Sophie Bossier

Sophie Gets a New Bike… from Graham Agassiz

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.

The Meetings

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!

Sophie’s New Bike Day and First Trip to Whistler Bike Park!

At Kona, employees don’t have company cars, but they gave me a staff bike, which is more expensive than my car in France. Not too bad.

Photos and words by Sophie Bossier.

I’ve been an intern at Kona, in B.C., for two weeks now. In last week’s article I told you about the advantages of working in the bike industry. At Kona, in particular, I have the privilege to take any bike I want, when I want, for my weekend rides or as a commuter bike. But the bikes I really love are the downhill bikes.

As the opening weekend at the lift-accessed bike park in Whistler approached, Kona suggested I take a staff bike, which was thrilling for me. I could choose any one, and – of course – I chose an Operator, in my favorite color, which I will be able to bring back to France. After a few weeks’ riding I’ll do a brief review of my feelings and experiences with my Operator. Don’t hesitate to follow my futures articles if you have interest in this bike!


Whistler Mountain Bike Park is like Disneyland for riding enthusiasts. Everything is bigger, higher – more trails, more jumps, more thrills. The trails are considerably more maintained than our French ones, and it feels good to ride on smooth and well-shaped trails.

There are trails for every taste. For big jumps, speed, and big thrill enthusiasts, go ride and whip the A-Line. For girls like me, who are afraid of these crazy riders who do backflips and ride the A-Line without braking at all, Crank-It-Up is for you! Anyways, if you like rock gardens, roots, berms… you’ll find your paradise here.

And I’m not talking about the village, the center of Whistler. It’s so huge. Shops, everywhere. You have both stereotypes: the first one is the girl who loves shopping, and the second is the girl rider who always wants new bike gear. Now, imagine me in Whistler’s streets – for once, my boyfriend is not reluctant to accompany me on my shopping.

After a season in Whistler, I will have tried so many different kinds of trails that I will be able to ride everywhere – or at least, I hope. I have a real desire to improve my skills. And from my weekends in Whistler, my daily rides during the weekdays, and my work at Kona, I live bike, I think bike, I work bike, I dream bike. It’s crazy – and it’s a change compared to my weekly ride when I was in France. One thing is certain: when I return to France, nothing will ever be as it was.

My Work at Kona Bikes

In last week’s article I told you about my colleagues. I work closely with the marketing team. But what’s marketing, you may say? The marketing team here at Kona works on a wide variety of different projects. On the surface level, you would be able to see that they manage the Cog blog, where I am publishing my articles, as well as Kona’s global social media channels. They write and photograph and make videos throughout the year, and also do communication for employees, dealers, and customers. They answer all of your requests too. And many other things I will discover in the next few months.


On a daily basis, I help them on the social media and the blog. With my fran-glish, it’s a little bit complicated, but some of my posts are liked by more than 3,000 followers, it’s not too bad. I have fun playing with Kona’s Instagram: I can test and learn with an account followed by more than 80k followers. I enjoy that lot!

My Most Important Work

Then, the most important part of my work for these first weeks is to translate in its entirety the writing for the 2018 website into French. It’s super cool and one of the perks here is that I can have a look at all the new models for 2018, which makes me dream, sweet!

But don’t get me wrong, translation is not an easy job! Even if I’ve done a lot of translation in my studies at school, it’s always more difficult when it’s the reality, for a real website, and it’s complicated. For example, how do you translate singletrack, or shred, or flat mount into French? If you have an answer, I would be pleased to receive it, haha.

In English, one word can mean a lot of things. In French, we like to describe things precisely. For one word in English, you’ll have sometimes six or seven words in French. As a result, to maintain the same number of words in accord with the room dedicated for it on the website, you have to make some choice, or sometimes change the sentence completely to keep the main idea in a different sentence.

In a nutshell, you will understand the website, so enjoy it – maybe even be a bit indulgent. It will be nice that your 2018 Kona website will be translated into French and German and Spanish. You’ll be able to spend even more time on it to read the description of your favorites bikes, in your language.

The First Week of Sophie at Kona Bikes!

More than being talented at work, Kona’s employees are killing it in their personal fields. It’s like that at Kona: they don’t hire you on your resume only, and even less for your educational background. They really look at who you are.

Photos and words by Sophie Bossier.

Last week I told you about my first impressions when I arrived at Kona Bikes for the first time. If you missed it, read my first article about my internship at Kona!

Within the Kona family where I work we have a World Champion of Downhill, a former top level BMX racer, a professional skier and mountain biker… and the list goes on. It’s so incredibly inspiring to be around people that push the limits, living life and exceeding their resumes.

The craziest is Richard, or Dik, or Richard – lol’ I don’t really know, this nickname is confusing for me – please refer to my first article and you will understand. Dik Cox was on the ground level of the MTB world you know today. He rode before there were trails built on the North Shore, and long before the mountain bikes that we see today existed. Dik has a big quiver, and he rides them, every day. He is THE guy, like the guy who gets up at five in the morning to do three hours of riding before going to the office. And everyone knows him in the bicycle industry here in B.C.

In my day-to-day I work closely with Kona’s marketing team. There is Caleb Smith, Kona’s brand manager, who is also a professional photographer. He was the founder of Spoke Magazine in New Zealand before coming to Kona. He speaks with a strange New Zealand accent, and sometimes I don’t understand him. In addition, he’s a strong advocate of New Zealand’s culture. He’s nice and very professional.

Next, Morgan Taylor is the writer at Kona. He has almost 15k followers on Instagram and is very connected to bicycle culture. He once lived in a house of twenty square meters in the forest and you have probably already heard about him in one of his funny videos or his article on the Radavist.

The head of marketing, Eddy Marcelet, is my internship supervisor. Eddy lives in another riding mecca, Nelson, B.C., and he likes really steep natural trails. And I would not dare to tell you anything funny or obtuse about him, sorry. I’m so happy to be part of their team, and I know I’ll learn a lot about marketing working with them.

Many of the employees have been working here for ten years, twenty years and thirty years. That says something about the commitment, the culture, and the great company Kona is. One guy worked here before Kona existed. This guy makes good coffee too – coffee is a religion here. I was almost fired when I said that I didn’t like coffee, haha.

More than half of the employees here work outside the office, from home, as they live close to the forest – because their playground is the forest and its various trails that it can offer them by bike.

I understand, behind Kona’s bikes, it’s all amazing and talented people. They take great care with the Kona brand and its bikes as if it was their baby. So when you ride a Kona bike, think about that.

If you want to know more about my colleagues, you can watch the series of My Kona Videos dedicated to them. There you will be introduced to the whole Kona family, including the Kona USA employees who are crazier than here, I am told, haha.

My First Days in British Columbia

I think I’m lucky, really lucky. My schedule is really cool. I am able to get into my biking gear, don my knee pads and my helmet and get on my bike for an after work ride in the forest behind my home – or to shape some trails and jumps that the teens of the family I am living with are making for fun with their friends.

Then, on the weekends, I have the opportunity to travel and do a lot of things with my two wheel machine and my boyfriend. All the more so as I’m able to borrow every bike I want in the Kona demo fleet. From road bikes, to enduro or fat bikes, to downhill bikes, the choices are almost endless. This week I chose a Kona Process 167, the perfect bike for what I planned to do.

Last weekend, we went to Squamish, between Vancouver and Whistler. Squamish has a long history as a MTB destination, and some of Kona’s employees live there. Lots of well-known personalities of the bike industry and lots of trails builders live in this town too.

The drive to Squamish is beautiful: it’s so nice to drive along the coast and some of the islands in Howe Sound. We rode the extremely steep 19th Hole, and one of Squamish’s most popular trails, Half Nelson. We rode Full Nelson too, which is very fun, flowy trail, with four kilometers of berms, rollers and jumps throughout.

I have stars in my eyes. Squamish is definitely such an incredible place to go, and it’s so close to my home. I am living the dream, my dream!

Sophie is Living the Canadian Dream at Kona

Earlier this year I sent my application to Richard Wadd, and I’m now a marketing intern at Kona Bikes in Vancouver, B.C., Canada.

Photos and words by Sophie Bossier.

Please allow me to introduce myself – my name is Sophie. I’m a 22 year old BMX racer and MTB rider from France and I am now in Vancouver with my single suitcase, my bike, my boyfriend and my questions as baggage – haha. I would like to share my adventures with you through a weekly report about my trip and my experiences at Kona in B.C., as a French female rider and as an intern with the fabulous Kona family.

My trip to B.C. raised a lot of questions in my mind. Where is the best place to live? Is Canada different than France? How are the people there? How do they live? Will I experience culture shock? Will I be able to speak English? Is Kona a big company? What does it look like? How is the team? Will I have the opportunity to be involved in the marketing team? Will I have the time to ride my, or their bikes? How are the trails in B.C.?

After one week in Vancouver, I can answer a few of my questions, and I can tell you with no doubt that I’m excited for all that I am experiencing. It is only just the beginning!

The Canadian Dream

Culture shock? Yes and No. Yes, but in a very positive way. In Vancouver, the culture is organized around bikes. In France, people turn their heads in the street when you wear your full face helmet, you don’t ride on the road for fear of getting crushed by a car, and most believe it is nonsense to spend more than $300 on a bike. Vancouver has a culture that encourages and revolves around riding, with bike paths everywhere, a wealth of bike jump parks, endless trails, bike shops on every corner, pick up trucks full of $5,000 two wheeled machines at every stop. Here, riders are kings, nobody can stop them, except maybe bears. There really are bears here and I am excited to see some.

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I live in North Vancouver, near Deep Cove, in the Seymour mountain area with a nice family. Only 2 minutes from the nearest enduro trails, 3 minutes from the dirt jump park, 5 minutes from hiking, 10 minutes from the BMX racing track, 15 minutes from the downhill trails, 30 minutes from the biggest Canadian indoor bike park, 45 minutes from Squamish, 1h15 from Coast Gravity Park and 1h30 from Whistler. In a nutshell I am so happy. I will skip all the details for now and tell you more in my next article where I will introduce you to my incredible agenda for the next few months. I am living the Canadian Dream.

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My First Day at Kona Bikes

Don’t try to find a big brand new building with a Kona Bikes sign with employees in suits… Kona is more like the cave of Alibaba for riders: once you have found the building – and it’s not that easy to find – you enter and discover the treasure!

Bikes, everywhere. At first a showroom at the entrance with all the best pieces from the new lineup. Then, an excess of bikes everywhere, from the hundreds of archive bikes and frames suspended from the ceiling to the prototypes hung on the walls and hundreds of derailleurs and forks right out of the box with all kinds of other components. Looking for an unusual part? You’re likely to find it here!

They gave me a tour of the company. It’s easy – 2 floors, 4 offices, hundreds of bikes and my future colleagues, which could be counted on the fingers of two hands. However, I hear the US headquarters in Bellingham, Washington is a bigger playground. I get the hang of it.

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On my first day at Kona I was introduced to my new colleagues. The first one I met was the guy I sent my application to 3 months ago. They introduced me to him, telling me his name was Dik. I found this confusing. I didn’t understand because I wrote to Richard Wadd. They all found this so funny, laughing and explained that the shortened slang name for Richard is called Dik, it’s like a nickname. They laughed again and explained to me that in writing to richard.wadd@konaworld.com, I wrote to dik.wadd@konaworld.com. Damn! And then it got worse. They told me what Dik Wadd means. Too funny, imagine me, a carefree young French woman who has learned English only in books.

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And that is Kona – all things are like this at Kona. It’s cool, quirky sometimes but really fun – I guarantee it. But don’t be mistaken, Kona is a very serious company – you’ll see it in my future articles.