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!