Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Pimpin' My Ride || DIY panniers

I'm upping my street cred. 
I've wanted a bike for nearly as long as I've lived in Portland, OR. This is probably the most bike-friendly city in the United States, and I wanted to be part of the bike culture. With gas prices on the rise (again) and the built-in benefit of great exercise, it's a win-win to go by bike. 

About two months ago, my darling boyfriend bought a new bike for himself, and sweetly gave me his old commuter bike. I've been taking it out on longer and longer rides ("Getting my bike butt", he tells me) and I wanted to go beyond casual rides to start doing actual errands with it. Trouble is, I didn't have panniers (aka: bike bags) and I didn't want to shell out the cash when I could make 'em myself.

It rains here A LOT, so I needed something that would shed water and clean up easily. In my art supply stash, I had three castoff large vinyl advertising banners that would work perfectly for the project. I used this tutorial to make the bags, utilized a Teflon foot, Gutterman thread and a universal needle for the sewing. Knowing that the panniers would probably get both dirty and wet, I chose not to line them with fabric. After the inaugural ride this last Sunday where they were flapping around like Dumbo's ears, I also added Velcro strips to the bag flaps.

Right side exterior. The banner used for the flap was for a cruise ship giveaway.
Interior of right pannier. I added a pocket to hold my cell phone and wallet.
The bag strap also tucks in nicely. (I was on my way to the library. See my book?)
I love these little bags, and can't wait to go grocery shopping with them. I'm on the move!

I also made bike shorts awhile ago, and while you won't see a picture, I highly recommend Kwik Sew 1727.


  1. Check you OUT! This is great. Well done.

  2. I love these little bags! Congratulations!! They are really sharp!!!

  3. These are awesome! So funky and cool. I bet these would sell like hotcakes on etsy. Also it's a great Xmas idea.

  4. These are absolutely fantastic!! What an awesome idea... cute and useful. Could do with some myself, might just steal your idea :)