I’ve been an intern at Kona Bikes for one month now, and I feel completely integrated. This week we hosted Kona’s annual spring meetings at the Kona World office in Vancouver.
Photos and words by Sophie Bossier.
There were approximately twenty people at this meeting. The most important people at Kona were here: product managers, sales managers, art and marketing guys, and Dan and Jake, the owners. It’s impressive to be in the midst of these guys. They came from the four corners of the world – New Zealand, USA, Europe… just for this meeting.
Dan and Jake
I haven’t told you about Dan and Jake. They are Kona. They have a huge role inside Kona as well as they are both the founders and the actual owners of Kona. Dan and Jake grounded Kona Bikes here, in Vancouver, in 1988, before I was born – I’m 22 now. Next year will be the 30th birthday of Kona. At that time, it was the early days of mountain biking on the North Shore. If you want to know more about Kona’s history, I will tell you more in my next article. It’s an impressive story, believe me. And if you didn’t see my last articles, here is the link!
Dan and Jake still work full time at Kona. Jake is based in Vancouver and I see him almost every day, working hard the whole day. Dan is more of a traveling guy, often between USA and Europe and Asia – he is not often in Vancouver. It could be intimidating to be in front of these guys, if you know who they are. But they are very nice and cool, funny sometimes, making you feel at ease. They are like all the employees at Kona, they know how to be serious when it is required, but that doesn’t make them snobby people.
Regarding the annual meeting of this week, each day was dedicated to a topic. I had the opportunity to assist on the marketing day. Several topics were covered in the morning: athlete programs, future marketing campaigns, future videos, the budget for these actions, and so on. They were efficient in the morning, very efficient, powering through it all, launching topic after topic.
In contrast, the afternoon was very different. They were a bit abstracted – we can say. Maybe you would say that at the end of the week, we could feel the wave of exhaustion coming. More time was spent debating topics, but it was very fair: everyone was able to communicate their views and position. Fortunately, Eddy, the head of marketing, was there to manage the debate. I had the feeling of being in a school yard sometimes with a bunch of young kids, friends – just having fun.
New Bike Day, Again!
To change a little bit from the mountain bike, we decided to go to ride dirt jumping bikes this weekend. For dirt jumpers and BMX lovers, there is a lot to do in the Vancouver area.
The problem was, I didn’t have a BMX or dirt jumping bike, and neither did Kona – it’s ironic! But they’re ressourceful: in two hours, I had my perfect bike. We unhooked an old Kona Cowan frame from the ceiling. This bike was given to Scott from the sales office by Graham Agassiz, seven years ago. Then, we scoured the warehouse looking for a crank, a fork, a brake, two wheels and a handlebar. And here we go, voila, I had a brand new dirt jumper. Or almost new. Better than new, some would say!
My boyfriend Jordan and I both went to the nearest BMX track, ten minutes’ ride from where we are living in North Vancouver. North Shore BMX Track is pretty good! There is a little pumptrack next to the track. It reminded us of our afternoons in France, to ride and to chill at the BMX track, under the sun.
Then, we wanted to try Air Rec Center Indoor Bike Park, in Maple Ridge. It’s a bike park with jumps for every level – from the beginner who prefers staying on a pump track, to the advanced rider who loves jumping big ones with wood kickers and huge landings. There is also a big air bag and a trick kump area, to improve your skills in the air before going to the real ones. It’s a wonderful concept, I loved it! And it’s a good way to escape from the rain.
There is a lot to do in BC if you love riding – whatever the weather and the time you want to spend on it, you’ll always find your paradise here. On my side, I found it!