Ask Uncle Dave – Done With Sea Otter

Words Dave Tolnai
Date Apr 20, 2015

A disturbing number of people wrote in this week asking questions like “what’s the deal with all the 27.5+ bikes at Sea Otter” and “what are you supposed to do with these 27.5+ bikes”? My answer to these questions is some form of “who cares?” or “I have no idea” or other forms of indifference communicated via verbal and non verbal means. I mean, thinking a bit about it, I’m actually surprised it has taken them this long to combine the two hugest trends in mountain biking into one amazing, super-duper trend. Fat bikes! 650b! It writes/markets/creates itself! But I found it tremendously easy to just walk on by these bikes at the show. Maybe at some point and time I will re-visit these questions and/or ride one of these bikes. But for now, I suggest we all not worry too much about it. After all, nobody can force you to ride fatter tires and I doubt regular widths are going away anytime soon. Heaven knows what diameter they will be though.

So let’s move on to an interesting Sea Otter question.

Dear Uncle Dave,

How was Sea Otter? What was the best thing that you saw? What was the most horrifying?


Tell Me About Sea Otter


Unfortunately, you’re going to have to wait a month or so before I tell you about the best thing that I saw at Sea Otter. I’ve already used up April’s quota of positive discussion.

The most horrifying thing that I witnessed at Sea Otter actually came as a bit of a surprise. It came during the Builder movie premiere. Now don’t misunderstand Uncle Dave here. Uncle Dave is a Scott Secco fan. Uncle Dave thinks Scott Secco is his kind of guy and that he’s made a fine, fine movie and that you should make an effort to go see it. But something happened during the playing of that movie that left Uncle Dave distracted, confused, and, well, horrified. It took me a while to figure out exactly what it was, but I eventually straightened out my discombobulation:

Brian Lopes was wearing jeans.

Brian Lopes doesn’t wear jeans. Brian Lopes wears an over-the-top, gaudy race kit. That’s what he wore while slaying youngsters half his age in the dual slalom. That’s what he wears always. I can imagine that Brian Lopes has sponsor correct, faux race kit pyjamas that he falls asleep in every night and that his pillows are stuffed jerseys that he has sewn into pillows. I think Brian Lopes takes his race-worn clothing to a nice Italian gentleman who then sculpts them into finely tailored suits that he wears to business meetings. Brian Lopes wears race kits. Not jeans.

But there he was, riding his bike and wearing jeans. And it looked really weird. Like your kind of dorky friend showed up at school one day and he had an earring and a Justin Bieber haircut and he was wondering why everybody was making such a big deal about it. The sight of Brian Lopes in those jeans was jarring and uncomfortable and raised far more questions than were answered.

Questions like:
Why is he wearing jeans?
What is he trying to accomplish here?
Where did the race kit go?
Why does it look so foreign and wrong?
What sort of peer pressure forced him to succumb to this trend?
Is he trying to look ‘cool?’
Does that mean that he’s been trying to look ‘cool’ all along, for all these years?
What would happen if I showed him a picture of Pharrell wearing his big hats and told him this was the next big new trend? Or is that where he got the idea for his helmet?

It kept me up for hours.

I know. Big deal. A guy wore jeans. But this is a big deal! This is Brian Lopes! Brian Lopes out of his race kit is close to one of the signs of the Apocalypse. Like fish emerging from the water or the skies raining blood. It rewrites history. It changes perceptions. I’m confused and scared and I don’t like it.

But other than that, Sea Otter was good.

Uncle Dave

Letter of the week wins Brian Lopes’ jeans – and two pair of Dissent Genuflex Socks (a $62 value)

Once you've ridden in Dissent socks you may not want to wear anything else.

Once you’ve ridden in Dissent socks you may not want to wear anything else.

Have a question that requires Uncle Dave’s analytical powers? Send it…

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ExtraSpecialandBitter  - April 21, 2015, 3:18 p.m.

27.5+! I'm far more concerned about the 2.375″ tires that are going to be replacing all the 2.35″ tires. It's only fractionally better.


Cotton Smuggler  - April 21, 2015, 8:49 a.m.

So Lopes is the Don Cherry of MTB in the garment game?

Cam McRae  - April 21, 2015, 10 a.m.

Gary Fisher is closer - but he actually employs style rather than just shock.


Woody  - April 20, 2015, 11:39 p.m.

Who pays $62 for a pair of socks????!!!!????


Cr4w  - April 21, 2015, 7:53 a.m.

It's ridiculous. But I have some and they're great. Almost worth $30/pair great.

Cam McRae  - April 21, 2015, 9:59 a.m.

Two pairs Woody. Two pairs.


Jonathan Harris  - April 20, 2015, 11:06 p.m.

Laughing my arse off. So on point Dave. I had a similar thought when I witness this myself.


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