Answers From A Bottle

Dear Stevil,

I want to get a new tattoo but my wife thinks I have enough already. How would you sell her on the idea? Or, would you just do it and ask for forgiveness later?

Peace in ink,


Hi Teddy,

Not that I’m one to talk, but it seems to me that a cornerstone in any relationship is compromise. If this new piece you’ve got your heart set on is one that means a great deal to you, express that to her. If it’s just some dumb blaster piece of a potato wearing roller skates, or ‘BEER GOES HERE’ in your lower lip, then I’d say she’s probably got a point.

My man of insight,

What do you think about this whole bikepacking phenonium that’s goin’ round? Do you like to pack up a sleeping bag, some freeze-dried camp food and a bottle of whiskey, strap it to your bike and head out a few miles to camp in silent bliss? Or is just a one-day adventure enough to quench the soul?




In my life I’ve done one multi-day bikepacking trip, (you know, with all the frame bags, lightweight tents, and so many other random accessories, it would make your standard Instagram outdoor influencer green with envy), and it was such an utter disaster that I solemnly vowed to never do it again. I love riding bikes, and I love backpacking, so why is it that when the two are combined, it sucks so much? One thing I do enjoy doing however is riding into the woods with a burrito, a couple cans of beer, a camp pad and a bag and sleeping under the stars for a night. Is that considered bike packing? Was the time I fell asleep on the last BART train, and woke up at the end of the line, forcing me to sleep in a ditch with my bike locked to my ankle also considered ‘bikepacking’? I don’t know, man. I just like sleeping outside, and if I gotta ride my bike to the place to do it, then so be it. Nothing more or nothing less, and certainly not as glamorous as the internet might lead one to believe it needs to be.

Dear Stevil,

I’d like your wisdom and advise on this. I’m quite a bit faster on the bike than my boyfriend and it’s usually fine. But sometimes when a guy tries to blow by us on a ride with a point to prove I’ll chase him down, make a bit of small talk then ride away to the top of the climb on my own and wait. When I do this, I get the same response, “Well I guess that’s your new training partner today and I’m riding by myself now.”

What should I do?



I read recently that the first bike race happened just after the second bike was built. That doesn’t necessarily apply here beyond that in each of us lies some degree of competitive spirit, and I can only imagine that as a woman, that spirit fights its way off the leash any time you get the chance to chase some kook down and offer them a slice of humility pie. I’ve ridden with my fair share of capable women over the years, and I’ve seen that there’s never any shortage of men who refuse to let them pass, or are willing to vapidly offer unsolicited advice. If I was a woman, and was purely capable of humbling every dope who thought they were something special, that spirit would be hard for me to keep leashed as well. But since you asked, this how I’ve framed riding with folks who perhaps aren’t my match in terms of physical ability or skill. I’m riding with them because I like them. If I want to ‘train’, or just simply go out and tear my own legs off, that should be a thing I do alone, or in the company of someone with whom I’m physically similar. If I’m going to go out on a ride with a loved one who perhaps is not as strong, I will ride along side of them, or just ahead of them, or just behind them, because I love them, and I love their company. There will never be a shortage of dorks to chase down, but the days on which you get to play bikes with your boyfriend, are a treasured and finite resource. Beat up on the nerds when you’re by yourself. Appreciate the love and the happiness you all generate when you’re together.

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Join the conversation
  1. khal spencer says

    It sounds like Sarah’s boyfriend is feeling a little insecure about his own…um…performance (on the bike, that is). I guess it gets tiring when she has to chase down every testosterone-charged superdork who has to blow by them but there are always faster folks. I don’t know what the best thing to do might be but offer two bits of useless advice in addition to yours. One, perhaps sometimes let it go and stick with Boyfriend. Two, boyfriend ought to realize that these games of pass and chase are not aimed at him nor do they indict his manhood. Like the tattoos, don’t let it get out of control.

    Shit, my wife, the retired English professor, gets the Genius level on those New York Times Spelling Bee puzzle games. I wince when I look at them, help her out with a word or three, and don’t feel like I have to compete.

  2. dr sweets says

    When I go for a ride with anyone I ride with them. Sometimes those I’m with push me and sometimes I push them, but I would never leave them to ride “ride” with someone else. If a gap forms between us one of us always waits at trail intersections and/or adjusts their tempo accordingly. If it’s not a race (those days are mostly behind me) who gives af how fast you are going? If I am riding with anyone else it’s to enjoy their company and camaraderie.

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