How tight is too tight?

I’ve seen so many loose bolts this past week, I can’t contain myself.  Broken racks and rattling fenders and spinning SPD cleats are no fun.  Tighten those bolts!

On the Dovetail Bikes Blog:

I’d guess that half of you have a loose bolt on their bike. Take a wrench to all the attachment bolts for racks, fenders, and water bottle cages and snug them up. Even if it’s not loose, give it a quarter turn to ensure that a big load or a rough road does not loosen them in the future…How tight is tight enough? An experienced mechanic says to me, “a quarter turn before you strip the threads”. With a hint of hyperbole, the answer is as tight as possible without damaging the frame…more from “Tighten Up!” on the Dovetail Blog.

Some developments are brewing at Dovetail, including a collaboration with Swift Industries for some super bike touring bags made by real people in Seattle, WA.  Wanna tour or commute “rack-lite”?  Coming soon!


A road diet

Little jewels in rugged country: raspberries along the Flathead River, B.C., Canada.

…I eat food; mostly normal food, and sometimes lots of food. While touring I enjoy a variety of foods from a mundane handful of salted peanuts and a swig of water to extravagant dinners cooked with friends over multiple stoves in the backcountry.  These meals are the best, as we share secret delicacies from our unpacked bags– chocolates, cheeses, cinnamon and cilantro….Everything I know about cooking and digestion and nutrition, I learned on the road.  More on the Dovetail Learn page…

Touring with a trailer

From his first tourer, a mid-nineties steel Rockhopper with Ritchey dropouts, to the latest ultralight sleep systems, Cass Gilbert has some experiences to share. While he traces dotted lines in the American southwest this winter with 29 inch wheels and lightweight Porcelain Rocket framebags, we caught a few moments to ask him about touring with a trailer over on the Dovetail page.

Perhaps the most useful aspect of a trailer is in its ability to easily transform any bicycle into a touring machine. If a day off on a bike trip includes chasing singletrack and local club rides, [a] trailer can be a good way to keep it simple, especially when racks are complicated as on a full-suspension mountain bike or a lightweight road bike. More at the Dovetail Learn Page…

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Dovetail Bicycles

For those that sleep out under the stars and buy reduced price ripe bananas because they’ll be eaten on the sidewalk outside the grocery store in the shade of a loaded bike.  Bananas are still better than energy bars.  For people that push their bikes on occasion because they’re doing things the bike isn’t supposed to do, like climb a twenty percent grade on gravel with camping equipment.  For us, the casual misfits that choose to ride a bike to get places.  Dovetail Bicycles is the result of experience on the road and inside the bike industry, and they’re stocking bike stuff for people who love adventure.  They’ll keep you dry and they’ll hold your stuff.  They will cook you eggs and coffee in the morning, and whittle a stick for your marshmallows in the evening.  Dovetail has got the basics covered, and will be adding to their inventory daily.  The thing that separates Dovetail: they actually ride bikes.

I’ve written some inspired articles on bike travel over on the Dovetail page and will be posting over there on a regular basis.  Check out my article on packing light, “Take a load off”; and my recipe for adventure, “Slow biking”.  If you’ve been following me here for a while, you’ll appreciate some of the goods they’re stocking as well.  Get a 64 oz Klean Kanteen, an Esbit alcohol stove, and a shiny Velo Orange Passhunter Rack to support your basket or saddlebag.  Pile it atop an old ATB like my High Sierra and you’ll have your own gypsy jalopy in no time.

Slow biking, like slow food, is an intimate and creative process of discovery and craft.  Slow food is not necessarily slow, and does not exclude high-heat searing, blanching, broiling, saute or flambe and slow biking does not exclude riding fast and far or climbing hard and descending rapidly.  Rather, slow biking is finding pleasure in the process: expertly packing your bags in the morning, seeking sinuous dotted lines on the map, inquiring locally about conditions and savoring the spoils– the meal– which may be riding the spine of an Appalachian ridgeline with farmland and forest in either direction. If a map is a recipe, consider following the recipe loosely, looking to it for suggestions when necessary and changing it when an idea arises. Somewhere between knowing exactly where you are and being completely lost, is adventure, and a great meal.  Visit the Dovetail Blog for more…