Ask Stevil

Oh ho ho, here we are again, with another installment of the interweb’s #1 cycling-based advice column.

Stevil, I notice that you like to drink beer in the woods. I also like to do that, but I’m always worried about getting hassled. Has anyone ever hassled you, and if not, how do I stop thinking about it?

Getting hassled by who I wonder. I go to the woods to be alone, and as such, I see no people, ergo, there are no people to be hassled by. If you’re riding in a considerably more populated areas such as say, San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, then just go a slightly more sneaky route and throw a cüzie in your pocket
which keeps your beverage a bit more stealth, with the added benefit of maintaining a nice, chilled temperature. If you’re worried about nosy busy bodies giving you grief, then just look them in the eye and remind them that snitches get stitches and continue on your merry way.

Stevil, I’d like to buy a bike from a small builder, but I don’t know any, and there are so many, the choices are kinda overwhelming. How would you go about choosing one? Do you have any recommendations or any advice on the best way to work with a builder to get the bike you want?

Speaking of small builders, ahem…

Sean Walling (formerly of Soulcraft Bicycles) and I used to discuss topics related to this at many of the custom bike shows we’ve attended together. Essentially, a person could go to frame building school, bang out a couple of frames, build them up, and arrive to the show ready to take orders. To our minds, this was a fairly sketchy prospect, and one we really saw no way to regulate. This isn’t to say that a freshly certified frame builder couldn’t build you a bike that you’d end up loving for decades, but as one who appreciates a builder’s experience as part of what I’m paying for, I would tread lightly. The years they’ve invested in their craft means everything to me. Having said all of that, maybe begin by putting together a list of builders who interest you and go from there. The internet is good for lots of things besides porn and cat videos. Read reviews, and interviews. Find someone who not only makes beautiful bikes, but a person you click with. The rad thing in all of this, is most builders I know would be available for an email exchange or provided you’re not a total pain in the ass about it, even a phone call. You’re investing in a one-of-a-kind work of art, and any builder worth their salt will understand and appreciate your investment in who they are, and the amazing creations they make.

Dear Stevil, The other day I rode mountain bikes with a friend of mine. It’s been a hot summer, so I wore fingerless gloves, and my friend said I looked like a kook. Why do we only wear long-fingered gloves on mountain bikes? And am I really a kook?

Choose function over fashion every time. Maybe we wear long-fingered gloves to protect our digits from raspberry bushes, or nettles, or whatever else we might ride by whilst goofing off on the singletracks, but I dunno. Honestly, I never thought about it until right now. Wear whatever you want, whenever you want to wear it. If it works for you, then that was the right choice.

If you have a question for Stevil, hit him up here, and wait for the wisdom to drop.

Shimano North America loves Stevil so much they made him a gravel ambassador.

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