Uncle Dave Succumbs to the Nog

Words Dave Tolnai
Date Dec 12, 2016

For a moment, I thought about writing something about how much 2016 sucked. But that seemed awfully depressing, even by my standards. So. Something else.

Random Thought #1

I have a really hard time dealing with repetitive tasks that rear their heads at consistent intervals. Things like getting a haircut, going to the dentist or doing laundry (maybe…writing something about bikes for weekly consumption?) challenge me. It’s like you just finished dealing with it and there it is, back on your plate again.

Maybe that’s what’s so great about biking?  There is an absence of those soul crushingly repetitive tasks. Lubing the chain doesn’t reach the threshold of annoyance. Servicing suspension components might qualify, but not having to worry about the long term repercussions of your maintenance habits is the one perk in all of this journalism nonsense. That leaves pumping up tubeless tires each and every ride as the only consistent piece of hassle that you face as a mountain biker. That’s pretty great.

Random Thought #2

Why is camera equipment the same price everywhere?  Online. Large retailer. Little guy down the street. Camera nerd selling it on Craigslist. How do they do that?  How does this happen?  And why do so many people save all the boxes that their gear came in? Where do they keep them?  Honestly, if you thought cyclists were weird, just talk to a few camera people.

Random Thought #3

I haven’t cared less about new bike gear in a long, long time. I’m still interested in obtaining free shit if it’s up for grabs (hint hint, dear editors), but I just don’t care enough to develop any sort of list or argument to convince people that they need more shit.

Shit. Here we go again, tearing off into the ether with nary a question in sight. This is supposed to be “Ask Uncle Dave”, right? Hold on! At the last minute! The perfect question!

Dear Uncle Dave:

What the hell is wrong with you?

Definitely not you

Dear Totally Somebody else:

Random Thought #4

You know what?  I’m bringing it out. Quite frankly, 2016 really sucked. I’m not even talking about the elephantine political issues that are getting ready to stamp us into oblivion – although if there ever was a time to pass along a “you all need to pay attention to this shit” message, this is probably it. It feels…more than that. I’m leaving 2016 feeling older, fatter and dumber. And I’m a bit confused. I’m wondering how this…enterprise, fits into the mix. Most of the time, I enjoy the challenge of writing something every week. But I’m struggling to figure out how it makes me feel. Has it been a welcome outlet for me to vent?  Would I be a babbling lunatic without it, talking to dogs in the park about echo chambers?  Or has it added to my level of stress?  Am I having any sort of impact, positive or negative, on the world around me?

We’re rapidly approaching Uncle Dave #100, which seems pretty damn crazy. And it feels like a pretty great time to take stock of this whole sordid affair. Is it worth continuing on towards #200?  Should it turn into something else?  Is writing about mountain biking like dancing about architecture?  Or is there a market for bad answers to random questions and unrequited segues?  I’m actually curious to hear what you have to say about this.

I know this is a really crappy way to end the year, but I feel like a spent force. So. That’s it for 2016.

Uncle Dave

Uncle Dave’s Music Club

There’s a thing in skateboarding. Once somebody has been photographed or videoed doing a certain trick at a certain spot, it’s done. You just can’t do that, ever again. Mountain bikers just shoot it again from a different angle and slow the mo down a bit more.

For me, the Pitchfork end-of-year-best-song list is akin to the skateboarding attitude above. Once a song is on there, it’s pretty silly to talk about it and pretend that it represents anything close to a fresh perspective. But here we are…a day late…a dollar short…the songs I feel warrant discussion that I have scraped from the list.

Parquet Courts – “Human Performance”

We’re going to re-visit Parquet Courts again, real soon. This song kind of defines my relationship with the Pitchfork list, where it feels to me like they accidentally wrote down the wrong track number when they put together their list. Sure, it’s a good song, but how don’t you choose “Berlin Got Blurry”?

Hamilton Leithauser/Rostam – “A Thousand Times”

I’ve basically hung all my resentment for the Walkmen breaking up on Hamilton Leithauser. His inconsistent solo output hasn’t helped, but I’ll put “A Thousand Times” into the “Good Hamilton” column. And I can’t get enough of the little kid mimicking Hamilton’s performance tics, which is a fairly brave direction to take your own music video, if you really think about it.

Kevin Morby – I Have Been to the Mountain

Holy shit this is a great song. I always love when you can create such power without a lot of noise.

Frank Ocean – “Nikes”

I honestly can’t believe that this isn’t #1 on their list. This is a real slow burner that took me a while to wrap my head around. Umm…mildly NSFW, I just discovered. And ya, okay. “Ivy deserves a mention as well.

A Tribe Called Quest – “We the People…”

Are you kidding me?  This song is amazing. Why did it take them so long to be able to give us something like this?

And a bonus, just because it keeps popping up when I search anything in Youtube.

Maybe the year wasn’t so bad?

I want you all to really think about this. Does this feel like a person that you want to follow on Instagram? Really? I mean, you can always cancel that order pretty quickly. But really? @davetolnai if you insist.

Is this Uncle Dave’s swansong? Even we don’t know. But if you want him to continue I’d suggest submitting some questions that inspire him to keep on keeping on. But for now we have prizes! For DNY. We continue to raise money for the Stevie Smith Legacy fund and selling these stickers and mudders is how we do it. We’ll make the donation for you DNY and you just get free stuff. Send us an email (with your address and phone number) to claim your prize.stevie_pack_uncle_dave

Did Uncle Dave brighten your year in 2016?

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Vik Banerjee  - Dec. 13, 2016, 6:22 p.m.

I'm almost certain 2017 will Trump 2016. Just hang on folks. 🙂


49%  - Dec. 13, 2016, 12:39 p.m.

We have a saying in Hawaii that sums up Uncle Dave's advice: "Bumbai you learn". It means you're all stubborn knuckleheads doing it wrong, and later on (bumbai) you'll learn it the hard way. 😀
Keep hammering it home Uncle Dave!


Cam McRae  - Dec. 13, 2016, 5:26 p.m.



Bungle+  - Dec. 13, 2016, 8:01 a.m.

This Q&A format jumped the shark when it was called BikeSnob in Bicycling magazine. Move on.


Dirk  - Dec. 13, 2016, 10:09 a.m.

You choose a Bicycling magazine Q&A as your reference point? From the hundreds of examples available? Not Thrasher…or Ask Chopper…but Bicycling?



dtimms  - Dec. 13, 2016, 7:31 a.m.

A Tribe Called Quest!!! AMAZING!!!!


Mr.Bungle  - Dec. 13, 2016, 6:51 a.m.

I hear ya, I also feel fatter, older and dumber, but it really is the luxury of first world problems we have. You're bitching and complaining on a mountain bike web site.
Rediscover that fire of ripping people up in your response to their lame questions. I have very few problems, but don't we all find comfort in complaining about the little things that we have complete power to change? Play some metal get charged up. An idle mind is Satan's play ground, so let him or her play, get some ideas cooking. If all else fails get on a sub par bike and go ride it.


Pete Roggeman  - Dec. 14, 2016, 9:31 a.m.

I agree! More sarcasm, less navel-gazing. Go get 'em Uncle Dave.


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