Tuesday, September 6, 2011

$4 Grocery Paniers for Your Bike

One of the easiest trips that people can make by bike, is to the grocery store. With the use of reusable bags, people can typically get out of a simple grocery trip with 2 bags of stuff. Without store bought paniers, it can be difficult and dangerous to transport these groceries by bicycle. Below is a cheap and easy way to make homemade paniers to help on these short trips.

The materials are really simple:
  • 2 reusable grocery bags
  • 1/4" thick 2'x4' piece of masonite (or "hardboard" at Home Depot; same stuff used for clipboards)
  • 1 bungee cord
You can find the reusable bags at many places now, but possible places include Publix, Target, Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, Meijer, Walmart, Kroger, and Ikea. They also make insulated ones which would be great for refrigerated items.

Tip: You can get a piece of the wood deeply discounted if you look for one that's damaged.

Cut some of the wood to fit into the bags:

Staple the wood inside the bags to keep them in place.

Then cut two of the handles in the middle:

Sew the bags together:

Then, throw them over your bike rack!

Use a bungee to keep them in place, and voila! You have lightweight panniers that fold down flat and that you can take into the store with you!

Sure beats paying $50+ for ones from the bike shop. You could probably make them even stronger by double-bagging, since by now all of us probably have about 12 of these give-away canvas bags piled up in our closets.


  1. But how about the heel strike?
    The lower front corners of the bags should be behind the seat stays. If you put them that far back or tilted then the rear lower corner of the bags are not unsupported and they swing left/right, they might touch the tyre or even get in the spokes.
    No problem if your home is always downhill your favorite stores though :)

  2. These are a GREAT Idea. Thanks.