Ask Dave

All-terrain advice from a real adventure hero

Jan 17, 2007
Outside Magazine
Ask Dave

I commute to work on a bike. Is it OK to wear spandex shorts in the office?
If I reported to the Man inside four square walls (ha!), I certainly would, based on a simple mathematical formula I devised called "&#960 r package"—if the combined circumference of your thighs is at least three-fourths as large as your chest, go ahead and keep your shorts on. Otherwise, hide those pigeon legs in some Dockers. Not everyone agrees. Jacqueline Whitmore, author of Business Class: Etiquette Essentials for Success at Work, thinks spandex is a major office no-no. "First of all, if you perspire while biking to work and sit on the furniture, it gets all over the place," she says. "And if the clothes are tight enough to accentuate areas that might embarrass co-workers, it's just not appropriate." I say poppycock. Slathering on antifungal chamois cream will tame any sweat stink (my nethers like the Swiss-made Assos; $20 for 140mL at REI), and, when necessary, you can conceal your "manly contours" with deft use of a bike helmet. Not that I've ever had anyone object to the view.

Like Tony Soprano, I have a huge driveway. What's the best snow-clearing machine money can buy?
No contest: The beast for you is the V8 Snowblower (, built to order by Ontario inventor Kai-Hendrik Grundt, who should be awarded a Nobel Prize for torque. Even though Dave never cries (OK, just that once, but The Great Santini touched on some issues), his knees buckled when he saw this chromed-out monument to masculinity. The $23,000, 912-pound, self-propelled mini-locomotive features a 454-cubic-inch Chevy big block with 420 horsepower (an average blower coughs up about ten horses) and dual seven-foot-tall exhaust pipes. Plus there's a coffee holder, a blue strobe light, a heated handle, an optional marine radio with iPod jack, and a customizable color scheme. Best of all, with the machine roaring along at 92 decibels—roughly the equivalent of a passing subway car—you won't be able to hear your neighbor screeching when you "accidentally" demolish the glowing Santa he tends to leave out until Easter.

I dropped my friend while belaying him, and he broke both legs. What's an appropriate way to say, "Oops, I'm sorry"?
You want something that will both ease his pain and resuscitate your reputation as a buddy. A Band of Brothers DVD box set will give him something to watch while he's laid up and remind him about fraternity, trust, and loyalty. (Plus the Bastogne episodes will make him stop whining about how rough he has it.) As for your own guilt factor, a little wailing and gnashing is probably in order. Back in 1987, my friend Tobias slipped and shattered his femur while I was belaying him during a day trip to Joshua Tree. (He says my attention wandered; I say that chipmunk was potentially rabid.) In response, I agreed to crack my own femur with a rock. Alas, I couldn't find one heavy enough to do the job, soinstead I gave myself a real stinger of an Indian burn. BTW, Tobias, if you're reading this, call me—you never returned theharness you borrowed that day.

DAVE SALUTES! Neil Vanner, Aquatic Cyclist
Last June, Vanner shotgunned a can of creamed rice, hopped on a self-designed pontooned aquacycle, and pedaled into the man-eating Cook Strait, a 19-mile stretch of water separating New Zealand's North and South islands. Vanner, the type of guy who wears cycling shorts wherever he likes, didn't do it for glory; he's above that. The 37-year-old Kiwi was pursuing a crumb of publicity for his Auckland-based water-bike-tour company, Cycle Safari ( "Cycling on water was just not cool," Vanner explained in a letter. "I needed to introduce my bikes to the world and show that cycling on water was safe, fun, and a cool thing to do." In March, Vanner hopes to capture the Guinness record for water cycling by rolling across 44 miles of New Zealand's Hauraki Gulf. Cool by me, Neil.

Filed To: Culture

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