Ask Stevil

Every month or so, we collect the questions submitted to our friend Stevil and present them to him for his oracular pronouncements. And pronounce he does. Wisdom. Quippery. Quixotic musings. It’s all here. Enjoy.

What is the best ride food? I’m tired of eating the bars and goo and nonsense the bike store sells. Do you eat something different when you’re out riding?

Many years ago I was riding in the mountains above Flagstaff with Steve Garro, (who at the time was just on the cusp of launching his Coconino custom frame empire), and I remember very clearly stopping for a break when out of his bag he pulled all manner of snack. Candy bars, a sandwich, nuts, dried fruit, and so forth. As I gazed down upon the pathetic array of astronaut food in my hand, it was at that exact moment I realized I was doing it all wrong. Since that day, I always bring actual food with me. In general, my mainstays are fruit, fruit leather, granola bars, meat sticks, and salted almonds for their packability, but I’m not above wrapping up a piece of pizza or firing a full sub sandwich into my pack either. Oh, and the combination of beef jerky, and dried pineapple? It’s insane, and is what I like to refer to as ‘stoner’s delight’. The way I see it is that we’re using our bodies as a vehicle to go out and have all of these kick ass adventures. We might as well take every opportunity to put actual fuel into them, you know?

What is the best place in the world that you’ve ridden and what made it so good?

Despite the fact that I’ve been deeply entrenched in bike stuff for over three decades, I don’t really have a very broad experience base when it comes to international riding destinations. In fact, as I ponder the question, I can probably list all the places I’ve ridden on a handful of hands, and maybe a couple of feet. As boring as it might seem, the trail network I love most dearly is a generally nondescript one in my hometown in Colorado. The way it smells after a rain, and all the little mica flakes sparkling all over the ground… It’s intoxicating to me. There are technical segments to be sure, and one of the most fun descents around, (the only one I regularly have dreams about) but I suspect my love of it is at least partly rooted in the nostalgia of growing up playing in those very woods. It’s a familiar place, while at the same time being endlessly new.

Beyond that, I’d say a close second is the Umpqua River trail in central Oregon. I’ve done two Western Spirit-guided trips there over the years, and they were worth every penny. If you’re repelled by the idea of riding the absolute shit out of a picture-perfect network of single track, followed by afternoons spent playing in world class swimming holes, then you’d hate it there.

There are many places I dream of riding, but because my wanderlust is generally turned to about 4, am generally in no rush to make any of them happen. I’m a simple person with simple tastes, and in the interim will be quite content to just ride the trails out of my back door.

Do you ride 1x on any of the bikes you ride regularly? It’s hilly where I live, and I like the simplicity of 1x. I like the idea anyway, but I’m just not convinced it’s going to work for me. What’s your experience?

I have it on my mountain bike, as well as one of my cross bikes, and I like it far more than the 1995 version of me would have thought. I’m no nerd when it comes to gear ratios and whatnot and tend to always steer towards the ‘run what you brung’ camp, but in all of my days, I don’t think I ever felt like I needed more than what an 11-34 stack could provide. Also, maybe because I cut my teeth (no pun intended) in the early ‘90s world of one speed mountain bikes and at this stage in my life have very little to prove to anyone, whatever I can’t ride, I walk. God gave us legs that are good for more than pedaling in squares. We might as well occasionally prove to Her that we can use them to get off the bike and slowly trudge up the hill on foot as well.

Worse case is you give it a shot, decide that 2x is more your speed, and do a swaparoo. Your back and knees might thank you.

Ask Stevil is happily supported by the homies at Shimano North America and subscribers like you.

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