Cargo Bike Guide – Camera Mounting Positions

This post explains some of the detail behind the various mounting positions shown in this video:

The positions are listed below in the order they appear in the video: starting from underneath and working our way upwards.

Low, Mid-Deck

This position works off the one of the Bullitt’s cross-bars, under the cargo deck.  To make it work, I’ve fabricated a custom deck out of 7mm plywood.  You can see two holes for camera mounts – the one closet to you is this position, the mid-deck position.  The similar hole at the front (just under the lock) is the next position.

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This position is great for a sense of speed and having the deck above provides a lot of visual context of the bike in action.

Low, Front-Deck

As shown in the photo above, this position is on the front cross-bar of the cargo deck.

This is one of my favorite camera positions as it provides and balances three things:

  1. It’s low so provides a good sense of speed.
  2. The front wheel is clearly visible which adds visual context of the bike.
  3. Provides good visibility of the view ahead – the wheel doesn’t overly obscure it.

Forks

This was a surprisingly interesting position.

Because it’s directly on the front forks, vibrations from the front wheel directly transfer to the camera – where as positions on the frame tend to be just that little bit more cushioned by the flex of the frame, and by being less directly affected by vibrations.

The front wheel provides a really interesting visual reference point, and stays very steady – but the view off the bike will be more shaky.

Front Frame

For this position simply using big rubber bungies gets the best results in terms of stability.  It’s high enough to provide a good view of the road ahead, whilst also being low enough to feel some speed.  The front wheel provides some visual context of the bike.

The issue with the Load 75 is that the lack of space between the panels and frame – the only you’d get a solid clip around the frame would be to remove or modify the panels.  The small hole in the frame (left photo) goes all the way through the frame and should be useful for mounting also.

Front of Load

This was the first position I ever tried.  Bascially I used cargo straps and bungies to mount the camera on top of the fish bins, at the front, to one side.

I like how the frame provides a good point of reference, as you get a feeling of how the bike is tipping whilst cornering.

Rear Deck

This position is at the top of the main frame, immediately below where the steering stem starts. This is probably the best position for “scenic” rides, where you want the viewer to get a good sense of the surroundings vs a sense of speed from some manic downhill.

You’ll need to be very careful of any cables, to ensure they don’t fowl on the camera – or obscure the camera’s field of view.

Note – in case you’re wondering, the bend on the brake cable was there already and isn’t because it’s up against the camera.

Head Set

This position is off the head set – i.e. where the frame accommodates the front forks.

On the Load 75, the shape of the frame is such that there’s enough frame to safely mount the camera using it’s bracket – without interfering with the very top part of the head set which turns with the forks.  On the Bullitt the clearance is slightly less but looks like it would work.

 

 

 

Quick Review: Riese & Müller, Load 75 e-Cargo Bike

Pepper has been invited to go to Auckland for a trade show, so I’ve been given a Riese & Müller, Load 75 e-Cargo Bike* to use in the interim.  So, time for a quick review.

(The bike shop didn’t actually say which model it is, and I’m assuming it’s a the Load 75.  For more info from R&M, see https://www.r-m.de/en-nz/models/load-75/).

Essentially the Load 75 is like the big comfy family car of cargo bikes – compared to the leaner Bullitt which feels more like a sports car.  The Load 75 is certainly a nice smooth ride, feels very stable and is a great option for anyone wanting relative convenience and comfort.

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Smooth Riding

The full suspension really helps smooth-out the ride, which is great for precious delicate cargo – such as the kids, electronics or fruit.

The other neat thing about this specific bike which enhances its smoothness is the Enviolo step-less hub.  Essentially there’s no perceptible steps between gears – because there aren’t any.  Changing the pedal-to-wheel ratio is easy – you simply twist the gear selection grip (which is the inner section of the handgrip) and the gearing increases/decreases as you like.  This shifting is perfectly continuous and smooth.  You can also change up or down whist still putting pressure on the pedals.   Because the gear selector is part of the handle it’s very safe in that you don’t really need to change your grip.

For more info, see: https://www.enviolo.com/en/automatic

Quick Comparison: Load 75 vs Bullitt

Please note, the baguette is not factory supplied.

  • Physicality: the Load 75 is longer, slightly wider, slightly heavier and feels larger.  The extra width may be an issue for anyone who needs to get through very narrow doors, or the more aggressive rider who likes to weave through traffic.
  • Ride: the Load 75 is a comfortable ride, whereas the Bullitt feels more racy.
  • Load carrying: the Load’s fixed side-frame cargo space is great for convenience but not as flexible as the fully open Bullitt.  The cargo space is longer and wider making it excellent for most scenarios, assuming a closed cargo space fits your needs.
  • Load Securing: The factory supplied side panels are nice and sturdy, but there’s an absence of gaps and holes useful for securing loads.  It does have some narrow slits useful for flat cargo straps.  Without side panels the frame would provide plenty of lashing points.

Security

The nature of the frame does not offer many anchoring points if you have a D-Lock.    The best option for securing to vertical posts is to loop through the small bracket that strengthens the seat post. However, the physicality of the bike is such that getting close enough to secure objects to lock the bike to is finickity.  The easiest method requires a post that is relatively freestanding as the protruding nature of the rear cargo deck frame will get in the way of anchoring points that are part of a flat wall.  This won’t be an issue if you don’t have the factory side panels attached, or if you cut suitable holes in the panels, or if you make custom ones with such gaps.

Alternatively you can position a D-Lock through the rear suspension arm and wheel.

Camera Mounting

One of the implications of the factory supplied panels is that there’s a dearth of mounting points for cameras.  I ended up lashing my camera to the front frame with bungies – which mostly worked ok.

Above, a slightly reserved descent in the wet, down through Brooklyn; below, some off-road single-track action.