Ask Uncle Dave
Dear Uncle Dave: Why is My Local Mechanic Such a Dick?
Oh my god. I’m so sick of hearing about ebikes. And I was doubly disappointed to find out that I was the asshole causing the topic to be raised one more time. For a guy who shares his opinion widely on the Internet, I’m remarkably shy of controversy. I stand behind my opinions but I also recognize that they are of a time and a place. Any opinion that generates discussion usually has some sort of impact on the way that I think about things moving forward. That’s why I generally dislike it when an old piece is re-posted. Opinions evolve and facts emerge, so chances are pretty good that I no longer think the exact same thing I thought at that time. I cringed when I woke up last week and saw my e-bike post up again. Not that I don’t agree with what I said, but in hindsight, I could have made my point a little bit more clearly, or considered that making that point probably wasn't worth the hassle.
That piece emerged as a way to deal with the frustration of the way people argue things online. You don’t have to scroll too far in the comments of any political piece before somebody throws down a “Libtard” and assumes that their clever wordplay has just won them the argument. Too often, in these discussions about e-bikes, I was witnessing something similar. Somebody would just start referring to them as “motorbikes”, and assume that we could all go home because they had seized the day. My main goal was to state a point that this wasn’t really productive and it wasn’t getting us anywhere. There was probably more to it, but I can’t bear to wade through the hundred plus comments again. The whole thing kind of turned me off talking about ebikes, because I honestly don’t give much of a shit about them. If I lived up in the Interior and had lots of money, I might. But based on my financial and geographical circumstances, it’s not really something that will be entering my life in the reasonable future. I’m super curious to try one as a commuter, but other than that I don’t really care.
And…shit…I guess I do have another point. I think it is totally valid to come at this from either side of the argument depending on where you live. The guy who lives off in the wilds of Canada most likely has a different point of view than the lady who rides in Marin County, and it is kind of silly for those two to attempt to invalidate the view of the other. A blanket ban or thumbs up most likely is not the solution, so can’t we just stop pretending that we have all of the answers?
On to the nonsense.
Dear Uncle Dave,
I recently went to a bike shop to buy a bleed kit for my brakes. When I went to ask if they also sold that tool that holds the brake hose to insert a barb, one shop worker suddenly went on a tirade about losing his job and what not. Honestly, a simple yes or no was all I needed (plus, when I inevitably f*** up the bleed, I'll still have to take my bike to that shop and I already have, twice, for my drivetrain and wheel).
This has happened to the three bike shops that I've been to. And the only reason I switch bike shops is because I've moved to a new place/job. I'm not saying that the bike shops themselves suck. It's just that there's always that one guy who's in an extra bad mood to make up for every other employee being chill.
Do all bike shops have that one guy who's always in a bad mood? Is there such a thing as a super chill, small, local bike shop? Am I the actual bad guy here? What is the meaning of life?
Jesus Christ. This one really took me back, so please just bear with me a second. Sit back. Close your eyes. Imagine you're feeling flush, so you walk into a Whole Foods. You're cruising around the deli section, admiring the stews, but decide you've had enough of paying somebody else to cook for you. So you wander on over to the cheeses and start thinking about buying a finely aged parmesan with the goal of constructing a nice little pasta for dinner. You catch the attention of the person behind the counter, and ask them if they can suggest which cheese might work best for you and your specific needs. And they launch into a tirade about how your selfishness is putting all the food preparers out of a job.
This, of course, is stupid. It's totally unbelievable. Inconceivable. It would never happen. Nobody in the business of selling anything would ever use your potential purchase as a chance to complain to you about how the thing they're about to sell you is going to put them out of work. Except in a bike shop, I guess.
I'm hoping that you just caught this guy on a really, really bad day and there was a misunderstanding and it led to the exchange that you relayed to us. In all honesty, when I read the first few lines of your question, I was expecting some kind of lecture on how a real mechanic doesn't need a hose barby inserty thingamajig, not what you described. Maybe it was some strange combination of your face, your question and his mood that set him off in an entirely uncharacteristic emotional breakdown (not to say that your face would excuse his actions)?
So. If you're feeling really generous, give this jackass and his shop one more shot. Maybe you'll find that this mechanic is a misunderstood genius who can whisper heretofore undiscovered performance out of your steed? Maybe you'll learn all about the horrible day he was having that led to his customer service breakdown, have a good laugh, head out for a beer or two and you'll earn a lifelong friend? Or perhaps you'll just obtain a chance to scream "That's why people buy shit online!" over your shoulder as you walk through the door for the final time. Sounds like you really can't lose.
Uncle Dave's Music Club
I really, really, really tried to find something relatively new to talk about here, but I just couldn't do it. Instead, I'm giving you songs that I am surprised there are videos for from 90's Indie Rock Bands with interesting vocalists.
First up, Archers of Loaf "Harnessed in Slums". I can't believe that in 20+ years of listening to this song, this is the first time I have seen this video.
Next, let's go for some Superchunk and "Hyper Enough). I'm less surprised by the existence of this video, because I remember seeing a few Superchunk videos back in the day.
How about some Sebadoh? "Skull". I think I came by this for the first time from a Transworld Video. The actual video is a bit less interesting.
Lastly, let's get some Pavement in there. "Range Life", because why not.
Blahs! You better thank your dick of a mechanic because he's helped you win a pair of OneUp Components Composite Pedals. They have both features and specs and both are impressive. In Canada they will cost you $62. In the US and Internationally they are US $48. Send us an email to collect your prize.
OneUp Composite Pedal Features
- 40 rear loading threaded pins with nyloc nuts
- DU plus cartridge bearing axle system
- Thin leading edge chamfered design to deflect off obstacles
- Wide platform design for increased stability
- Contoured shape provides ultimate connected feel
Weight: 355g Platform Size: 115x105mm # of Pins: 10 per side Axle Material: Black chromoly steel Height: 18.5mm (13.3 at the leading edge) Pin to Axle distance: 108mm Color: Stealth Black Body Material: Nylon Composite
This week's prize is pretty damned good. But in two weeks we're giving away a fork. Sorry (not sorry) Blahs. If you'd like to win a fork you'll need to send a question to Uncle Dave.