Ask Uncle Dave
Dear Uncle Dave: My Riding Buddy is a Total A-Hole
Oh man. Man, oh man. This is one of those ones that I just hate right from the get go. I don't want to write about this stuff. I don't want to subject you to it either. But here we are. I was working on a response to the Commencal artwork schmozzle, but that's too tricky to wade into without a bunch of thought put into it. I was working on flushing out something further on the art of picking the right bike, but that's just horrendously boring. I had a last minute hail mary on bullshit claims of suspension designers, but that's going to take a bit more work. So what are we left with? Yelling at some poor bastard on the Internet. Sorry. I really mean it this time.
We have a great group of guys who have been doing a group trip every June for over 25 yrs. As you can imagine, over time things have gotten more complex. We now have upwards of 25-28 guys & the planning is a big job. We have had more than one CEO crack under pressure at the last minute! We've been all over B.C., Whistler, Squamton, Sunshine coast, the Island, Kootenays, Okanagan & the Chilcotin.
Here's my problem:
McDuff (name disguised to protect identity),is a (somewhat) valued member, that thinks it funny to not get a deposit paid in a timely manner. He has been known to show up on the bus as we are leaving, with money in hand, while everyone else paid months in advance. The usual threats don't seem to work. I was considering killing him in his sleep, but that could be messy & the ensuing legal issues might prevent me from crossing the B.C./Alberta border, as planned this year! Thanks for your valued advice.
Frustrated Joon Ride CFO
Dear Poo Ride:
I find everything about your e-mail confusing. Most of it is related to why anybody would want to do something with 24-27 other people. But I’ll accept that this is a “fun thing to do” and that all you need is a few little tweaks to turn this into a well-oiled machine and a roaring success.
This relates closely to problems I see that occasionally come up at my work. One person relies on another person in order to get their job done. The task is more important to the person who makes the request than the person who is supposed to execute it. So nothing happens until the requestor gets fed up enough to do the task themselves. The requestor continues getting frustrated and eventually just turns into a sad, rage-filled shell who talks to themselves in the bathroom. The requestee continues to coast along, oblivious to the problem, wondering why everybody is complaining about being so stressed out all the time.
This gets worse when you have multiple people making similar requests. They each start to figure out their own workaround and pretty soon nobody knows what is going on and it’s total chaos. The company suffers until it gets bought out by a hedge fund and everybody gets laid off.
In a professional environment there are numerous things that can lead to this. Unclear expectations. Over-work. Lack of an underlying process. And this is where this analogy breaks down a little bit. Because while some of this may be present, I think your problem is much simpler. I think your problem is simply that your friend is a giant asshole. A total and complete asshole.
But that’s fine. The solution is the same. It’s actually really quite easy to change somebody’s behaviour when they keep doing this.
Step 1 – Clearly lay out expectations with everybody involved
I think this would be something like an e-mail to all parties with a message along the lines of “Hey everybody. It’s really important that we get the numbers nailed down this year. If you aren’t able to provide your deposit by this date, I’m going to assume that you’re not interested in being a part of the trip. Anybody who hasn’t placed their deposit will **clearly laid out consequences to this action**. No exceptions.” Lay out expectations. Explain the consequences. Make it clear that you're in charge and you've explained what's going to happen if people don't get their shit together.
Step 2 – Stick to it
This is generally where things fall down. Everybody loooooooves laying out consequences but seems to have a huge problem sticking to them. Somebody always has a plausible sounding excuse and they whine and they cry and you feel a bit bad and you cave in. And then you cave in once and you’re sunk. They’ll know you’re a soft little baby who can’t stand up to anything, and they’ll walk all over you. I hate to say this…but you have a weakness, and your friend knows it and he enjoys messing with you. He loves the fact that he can do whatever he wants, and you’re just going to let him. I understand cutting a bit of slack to the guy who has a reasonable, justifiable situation for requiring some flexibility with the rules. You can work with those kinds of people. But this other guy...the giant asshole...you can't cave in to this guy, even just a tiny little bit, because he'll just keep pushing you. And if you let him keep pushing you, then it’s not his fault, it’s yours. If you allow somebody to do something, continually and repeatedly, then do not complain about it when they go and do that thing again. And again. And again.
I don't know what consequences you should create for this guy. I really don't. I'd be tempted to just stop e-mailing him when he doesn't get his deposit in on time, and to tell him that you cut him off of the trip roster. I honestly can’t even imagine being friends with a guy who does the things that you are describing. I would relish watching him standing on the side of the road, bike in one hand, wad of cash in the other, as he chokes on the fumes of the bus as you leave him behind on our way to a (supposedly) enjoyable trip thick with dudes on dudes. It would make me so, so happy if you send me an e-mail next year describing the confused tears rolling down his cheeks as the rest of you laughed and hi-fived off into the sunset. But, you know...that's just me.
Uncle Dave's Music Club
I know you won't believe me, but I was so, so close to writing about the Fall with the last music club. But the thought of wading through their insane catalogue of releases was too daunting. So I didn't. And then Mark E. Smith died.
"Victoria" was an awesome Kinks song, and it's just as great as a Fall cover.
I swear to goodness that I first heard and fell in love with a slightly different version of "Theme From Sparta FC", but nevertheless, this one is still enjoyable.
Since you are going on a big trip Poo Ride, with a bunch of dudes who may be brutal about how your bike is treated (especially failure to pay dude) it'll probably make sense to have your frame, fork and cranks protected. The best DIY solution we've come across is from Invisiframe. The company will ship you everything you need to apply a custom clear protective film over your entire frame as well as your cranks and fork.*
*Note - this prize is contingent on you owing a bike that is on Invisiframe's extensive list of pre-cut packs which you'll find under the Invisiframe shop heading. Send us an email to claim your prize.
If you'd like to win a sweet prize fire a witty and astute (or asinine if you want to be a target of Dave's ire) question over to Uncle Dave.
Below you can see how this all goes together.