Totally Not Knit: DIY Bike Panniers
Posted by Amber on April 17, 2011
Hi anyone who still has me listed on bloglines/ google reader/etc! Wow, a year since I last posted. Not that I don’t knit, I just don’t write about it so much. Ravelry totally killed plain project blogs, eh?
Anyhow, with gas inching toward $4/gallon, I’m trying to ride my bike more – but I get soooo hot carrying a backpack (it’s 10 miles each way to work!), but store bought panniers are easily $100. I looked at Etsy, and there’s some really pretty handmade ones — still $100. While looking around for anything cheaper, I ran across a pretty cool website – instructables.com. Little DIY tutorials. I read a bunch of them on panniers, and decided to sacrifice some old bags I had sitting around.
First, I went to Home Depot and picked up supplies:
You’ll need: 1. A polycarbonate (plexiglass/acrylic) sheet – I went with Lexan because it’s shatter resistant, and the strongest for that thickness – it was about $17, and the most expensive part of the project. 2. A 2-pack of d-ring picture frame hangers – about $2. 3. Optional – Cap nuts for the backs of the screws – or regular screws and nuts, about 1/2 inch long – about 50 cents each. 4. Carabiners (2/bag) – 99 cents each.
First, measure your bag and cut the polycarbonate sheet to size.
I used one piece for the bottom to help the bag keep it’s shape, and one piece about 4 inches tall by the length of the bag (in my case, about 17 inches) as a backplate. Mark the spot where you’ll be drilling holes (about 2.5 inches in from the side of each). I drilled 5 sets of holes – two for the hangers, and 3 which I then used a needle and thread to sew the backplate to the bag.
Carefully drill the holes.
Now, get your bag ready – I used potato nails to punch holes in the bag spaced for the picture hanger.
Now, secure the hanger to the bag – punch the screw through the bag and then through the backplate. Secure a nut against the plastic back:
I used really long screws (1 inch), if (WHEN!) I make these again, I’ll use shorter screws, probably only a half inch. I used regular nuts to secure the screw, but if you’re worried about the screw snagging your stuff in the bag, you could use “cap nuts” as shown above. I wasn’t sure what they were called when I was picking up supplies. In this case, the backplate goes over a zipper – it was broken anyway.
Finally, use carabiners to secure the bag to the bike rack:
That’s it! $20 worth of materials (since I had the 2 old bags hanging out).