Words Dave Tolnai
Date May 23, 2016

Dearest Uncle Dave,

You give out really good prizes. I want them. What question should I ask? I figure if you can win a dh race by cutting corners and taking the straightest line it should be applicable here as well.

Cutting the Bull

Dear Uncle Dave,

I was wondering if you happened to have an opinion on the latest trend in the sport, asking pros for free stuff in exchange for fb likes on a post including the screenshot of you asking the pro for free stuff in exchange for fb likes on a post. (If you haven’t come across this particular phenomenon go take a scroll on the page Downhill Memes, seems to be THE page for eastern europe, and has some very interesting content) Personally I thought the first two were creative, the guy who asked Nina Mezcua-Jensen for her snapchat in exchange for 1000 likes has balls, but surely some pros are hating their fame? Gee Atherton claims he’s had nearly 100 people ask for his bike already…..Why is the mtb community nuts? Do other sports spam their pros asking for free stuff?

Also I have an actual Uncle Dave, he’s a cop.

Nephew of Another Uncle Dave

Hi Uncle Dave,

Having read your latest column: cheer up! Your writing puts a big smile on my face every time. And that is exactly what I need when I take a break from my job as a marketing assistant for a major global bicycle brand. Think of having to deal with questions like these all the time:

  • It’s my birthday, can I get a free bike?
  • Can I put 200mm forks on my XC hardtail?
  • Why are your bottle cages not available in Nicaragua?
  • What is the width of the handlebars on my bike? I’m sitting on the sofa and am too lazy to do this myself.
  • I just bought your lowest end bike. Can I get free cycling gear for me and my family?
  • I’m 15 years old and without any racing experience. Interested in sponsoring me?
  • Can I get a bike for half the price when ordering directly from your factory?
  • I’m going to travel the world for the next few years. Capitalism sucks, yeah, but will you “lend” me a bike and gear? Also planning to make a book and movie out of this.

As for me, I have lots of questions, but I won’t bother you with any of them.

Sick of Idiots

Dear Cub, Narc and SOI:

It’s amazing how bummed out we get when other people want free stuff. Look at any modern political debate. Half of the entire discussion focusses on ‘entitlements.’ Left or right, every foe is a blood sucking entitlement vampire. Suggest a modest social program for homeless single moms with puppies? Entitled! Propose a minor tax break to spur innovation? Entitled! We’re all quick to rant and rave at the merest whiff of thirstiness in others.

Yet stroll into any office building around lunch time with a tray full of sandwiches and see what happens. You’re likely to lose a digit as some desk jockey fat cat battles over something just as likely to give him food poisoning as it is to satiate his hunger. You can shower somebody with praise, perks and raises and they’re probably more visibly excited about free food over any of that other stuff.

People love free shit.

But I’m also reminded here of the concept of an unenforceable contract. I’m no lawyer, but I’ve heard it said that if you’re ever offered a fat severance and they ask you to sign a multi-year non-compete agreement, sign away. Any judge will deem the demands unreasonable and you will end up walking away without any worries. I’ve never played this one out in practice though, and I’m sure there’s a band of lawyers eager to explain to me just how wrong I am about this.

So if I’m a pro rider or marketing professional, I’m thinking there’s no harm in these people asking me for something that I can’t possibly give them. What kind of idiot thinks somebody is just going to hand them a free bike, for no reason at all? I would relish the opportunity to make them feel terrible about such frivolous requests.

If it were me, I’d be more concerned if I was constantly bombarded for t-shirts and stickers and other small items. That’s entirely doable. If I can’t produce on that, people would be relatively justified in thinking that I’m a dick and telling the entire world all about it via social media.

So my advice is to temper your expectations with regards to free shit. Start with a leftover sandwich from an executive lunch. Work up to harassing industry personnel for stickers and t-shirts. Eventually, you’ll end up at the holy grail of scoring free shit that you don’t deserve. Yes, of course I’m talking about the world of mountain bike journalism.

And Cub…please. At least pretend to be a little bit interesting if you expect me to give you something. If you’d made your course cutting reference a little more pointed, suggestive or personal, we might have had something to work with. But this? No. Do better next time. Not here though. Somewhere else.

Uncle Dave

PS – You’ll all be interested to note that, in the end, Cub proved his superiority over Uncle Dave. Because Cub is Narc, people. Narc is Cub. Cubnarc somehow sensed that Uncle Dave would want to publish both letters as a counterpoint to one another and, like some sort of all-seeing chess grandmaster, plotted these moves out long before Uncle Dave had any idea of what was happening.

Well played, Cubnarc. Well played. You’ve earned yourself a prize. Though, hopefully it sucks.

Got a question? Like prizes? Fire an email to

Uncle Dave is actually on vacation this week. Hopefully he is up to his eyeballs in fish, chips and sand.@davetolnai should have the answers on Instagram. There’s no way he’s bothering with twitter this week.


Cubnarc –  you win Ryders Thorn anitiFOG eyewear.  The front of the lens is hydrophobic, to reduce water build up and the back of the lens is treated with an anti-fog coating to keep your vision crystalline.

What are you entitled to?

Trending on NSMB


reformed roadie
5 years, 12 months ago

Einhorn is Finkle…

Finkle is Einhorn…
(cue 'The Crying Game music)


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