I know I am not the only one who has taken up more biking during this pandemic. Lucas is now my height or a smidgen taller, so he has been riding my old bike, and I decided to take the opportunity to treat myself to something new. After quite a bit of searching, I found this used bike that met all my criteria – most importantly, it is baby blue! And now that I am biking more for errands and outings, I wanted to add a saddle bag. I am working on some ideas for making something from scratch, but for now, I am really excited to have adapted an old tote bag I had!
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Bicycle rack – I’m lucky my used bike came with one
- Tote bag – mine is an old favorite from Stella and Dot that was getting worn out but is perfect for this use
- Scrap (5″ x 14″) strong material for making straps (I had leftover material from upholstering chair seats)
- Two 1 1/4″ D-rings
- Two carabiner clips
- Lightweight stiff sheet of plastic – I used an old report cover
- Basic sewing supplies
Here’s how to do it:
Make fabric loops to attach the D-rings to your bag:
- Fold the 5″ x 14″ fabric in half lengthwise, press, and then fold in the edges toward the center fold. Press again, and you will have a 1.25″-wide strap that is 4 thicknesses of fabric
- Cut in half, to make two 7″ straps
- Place a D-ring onto a strap and sew the short ends together
- Top-stitch along the two edges – a little tricky with the loop, but doable!
- Repeat for the second strap
- Here’s what they look like when done:
Place the loops with the D-rings about 1.5″ from the top of the bag and sew in place:
The plastic sheet will make the side of your bag more rigid, so it doesn’t interfere with the wheels of your bike.
Take the plastic sheet and mark the size and shape of your bag. The notches go around the place where I sewed on the loops:
Cut open the lining of the bag and fit the plastic sheet inside:
Sew the lining closed – I did this by hand:
Use the carabiners to attach the D-rings to your bike rack! I’m going to need to tuck the straps into the bag, so they don’t catch in the wheels. The straps are so beat up that I am considering cutting them off completely, but for now, I think I’ll keep them as an option for carrying the bag when I get to my destination.
Can’t wait to go out on my next ride with this cute addition!
Julie aka “Jewels”
Your ‘new’ bike is lovely, and is absolutely beautiful with your DIY pannier bag. I’ve done diy panniers almost exactly like you did (D-rings and caribiners), and it has really worked out well. I did them 2+ years ago, and they are still going. I predict you’ll get lots of mileage and compliments on yours.
Thanks! I’m glad to hear yours worked out well. Looking forward to a test ride soon!