Friday, January 8, 2010

Bike Pack Hack

Panniers are something new to me. I used to ride with my shoulder bag and thought nothing of it. My new bike is wonderfully designed to accommodate any set of panniers and I have been taking full advantage. Now it is a rare circumstance when I don't take them with me on a ride. I often chastise myself for only taking one bag, because I suddenly see a great ground score item, or end up riding past the grocery store.

I did encounter one small problem with the panniers though. They kept sliding back towards the rear of the bike because the lock latch on the bottom was only good for one direction (forward). I used a set of cheap, dollar store bungees for a long time. With the rear wood deck, its a good idea to keep a set of bungees handy anyways. I finally came across a more permanent solution.

The clip inserts provided by the Pannier manufacturer were too small and could not fit around the bike's thick rails. Bike shops could not help either, except for one that had something similar for $15 a pop. I was determined to do better and cheaper.

The local hardware store came to the rescue. After drawing out what I needed on some paper, I scoured the small hardware drawers for like-shaped items and came up with a rubber hose clamp, stainless steel bolt and accompanying wing nut. Total cost: $2.80. They work like a charm too. Tight fit, low profile and easily removable.

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