Monday, August 23, 2004
Build Your Own Panniers: Part I
U.S. Plastics square pails, hence forth known as Buckets of Doom and Arkel's Hook System.
The reason I wanted to build these panniers was because I wanted to get into bicycle touring as well as ministry. I'm a tinkerer and I love building things. For instance, I built my own water cooled computer. Also, as a graduate student I didn't have $150 to buy a set of panniers. So, I decided to build my own.
Here were my requirements:
- Build a set of panniers that can serve at least 2 or more purposes while touring
- Use an attachment system that is very strong and will not fall of even when partially unhooked.
- Highly visible
- Huge storage space(at least 2500 cubic inches)
- Water proof
- Less than $50
- Adequate heal clearance
A tall task, but like the A-Team, I had a plan. Scourer the internet to find anyone that had built their own panniers. I searched several backpacking websites for info on how to make your own backpacks. However, Since I did not know how to sew nor the proper equipment for sewing strong materials like canvas I tossed the idea out the window. So, I posted messages on bike forums and was able to get a few links their. I saw a couple design I liked. These were guys that made ridged panniers out of square buckets!
Rubbermaid panniers on a recumbent.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Buckets!
The next task was finding square buckets. I went all over town: Wal-Mart, Lowes, and Home Depot. They all had buckets that were either too wide, not tall enough, not water proof, etc. I went to K-mart and halleluia! They had a bucket that was about the right size and shape. There was no price so I had to go up front to the service desk. It took about 15 minutes for them to find a price but they did. $19.20 each!@#$%^&*() Wow! Just 2 of those and I would have almost blown my budget :( As Qui-Gon would say, "Another solution will present itself."
So, I went back home and googled for square buckets. Low and behold I came across U.S. Plastics with exactly the what I needed. 4 and 5 gallon square plastic buckets made from PolyE something or other! I ordered two. 9.98 for two buckets. 4.99 for two lids. Here's the link to the Buckets of Doom. Halleluia, Praise the lord.
The Attachment System
There was only one choice for attaching these Big Buckets of Doom to my rack: Arkel's Hook System! I've used Arkel's Utility Basket for grocery shopping and hauling books to class. I liked their hook system because is was very strong and wouldn't come loose even if the bungee was undone. So, I checked out their website to order just the hook system. Shock!! They had introduced their next generation hook system. Wow. This one is even stronger and fully adjustable! Much coolness!!!