D.I.Y. Pannier – Or – How I Spent No Money & Learned To Love Cable Ties

Since the weather and fishing have both been cold recently, it’s time for another bike-centric post. Tomorrow I am riding to work and my goal tonight was to get the derailers adjusted to where I could use all the rear sprockets in tandem with my middle front sprocket. The problem with these adjustments, I’ve found, is that you can’t really do it with the bike just leaning against the wall. You have to be pedaling it, but if you’re riding it you can’t really pay close enough attention to diagnose where the problem is. I needed a stand, but, yeah, I don’t have a fucking stand for working on my bike. I do, however, have a long length of rope and a garage door, so, problem solved.

This is my idea of a bike stand.

So, with it on the “stand” I was able to fiddle with it to where it was shifting up and down fine on the rear cluster, so as long as my dumbass doesn’t go fucking with the front derailer tomorrow, I should be ok on that front.

Next up…I wanted to come up with a more elegant solution to carrying shit than a the goddamn plastic Target bag that opened up and sent my socks and poo-poo undies into the wind on my ride home Tuesday night. The new duffel bag we have is way too big, but, my old tackle bag, which has just been laying around in the garage collecting dust, seemed like it would make a nice saddlebag.

Now, since I don’t yet have a nice rear rack with brackets running down the side, I needed something to prevent the bag from bouncing into the spokes once it has a load in it. That was simple enough. An old plastic hanger.

I went with a magenta-colored hanger because it is sexy looking.

After this picture was taken, I added a piece of stiff metal wire running from the unsecured point of the hanger up to the back of the rack just as added support.

Then, mounting the old Chattahoochie Chomper was just a matter of poking some holes in the bag and fastening with my new favorite piece of D.I.Y. gear – the cable tie. I have absolutely no recollection of where I got the bag of cable ties I have been using, but thank fuck I got them, because they are proving invaluable with the bike. It ain’t pretty, it’s only going to be removable by cutting it off and we’ll see how she rides under a full load in real world conditions, but considering the $0.00 cost and 30 minute time investment, I am pretty happy with the results.

It looks real decent here when it was hanging loose.

Completed look, after cinching it down, fastening it on the sides and bottom and throwing my tools in.

Buoyed by the “success” of that project, I decided it was time to mount the speaker I have been using for my iPod somewhere a little more efficient than on the bungee cords on the rear rack behind my ass where I could never hear the music.


The speaker housing has two hooks on the back that were originally for a purse-like strap to carry it by. I fastened those two spots to the flat portion of the bar next to the brakes. Then I loosely put a cable tie on the the perpendicular portion of the headset that the bar mounts on, as there is also a convenient velcro belt-loop on the back of the speaker (I utilized this belt loop for my Bananaphone Halloween costume) and then velcroed that loop through the cable tie. Tightened up everything, cut em off and now I have a speaker right in front of me, where I can actually hear it.

Speaking of which, for reasons unbeknownst to me, I have been listening to Sunny Day Real Estate’s “Diary” while I typed this up. Someone, for the love of god, text or tweet me sometime around 7 AM with a reminder to put this album on my iPod, so I can listen to it on my ride. This was always a great cold weather album for me for some reason.

Which brings me to my last, but certainly not  least, point. The cold. The WGN Weather App is saying it is going to be 34 in the morning when I leave. With wind and speed, that feels way fucking colder. So I asked my wife for a favor. I asked her to knit me a rectangle that I could wear under my helmet over my ears. My regular winter hats are way too chunky to fit under my helmet, and I can’t do a scarf because it makes my breath fog up my glasses. My loving wife, the talented knitter she is, knitted me up a damn fine rectangle in like 10 minutes, so now I will have warm ears tomorrow morning.

Plus, the thing kind of makes me look like Pipi Longstocking, which makes me think of this:

Ok. It is fucking late. I have to be up in 5 and a half hours for this ride, so, I am going to slam the rest of this Jack Daniels, hit the sack and then go to bed.

Tight lines, everyone.


About Anthony

Husband of one, father of one. Two cats, one dog, a bike, and some fishing poles. I do nothing well.
This entry was posted in WANNA RIDE BIKES?!?!. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to D.I.Y. Pannier – Or – How I Spent No Money & Learned To Love Cable Ties

  1. That hanger idea is really good. Cable ties and zip ties are cheap and awesome at everything (((LIKE YOUR MOM))).

    Planet Bike rear racks are really cheap ($25-$30 but be careful, these are “SIZE: FALSE” http://www.amazon.com/Planet-Bike-Oversized-Aluminum-Pre-installed/dp/B000RYAKRM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1334233956&sr=8-1) and will make a HUGE difference in comparison to those clip-on seatpost racks. That might be my first upgrade suggestion.

    My personal kludgy hack tip is to hold on to every spare tube you wind up with from flats. I hacked one to fit my light onto my rack (hard to explain) and always have one handy to lash my U-locks to my rack as well. They also make fantastic shoelaces (turn ur shoes into slip-ons). Seems pointless to landfill a bunch of rubber when it comes in surprisingly handy.

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