Having been put off by the price of commercial bike panniers (you can easily spend £40!!!), I decided to go about making my own. I wanted something removable, and well secured (the streets of London have rather a lot of holes in them).
The other day I went past an army surplus store, and found a small bag that was perfect for the task! It is rather small (too small for a laptop), but perfect for a change of clothes, and some lunch. It also had quite a few hooks and rings which made it perfect for attaching to a bike.
This instructable has been inspired by all of the other main pannier instructables. I would like to think of it as a 'best of', and as such claim no originality.
On we go.....
Step 1: Materials
- Suitable bag. Army surplus bags are great for this as they are tough, and usually have a load of rings. Mine was a tenner, can't beat that!
- Bungee cord. I got a pack of 5 x 90cm (just under 3ft) for £9.99 from a local hardware store. You can probably find them cheaper, try eBay.
- Ring from a keyring (the metal bit keys go on). Free from an old keyring.
Step 2: Preparing the Bag
Depending on your bag, you may want to line it to prevent the stuff inside from getting wet. Mine comes with a lining, so I'm going to risk it and leave it as is. YMMV.
Also regarding straps (we still want to use this as a bag), find a way to tuck them away. I tucked mine between my shoes in the side pocket!
Step 3: Threading the Bungee Cord
Next up you need to thread the bungee cord. It needs to go down, across, and up (see second picture). I found the easiest way to get the metal hooks through the loops was to push the hook bit through first, then the metal attachy bit. Sounds confusing? Yep. My loops are quite small, and you can only just get the hooks through.
I decided to loop the bungee hooks through the top strap hooks of my bag. This meant that the bag didn't slide down the bungee cord when attached to the bike.
Once you have got it threaded through move onto the next step.
Step 4: Sizing Up
Next up you need to size the cord against your rack. Attach the bungee loops to the rack, and then pull the bottom it of the cord down and attach it over whatever you are going to secure the cord to at the bottom of the rack (i.e. the rack mounting bolt). Then, pull one of the ends of bungee cord (leaving the loop in place), until the cord between the bag and the bike is REALLY tight. At this point, make a thread through loop (knots in bungee cords are really easy to get out) and continue. By 'REALLY' tight, I mean loose enough so that you can easily remove / attach the cord to the bike, but tight enough that it won't easily come off while riding.
This is also a good point to make sure that you have secured the bungee cord to the bag in a good way. You want the bag to be loosely attached / threaded to the bungee cord.
Finally undo the loop, and cut the end off. Keep the end bit as you'll need it later.
Step 5: Threading the Loop
Next you need to thread the loop onto the cord. I don't think this really needs to be explained how to do. Regarding why, I suspect the bungee cord would eventually wear down being in contact with a sharpish point, this will prevent that.
Once you have got the loop on, thread the cord back up, and tie a tight knot in the end.
Step 6: The Spare Bit
Regarding the spare bit of cord, I decided to use this to add a bit to the loop to pull on to make it easier to attach / detach it from the bike. Just tie it onto the loop. Make sure it isn't too long (you'll probably want to trim it down), so that it doesn't get caught in the wheel.
Oh, and did I mention we are done?
Step 7: Attaching to Your Rack
Really easy, bungee hooks go over the rack. Then pull down the loop, and attach it onto something at the bottom of the rack. On my bike there is a nut on the attaching bolt between the rack and the frame, so this was a no brainer place to attach it!