For the last six years running we’ve invited Kona dealers from all over North America to come ride bikes with us in Bellingham, Washington. Sure, there is work to be done as we present to them, in vivid detail, our entire collection of new 2016 bicycles. But of course, there’s some serious fun to be had as well. With our Lake Padden test tracks just minutes away from the Lakeway Inn, featuring the legendary trails of Galbraith Mountain, and great road and gravel loops through picturesque old-growth forest, the riding’s a real treat. And then, when all the “work” is done, well, its time to refuel on great food and good times.
On night one of each launch (we host two two-day launches over five days), we take the gang out to our Kona USA headquarters, where there’s a pump track, neglin and a blind Humu pinyata competition. On day two we start off with our first ever Big Kahuna Crew awards, where each of our reps recognizes one of their dealers for outstanding commitment to Kona. Then, after meetings and a big afternoon ride on Galbraith, we head down to the Pacific Ocean, for beersbee, corn hole (you need to see it to believe it) and the award ceremony for our annual photo contest (check all the entries out on Instagram #konaride2016), featuring great prizes from Rock Shox, Sram, Fox and Giro.
Over the course of the two launches we played host to nearly 200 dealers and some 260 participants. Some shops are brand new Kona dealers, while others have been selling Kona’s as long as we’ve been in business. From Halifax, Nova Scotia to Knoxville Tennessee, Texas all the way up the Yukon territory in the far Canadian north. What we enjoy the most over the course of the week is the camaraderie, knowledge sharing, and experience that happens when you put people who share deep passion for cycling in the same room. It’s special. There’s something about two wheels and a human motor that brings out the best in people, and every single person in attendance was an absolute joy to have.
For the first time we invited nine members of the press to join us in the first session. World class publications like Bike Magazine, Peloton, MBR, NSMB, and Dirt Rag were on hand to test out our new fleet of 2016 bikes. Highlights of which are the new Hei Hei Trail, Honzo AL DL, the Roadhouse, and the Private Jake. Look for reviews of these bikes to be hitting news stands and websites in the coming weeks.
From all of us here at Kona, thanks to everyone who helped make this incredible event possible, and all of dealers who took time out of their busy schedules to ride Kona. Photos by Caleb Smith.