The New Hemp Pannier

Posted: October 22, 2010 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,
People have asking us for bicycle panniers for as long as we have been making bags.  I have avoided them for just as long.  After relying on 4 incredible Overland panniers for nine months in 1997, I have felt like making panniers was a lot like making a backpack that someone might use to hike the PCT – a lot goes into a good pack, and people put an enormous amount of trust into this kind of gear.

So I have been prototyping.  Michelle Wurlitzer asked for a pair of bags for her grand bike adventure, and we made her a pair.  They were really hard to make, and I wasn’t thrilled with how they turned out, nor excited about her taking them on a huge tour.  She has a credit for a new and improved pair when she comes back to town – she is our first team rider.

Having an event to prepare for - Wheeled Migration’s Bicycle Harvest  – is motivating me to get going to produce enough bike-related bags to do a show.  Ryan Laine called last night to see if we needed help sewing.  I told him “I don’t know what I am making, or how to make it yet, so probably not”.  

After 4 prototypes, I have something that we can produce and improve upon.  

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Here is the main panel of our new hemp pannier – it is basically a scaled up version of the toolbelts that we have been making. 
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A friend at the county fire department was glad to hear that we could recycle their old hose.  They had been dumpstering it, and were glad to see it re-used.  This is a piece of ‘LDH’ – large diameter hose.  It connects a fire truck to a hydrant, or stiffens a pannier so the bag won’t sway and hit your spokes. 
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Finding off-the-shelf hooks to attach the bag to the rack has been hard, and it isn’t really our style to buy hardware off the shelf.  I got some scrap metal plate cut, and am bending them by hand.  I was using brass, which looked beautiful, but it doesn’t seem worthy. 
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The mechanism.

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We love rivets, all kinds of them. 
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Collage.  Zipper scraps from one of Erika’s projects, Carhartt pantlegs, army shirt camo, and a little fire hose. I have a lot of these pieces from fiddling around over the last few months, so this project should use some of them up.
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These bags are meant to get a little shaggy.

 

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Zipper to nowhere.  The brass grommets are leftovers from the hemp’s previous life as a mondo German Army Duffel Bag.

 

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The lid is a challenge- it feels like the culmination of everything we have learned in the last few years.  Want something big enough to cover a bulging load, but not sloppy when the bag is closed.  It still needs some work.  Have been studying the construction on my old Overland bags – they really are works of art.  I feel humbled by all of the amazing Butte County bagmakers that have come before.  
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The hemp is fairly water resistant.   
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Took many hours.  Planning to make as many as I can by next weekend – they are a lot of work!

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Comments
  1. Maili NiQuaid says:

    These are fucking amazing, I love the character of your work as well as the ethos. How much would it cost me to kit my bike out with panniers, saddle and handlebars bags?* I can see it now all decked out in recycled hemp next to the reggae guy cycling down Rusholme in Manchester :D*Blessed be xx

  2. Zeeko Salvage says:

    Thanks!We have one pair of panniers left and I have a saddle bag that is ready to roll.We could do Panniers+saddle bag+handlebar bag for $450USD + shipping.We’d do the transaction through etsy.comZeeko

  3. Maili NiQuaid says:

    Hey,  Awesome stuff, I’m from the uk so thats like £277 (+p&p), I don’t know how much it’s going to cost you to ship it over the pond, plus all my bills have just gone out so i’m skint til next month. But I really want these bags so can we sort out a payment plan or are you willing to hold them to one side for me? thanks  Maili

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