rackhackers first was only conceived as a platform to express our admiration of this idea that goes so well with everything we believe in.
The decision of producing the parts came later as we remembered the first time we wanted to make our panniers, and how difficult it was to figure it all out, trying to design it on the go, and going to hardware stores so many times after every change, testing, and redesigning. We felt we should try to make all that easier for people, so the rackhackers company was set up to provide the necessary infrastructure.
Operations are taken care of by Andras and Tuna, brothers based in Oradea, Romania.
Aspects related to visual communication, aesthetics and creation are directed by Agnes Ritli (Nurnberg, Germany). https://www.agnesritli.de/
We work with several individual entrepreneurs and small businesses in Oradea, and source our materials from within Romania or countries close by, where available.
The short story:
It started in summer of 2012 in Santiago, Chile, at the beginning of a bicycle trip southbound. We have already finished building bikes, but we were still short of panniers. The pressure of time already started to kick in because autumn arrives early on Carretera Austral - something not particularly bad to experience, but we still tried to opt for riding there in the summer. Then Nati (photo below), brought up the idea of making panniers from plastic cans. I don’t know how many seconds it took me to reject that ridiculous idea, not many… it seemed way too sketchy. I quickly disregarded years of hippie bikepacking experience with an engineer’s arrogance. Luckily, she insisted on how she saw that work and it works pretty well, and thanks to that, the group decision was made to overcome our anxiety to leave on the trip already, and started looking for plastic cans.
In the end, the panniers turned out even better than expected, and we kept using it on other long trips, and later for urban transport. Looking back at all the doubts we had about them, we felt the social responsibility to spread the word. (Andras)