How to Make DIY Pannier Bags for your Bike
I’m sure you know by now about the love affair I have with my bike. (See Exhibits A, B, and C for starters.) It’s the Pure City Crosby Bike and it’s the perfect everything — color, ride, size, shape. She was getting a little antsy for an adventure so we decided to take her to the beach, but I had the idea to deck her out ahead of time with some pretty pannier bags so that we could carry all of our beach gear on the back rack. This turned out to be maybe one of my favorite projects ever. It turned out to be simple to make while giving you a lot of bang for your DIY buck. The bags look great, they’re functional and sturdy, and you can use them at the beach or anywhere. Here’s how to make DIY pannier bags for your bike!
What are pannier bags?
First of all, in case you’re not in the know, pannier bags are similar to saddle bags. However, instead of being slung over a horse’s rear end you sling them over the back of a bicycle or motorcycle. They’re firmly attached so that they don’t shift during riding, and you can fill them with all of your belongings so that they are safely contained. Case in point: I was riding my bike once and had my (really expensive) camera in the front basket. I hit a hard bump and the camera went flying, landing in the gutter. I was shocked and my camera was busted. Probably should have had that baby in these pannier bags!
How to Make DIY Pannier Bags for Your Bike
- 2 bags – any bag from a sturdy material will work; the ones we used are out of stock but there are similar ones here
- 2 wood squares that will fit inside and against the back of your bag (find them at a craft store)
- bungee cords
- lashing hooks
- screws (2 packs of 8 – this package will come with the nuts you need as well)
- flat washers
- crescent wrench
- phillips screwdriver
- drill with 1/8″ drill bit (this kit is actually pretty cool if you’re a weekend maker and need to get your tool collection started)
Make Time: 1 Hour
DIY Pannier Bike Bag Tutorial
Drill three holes in each wood square — two on either edge of one side, and another one at the bottom center of the opposite side.
Insert the wood square either into the back inside pocket of your bag (if it has a back pocket), or hold it against the inside back of the bag. Use an awl to poke from inside the bag, through each hole in the wood, and also through the outside of the bag. Be sure to keep the wood in place while you are making your holes so that they are all aligned. Remove the wood and use the awl to enlarge the holes so that they’re large enough to slip a screw through.
Slip a screw through a plastic hook for one hole. Do the same for the other two holes also. Put the wood back in the bag aligned with the holes. Entering from the outside of the bag, insert a screw through the first hole. The hook will remain on the outside of the bag. Insert the screw until it pierces both the bag and the wood. On the open end of the screw, place a washer and a nut. Tighten the nut using the screwdriver and wrench. Repeat for all holes in each bag. The top two hooks will be placed with the rounded hook portion on top, and the bottom hook will have the rounded portion on the bottom.
Use a hammer to break away the orange ball on two of your bungee tarp ties (maybe the most satisfying part!).
Affix the bags to your bike! The top two hooks go over the top of the rack. Then hook a bungee around the bottom hook, down and through the bottom hole in the rack, back up and onto the same hook. Your bags are done!
If you want to make a bonus towel holder, you’re almost finished. First, cut off the straps from one of the purses.
Cut two 11″ sections from the strap, while trying not to include any buckles or holes.
Use the awl to puncture a hole on either end of each strap, approximately 3/4″ from the end.
Use the same technique from Step 3 to affix a hook into each hole.
Roll and place your towel on top of the back rack. Hook one strap over each end of the towel. You’re ready to roll!
Maybe one of the coolest things about the project is that one bag that still has its strap, so you can tuck the strap inside while you travel and also unhook the bag and use it as a purse! Just pull the strap out and tuck the bungee cord inside while you’re walking around. Then you can also reattach it when you’re ready to roll. This was such a fun one to make (and use!), so I hope you try it — now that you know how to make DIY pannier bags for your bike. See ya at the beach! xoxo
Product for this post graciously provided by Pure Cycles.