Gearing Up

Making Panniers from Reusable Grocery Bags

Equipping your bike for grocery shopping doesn’t have to be expensive. With a pair of reusable grocery bags, a piece of stiff plastic, a sewing machine and a little know-how you can make your own panniers for about $5.

In March, the Mountain View Public Library kicked off their series of bike information events with a “Shop by Bike” workshop that combined a short discussion on how to get started shopping by bike with a bike craft: making grocery panniers. With a couple of reusable grocery bags and some snipping, stitching, gluing and tying, crafty folks went home with a pair of inexpensive but effective panniers. Pretty impressive for 30 minutes of work.

Finished Product

Here are the instructions from Emily, the librarian who lead the workshop and is spearheading the bike information series. The finished result fits almost any bike with a standard rear rack with a platform top and a supporting frame on both sides of the wheel.

Materials & Equipment

  • 2 reusable fabric grocery bags
  • 2 pieces of flexible but sturdy plastic, cut to fit upright inside the bags
  • Scissors, straight pins, tape measure or ruler (optional)
  • Sewing machine
  • Hot glue gun
  • 1 or 2 small bungee cords

Step by Step Instructions (click on photos for close-ups)

There are lots of suggestions for modifying or improving this project on this bike forum. Have you ever crafted your own bike panniers or bags? If so, how did you do it? Would you change anything in your design?

The Mountain View Public Library is participating in Bike to Shop Day 2014 by offering a free book bag to the first 50 people who show their library cards and helmets to the librarian on the second floor reference desk. Be sure to stop in at the library on May 17, 2014 and look for future bike information events in their series.

One thought on “Making Panniers from Reusable Grocery Bags

  1. Pingback: Bike to Everything! A Bike Month Calendar | Bike Fun with Dick and Janet

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