The weather is warming up nicely and like so many others, I find myself daydreaming of long bike rides and picnics in the park. Of course, there are deadlines to be met and kung fu practices to be had so that daydream may just have to be put on the back burner for a bit! Luckily, I can still sneak in a few moments with my shiny new Columbia bicycle by using it to make quick trips to the corner grocery store. Definitely needed somewhere to put all the groceries so I made this super quick DIY Bike Pannier tutorial!
Before I get to the tutorial, I thought I would share a little bit more about the history of Columbia and the specifics on my particular bike, the Hampton 26″ Multi Speed Cruiser. As the first US distributor of bicycles, Columbia “rolled” onto the scene in 1877. With ties to the newly emerging car industry (Alexander Pope, Columbia’s founder, was a car manufacturing mentor for Henry Ford), Columbia bikes quickly became best-sellers and would continue to stay popular into the 70’s. Who remembers the “banana” seat?!
Now that you’re familiar with the history of Columbia, let’s talk about the future! Columbia is back with bicycles that perfectly blend that vintage look we all love with modern day conveniences. My Hampton 26″ Multi Speed Cruiser comes with a hi-tensile steel frame and preferred Shimano 7-speed shifter & derailleur. That’s sure going to come in handy on some of these hills! My favorite parts about this bike are the little details like embossed saddle and hand grips, steel fenders, and the sturdy rear cargo rack. Love that the bicycle comes ready for a DIY Bike Pannier. Let’s get started!
DIY Bike Panniers
- Sturdy Canvas Bag
- Sew-In Hook & Loop Tape
- Sewing Machine and Supplies
Step One. First things first, find the bag you’ll be converting into a pannier. Canvas bags like this are often given at conventions and are easily found at thrift stores. You want to make sure that it’s sturdy enough to keep it’s shape to prevent it from interfering with the tire. I highly suggest you add a hard piece of cardboard or masonite to the base if it didn’t come with the bag.
Hold the bag up to the rear cargo rack and mark where the sew-in hook and loop should go. I’m adding four different loops for extra support.
Step Two. Cut 4 strips of both sides of the hook and loop tap measuring 4.75″ long. You might have to adjust this measurement if your rack is thinner. Overlap the coordinating pieces .75″ for a total length of 8.5″.
Step Three. Use straight pins to keep the hook & loop strips in place. Notice how I attached the strips to the side of the bag I wanted hidden. Nothing against parrots, just didn’t want them on my panniers!
Step Four. Attach the strips to your bag with a sewing machine. Make sure they’re nice and secure by sewing an X Box stitch at the intersection of both sides. Repeat until all strips are sewn in place.
Step Five. And you’re done! Told you it was easy, right? All that’s left to do is attach the hook and loop strips in place on your bike cargo rack!
Easy To Customize
One of my favorite things about this project (other than not having to carry my groceries on my back!) is that it can totally be customized to match your needs and style. You could even use an insulated bag if you plan on picking up frozen foods or have longer to travel. There are so many styles of bags, the options are almost endless!
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and a bit of background on the new/old Columbia bikes! You can find the Hampton 26″ Multi Speed Cruiser at Dick’s, Amazon, and Target. Be sure to check Toys R Us, Target, Amazon, Walmart and Dicks retailers where Columbia Bicycles can be found!