I have returned from the great White North with tales of mild intrigue and mediocre adventure. The whisky flowed like beer, which flowed like wine, that in turn flowed like water. Fair maidens were bedded, and foes were slain. Giant birds of prey soared overhead while rivers were conquered and the stench of my laundry bag rose to the Heavens.
Before I get into anything, I would like to mention that simply due to the fact that I have an abundance of crap to shovel, I have, for the first time ever, broken today’s post up into two parts. It’s either just that epic, or I’ve completely lost the ability to edit myself.
As I mentioned whenever I mentioned it, I’ve spent the week in the vast wilderness that is the Pacific Northwest. I was doing double duty there you see, as the couple who consummated their relationship all of those years ago which resulted in me, also reside in the region. The secondary motivation for the trip was to accept the generous invitation from the good people at the Kona Bicycle Machine Company to partake of their goodwill and to see first hand the wonderment that they are launching this year.
Before I get into the meat of the matter, I feel the need to mention that should you ever get the opportunity to ride bikes with a bunch of fast-asses from around the country, on some of the best trails this side of the Mississippi, you perhaps shouldn’t loaf around with your parents for days beforehand;
It’s been said that I have my parent’s eyes.
It was truly a nice, albeit probably undeserved getaway, and I did what any self respecting person would do and partook to excess;
Suffice it to say, such activities don’t do a whole lot for one’s fitness.
Once I loaded my fat ass into their car and they dropped me off at the hotel where KONA WORLD!! was to take place, I had to shift gears from lay about son, leaching off of Mom and Dad’s teet, to lay about web logger, leaching off of Kona’s teet.
Surprisingly, the transition was quite fluid.
Upon arriving in the hotel’s grand ballroom, I took note that this was just like Interbike, but with only one company, and busier carpet;
The above photo may have been taken at any point over our three days together, as it looked the same any time we were collected there. We all may have been drunk after partaking of Kona’s 3,000 tall boys of Pabst, or we could have been wandering around after Tuesday morning’s powerpoint presentation;
There were a whole lot of things that transpired in that room that I either didn’t understand (round table meetings with dealers) or couldn’t partake in (placing orders with shops). During those times I was either in my room watching cartoons, riding bicycles in circles with the hope that I could find my legs, or hobnobbing with tall celebrities;
I’m six feet tall, and my camera was pointed straight in front of me.
After the initial presentation, and introduction to the new line, I scampered around snapping off a few blurry images;
As you might recall from an old HTATBL post which I can’t link because it no longer exists, I’m a big fan of kid’s bikes. Not the chincy, cheesy, crappy kind, but the bad ass smaller versions of their big and highly sought after brothers and sisters.
To me, they are akin to a really good Van Halen tribute band, except all of the members are midgets.
That said, Kona’s got them in spades with their Jake and Kula 24s;
Or their Stinky and Shred of the same size;
I also meandered by one of their new city bikes, appropriately called ‘The Band Wagon’;
I asked if they remembered the old Blue Collar Band Wagon that we had reviewed in the September 1999 issue of BIKE Magazine;
They notified me that they did not. Upon notifying Blue Collar’s CEO, CFO and head welder Robert ‘Robio’ Ives of the affront, he replied to me in text;
“I imagine the statute of limitations regarding bogarting unpatented model names of bike frames built by companies that legally never existed may have expired.”
Apparently aside from the other hats Robert wears at Blue Collar, he has now donned that of company lawyer as well.
Anyway, I can’t neglect to mention a few other stars of the show;
Their new line of cyclocross styled athletic pursuit bikes are just too pretty. I haven’t ridden an aluminum cross bike in years, but for Jake and his brother The Snake, I might make an exception.
I was also quite taken with Kona’s line of women’s specific bikes, though not enough to actually get a descent photo of them;
When I had finally had enough of the mental torment that was the carpet, I ate sandwiches and then ventured off to find my previously reserved bicycle. The Kona crew had several different rides we could choose to partake in, ranging from a gravity run in which you could get your very expensive bike driven up the mountain, because despite all of their technological advances, apparently cannot be pedaled up hill. You could do a lazy round the town ride on Bellingham’s wealth of bike paths, a fast guy ride, or a really fast guy ride.
I opted for the fast guy ride, as a week of whisky and home cooking wasn’t going to be doing me any favors.
I also opted to ride a suspension bike for the two days I would be in Kona’s care, because to ride a bike that I was used to I thought would be a disservice to a quality that Kona is known far and wide for. I also thought that with my limited perspective on this type of bicycle, I could try and approach it with an open mind.
“Who knows?” I thought. “Maybe I’ll even enjoy myself.”
The steed I chose to ride was their over-the-top, 100 mm front and back Hei Hei 29 Supreme;
My partner in crime for these two days was the (even when he’s out of shape, he’s in better shape than you) Nate from Lincoln, Nebraska’s Monkeywrench Cycles;
-whose steely gaze demands that you tune in on Monday for the exciting conclusion of “Stevil Rides A Suspension Bike” or “We Changed The Town’s Name To Bellingbacon”. There will be chills, thrills and the consumption of pain pills.