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Old 11-20-05, 10:09 PM   #1
v1nce
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Hey,

I did some searches on BF but came up dry.... I once met this guy who had constructed some really
great bike "bags"/panniers from plastic jerry cans or vats and attached them to his back
rack. He was a serious cyclist with a very high end bike.

On the internet i did find this variation which might be even better as the buckets (rather than Jerry cans are even stronger plus rigid and hence can serve more purposes) :

http://www.bicycletouring101.com/BikeDIYPanniers.htm

I thought it was a great idea because:

1. As Waterproof as any expensive Ortlieb or Vaude and possibly just as durable (no damage
from rolling up any fabric).
2. Supercheap or Free, just ask a fast food joint or maybe gas station for surplus jerry
cans. Quite some have no deposit and are thrown out.
3. Some impact resistence for your goods stored within unlike with soft Ortliebs or such.
4. Plastic Jerrycans come in lots grades, colors and sizes, quite some are deep and slightly narrow,
just like Ortliebs. All are strong enough to carry pretty heavy loads (liquids). The most predominant color
is slightly translucent white which is great for locating your gear easily, even in somewhat dim light.
5. They can be made into saddle bags too with a little ingenuity
6. Look sort off cheap hence less attractive to potential thieves than high end store bought panniers.
7. They work great with a bike trailer too.

The guy i saw had 2 of them which meant he had altered 4 jerrycans. He simply cut of the top
1/6 th portion of two and the bottom 2/6 th (all approximately) portion of the other two.
The top portions slid over bottom portions and served as lids and were secured, i forget how exactly. Maybe velcro or rubber straps.

So my questions:

Anyone seen or done this? Pictures would be great!

Any ideas on a solid securing system (both for lid and to racks)

Ideas on getting a real nice and straight cut all the way around the Jerrycan? Maybe Jokari knive or
something similair.

Other ideas and suggestions?

Last edited by v1nce; 11-20-05 at 10:28 PM.
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Old 11-20-05, 11:44 PM   #2
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I've got a pair of panniers I made from plastic 4-gallon buckets as pictured in your left photo; I use them to carry organic garbage to the composting dropoff across town. I'm using Arkel's attachment system, which is the best I've seen and is available as a kit for $24 - I priced out bits at the hardware store to make my own attachment system, and was so close to $24 for a design I wasn't sure would work well that I decided it was well worth spending a little more to get a proven design. I had to trim the plastic on the back of the buckets slightly with a carpet knife to get the bracket to sit flush; the rest of the installation went very smoothly - I just drilled holes where appropriate to attach the mountign bracket and bolted it on, with large washers on the inside of the bucket to prevent the bolt heads from tearing through under load . I use a piece of nylon webbing to secure the strap at the bottom of the bucket and reduce swinging while they're mounted. I have not yet attached to lid permanently, but if you wanted to anchor it to the bucket, you could easily use another length of webbing and a couple of bolts to do so.

I like them quite a bit. They're very stable, they form a large platform when attached (since I built them so that the lids are roughly the same height as the rack itself), and they're watertight, or very very close to it - tight enough, anyway, that I can keep a week's worth of garbage in them and I can't smell it Plus, whatever they're made of (PVC?) is impervious enough that I can clean them with bleach and boiling water without damaging them, and no odor or stain lingers - so I can use them for other things if I so desire even after using them for garbage hauling.

Photos tomorrow, if you want them.
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Old 11-21-05, 12:11 AM   #3
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@ Brokenrobot

Hey thanks very much for that exceptionally usefull info!

I would love some photos!

Couple more things i was wondering:

1. So you are happy with the Arkel? Is it really strong/full proof system? It looks real good but i wondered if the Alu would hold up to a lot of punishment and flex. How many Kilos of compost would you say the Arkel has to hold on average?

2. I am not quite sure what you mean about trimming the back? Photo maybe?

3. So do you do Atkins? Was just wondering because of the Splenda. How do you like that Splenda stuff? I would love to try some but is a little hard to get here.

4. How come you drop of your compost? No space at home for (vermi)composting?Coincidentally i am reading the 'Humanure Handbook' it is really great. For the more common DIY composting that doesn't involve human waste i have found there are real excellent on-line resources. I have yet to try it but the small and clean vermi-composting unit (that sits on your kitchen counter!) i have read about somewhere sounds very convenient and nice.

Thanks!
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Old 11-21-05, 06:51 PM   #4
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Some folks here in Olympia are marketing these modified bucket panniers - see quite a few of them around here.
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Old 11-21-05, 07:28 PM   #5
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Friend of mine used small oval shaped bathroom trash cans for nice panniers. His wife was great at making some cloth covers for them and they really worked well. They were very simple, but very sturdy.
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Old 11-22-05, 11:43 AM   #6
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the trash cans are a great idea maybe you cancolor cordinate to your ride. the fabric from those lawn chairs that fold up or even the bag they are stored in isgreat cover material with some lightweight stiffner and velcro i think this would look less weird than the cat litter buckets. i suppose you could camo paint them and no one will see them just some ideas let us know what you come up with.
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Old 11-22-05, 11:49 AM   #7
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Rixen and Kaul are another mounting system used by plenty of pannier manufacturers.
You rivet or bolt a length of Al extrusuion to the outside of your box, (with some supporting Al strip on the inside) and slide the hooks onto the extrusion. Usually you use 2 hooks but can easily add more to suit and you can move them to reposition the box on your rack.
The lower anti-sway hook uses a length of plastic rivetted on with a sliding hook.
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Old 11-22-05, 05:12 PM   #8
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Rixen and Kaul seems hard to get. I searched around online and come up with only European sources not in English. Where can someone go and buy them in the US?
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Old 11-22-05, 10:16 PM   #9
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OK. So, here's my kitty-litter pannier. I did have to drill new holes in the horizontal aluminum part to attach to the bucket; the original holes were too close to the corners of the bucket, and would not have allowed me to use washers to reinforce on the inside. You can see one of teh original holes at the upper left corner of the photo. A good drill bit will go right through the Arkel's aluminum, so drilling new holes is really easy - just be sure to drill guide holes first; it's a lot easier to keep a small bit centered in the channel you need to drill in than a larger one! I added the red nylon webbing after the first ride, and it vastly improved stability by reducing the bucket's tendency to swing out while going over bumps. Heat a nail or something similar until it's red hot, and use it to punch holes in the webbing to put the bolts; if you just cut a hole, it'll unravel really fast.

I didn't take a photo of the inside of the bucket, but each screw hole was reinforced with a large washer similar to those show attaching the webbing. All nuts and washers are stainless steel, which helps keep them from rusting as a result of my garbage-hauling. If you use locknuts with nylon inserts, you won't have to worry about things rattling loose.

If you look closely at the photo, you can see there's a horizontal ridge of plastic just below the horizontal part of the Arkel system. The buckets I used had several ridges like that, which add to the rigidity of the bucket; I had to trim one down flush to the side of the bucket in order to attach the mount. You may be able to find a bucket that doesn't require modification, but I wanted to use the ones I rescued from my neighbor's trash.

Total cost per pannier was about $12 - $20 for a pair of mounts, $0.50 for a yard of nylon webbing, and $3 in nuts and bolts. I'm pretty happy with them, and am totally comfortable leaving them on the bike around the city, where I think more normal-looking panniers would get stolen. Nobody looks twice at these. And if you felt like personalizing yours, the plastic these are made of takes spraypainting really well; I know somebody who paints them in bright colors and grows window gardens in them.

As far as maximum load: I carried 4 gallons of water in one of them on a bet not long ago; that's just short of 34 pounds. They originally contained 33 lbs of kitty litter each, so the original handles are clearly built to take that load as well. In any event, I suspect my rack would give out well before these panniers, if I had them both filled to capacity.

No, no Atkins; I'm trying to quit both beer and soda, and find that a good substitute is lemonade sweetened with Splenda. So that's my main use of it.

I can't compost at home for space reasons; I live in a really, really tiny studio apartment. I've read about vermicomposting indoors, but I understand that you can pretty much expect to suffer from fruit flies, and I just can't cope with flying insects indoors - so taking my stuff someplace else is my best option. I had a surprisingly hard time finding somebody who would take my garbage and compost it in the city: plenty of community gardens compost, but very few will let non-members deposit vegetable garbage. None of the gardens near me compost, and I wasn't interested in joining (and paying dues at) a garden far away just for garbage disposal. I eventually found a city-sponsored program elsewhere in the city, and I make the journey once a week... Luckily, drop-off is at a really nice farmer's market, so that's two birds with one stone!
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Old 11-23-05, 06:26 AM   #10
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@ Broken Robot: all is revealed! That is very helpfull, thanks very much! It makes a lot of sense now and i am sure to make a pair before next summer as i was planning a bike tour. I really dig them, great job. Did you ever you use them for (extensive) touring?

As for packing in Beer and Soda. If i haven't been able to crack that last one myself. I did do Atkins for 10 weeks and lost 10 Kilos. I would love to try the Splenda lemonade, maybe i will order some of that stuff.

You seem to have your compost thing sussed. But just in case you ever did want to compost at home, i think there are ways of doing the vermi thing without fruitflies (i Hate! fruit flies) i think it is a matter of adding sawdust as covering/in between the layers and having a good bin. I hear with the worms the pile shrinks so remarkably fast that it is no problem, the compost that is left is not much of it but really high grade. But this is all hearsay.

Too bad it was so hard to find somebody to take your compost, the world really would be a better/cleaner place if composting was more prevalent. Just a suggestion but maybe there is an enthousiastic gardener living close by, many of them pay a lot of cash for good compost and the can always use some. Maybe you could even work out a fruit/veg for compost trade with one. Of course if you like making the trip it is all moot.
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Old 08-08-08, 08:07 PM   #11
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This is a great idea. Do you think these would fit on a front rack?
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