life in a city. They need to be taught better before they hurt or kill someone.

Cthulku (author)2008-04-28

Neat! A friend of mine used a similar setup to make a video of his bike commute through downtown Shanghai. Completely nuts! I may need to try this though.

LinuxH4x0r (author)2008-04-28

Cool! very useful. Too bad it won't hold my slr

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