A short while ago, while riding, I had a small heel strike and my pannier flew off the bike and onto the street, whereupon a semi truck obligingly ran over it. The two hooks that hang the pannier onto the rack have been squashed almost closed.
I tried spreading them open with a screwdriver, but couldn't get enough leverage. I tried a motorcycle tire iron. it would slip into the crack, but I couldn't get enough leverage to spread the metal hook open without tearing it from the cloth and plastic of the pannier itself.
Any mechanical geniuses know of some kind of spreader that might work?
Well I figured it out. I used two motorcycle tire irons and the screwdriver. I slipped one tire iron in the gap and then put the other one between the bag and the first iron and tapped things tight with a hammer. I spread them apart on the far end, and slid the screwdriver in sideways to act as a fulcrum and then squeezed the tire irons together on the far end which forced them to try to open on the end in the pannier hook.
Working gently and repeating this process of sliding the top one in and then the bottom one and then the screwdriver in sideways as close to the hook as I could get it, then squeezing, gave me the needed leverage.
Sometimes you just have to talk out a problem to get the solution.