Sunday, January 10, 2016

Pannier Repair, Camping Kit Additions, and Looking Ahead

Flimsy pannier hooks slowly uncurling under repeated use.
Winter is when I tend to catch up on projects in general, and so I finally got around to updating my newer panniers. Two years ago when I toured on GAPCO, I noticed the inexpensive panniers' single flaw: the hooks are cheaply made. Still, I continued to use the panniers on more bike overnights, but when the bags were stressed by adding wine bottles to an already full load while touring in Quebec, it became apparent that I should replace the hardware before I set out on any adventure in 2016.

My husband and I collect bike parts, knowing there will be a use, someday, on our own fleet, if not to fix something on our children's bicycles. So, when panniers eventually fail, we also strip the hardware and put the parts away for any future repair. Such was my luck when I eventually found a tuna can—my husband's idea of storage—filled with four beefy, lightweight hooks.

I removed each nut and washer on inside of pannier then located longer screws to fit the lock nut.

I love this simple awl, acquired from my grandfather's tool collection. It gives me great pleasure, knowing his hands touched the tool and, from years repairing his own bicycles, has burnished the wooden handle.
I am learning to keep a couple used tubes on hand because they have many uses. In this instance I cut four to encase each aluminum hook, which will protect the bike rack from scratches. Afterward, I punched each hook with an awl to allow longer screws to fit the opening plus accommodate the much thicker and stronger hooks.

Now my panniers are all set for any upcoming tours.

Santa stuffed my Christmas stocking with outdoor items, primarily socks, but also with a nice lightweight bowl and plastic wine glass. I wonder if Santa knew I'd been using a waterbottle cap for nightcaps on camping trips. Both items will come in handy, especially if I head back to the Canadian vineyard region later this year.

This time of year I start thinking about vacation possibilities so I have something to look forward to. I'd like to return to Acadia National Park again. My husband's dropping hints of returning to ride the C& O Canal. And, I'm pondering local bike overnight destinations, something that I've grown to love for their easy preparation and ability to leave when the weather is fine. Plus, I can't beat a bike overnight for a rejuvenating mini-vacation. Just pack the bags and hit the road.


  1. What a great project. I have a couple of bags that would work much better if they were just modified in some fairly modest ways. Unfortunately, I am not handy enough to take on these projects myself. Your post makes me think it might be worthwhile to find a cobbler or luggage repair shop (or a friend with skills better than my own) to make these bags more serviceable.

    1. If you are partial to certain items it's always worth investigating whether they can be fixed. If you haven't noticed, I also tend to do this with bicycles-probably why all of mine are 30 years old!

  2. Nice fix on the pannier.

    I've been doing more overnight trips in recent years. It is an easy way to recharge with minimal planning.

    1. I certainly agree regarding bike overnights. To keep myself organized, I have a duffel bag filled with pillow, sleeping bag and ground pad plus a mesh bag filled with stove, pots, matches, etc. so with minimal effort I can make those overnights happen. This year I plan to introduce a friend to touring.

  3. I have the same exact panniers with the same problem-flimsy hooks. Now I have a step-by-step guide on how to fix them, many thanks Annie :)

    1. You're welcome. Perhaps you'll be able to find hooks, ore order some online. The nuts and screws come apart fairly easily.

      I am now following your blog (I link to you on my sidebar). You have quite the passion for winter riding!


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