DIY Bicycle Panniers

Written by andrea crist
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DIY Bicycle Panniers
You can make your own pannier out of an old canvas bag from an army surplus store. (Bicycle with travel bags image by fibena from

A bicycle may be an eco-friendly device, but it lacks the convenience of a car's luggage space. Bikers are now turning to more creative means and finding ways to carry their gear across town by making their own bike panniers. Panniers are available premade, but you can fashion your own out of an old bag from an army surplus store for a fraction of the cost.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Army surplus bag, canvas
  • 1/2-inch wooden dowel
  • Riveter
  • 1/2-inch rivets
  • Hole-punch
  • Leather straps
  • Ruler

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  1. 1

    Cut the dowel so that it fits along the top of the back wall of the bag.

  2. 2

    Measure 1 inch from each end of the dowel and mark it with a pencil. Lay the bag down with the back facing up. Lay the dowel on top of the bag an inch below the top of the bag.

  3. 3

    Punch four holes in the bag: one above and one below each 1-inch mark on the dowel. Place rivets in the holes to keep them from tearing once you insert the dowel.

  4. 4

    Run a leather strip through the 2 rivet holes on one end of the bag so that the 2 strings hang on the inside. Run a leather strip through the eyelets on the other side in the same fashion. Open the lid of the bag and lay the dowel between the leather strips. Tie each side to the dowel. Double-knot the ties to keep the dowel secured to the bag.

  5. 5

    Punch 2 holes that are 3 inches apart near the bottom of the back of the bag. Punch the rivets through each hole to place the eyelets. Run a leather strip through the eyelets so that the strings hang inside the bag.

  6. 6

    Open the lid of the bag and place it beside your bike rack. Pull the leather straps out of the sides of the bag and tie them to your bike rack securely. The dowel should be as closely tied to the bike rack as possible. Secure the bottom leather straps to the bottom of the bike rack where it reaches the centre of your rear wheel. Tie the knots tightly inside the bag so that the strings will not interfere with the rear wheel.

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