Rad People Who Ride: Ian Schmitt and Kona Bicycles

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A stallion of a man.  Long flowing mane of sheer mulletude, the seasoned squint of hardened determination, coordination rippling from...


THIS is NOT Ian Schmitt.

This is... well... This is the Majik Man.  You know, Don Majkowski, obviously of the packers.  Excuse me, the PACKERS!  You can read about him HERE.  I hear the Majik Man's a real estate investor / contractor now.  Ian mistakenly sent me this in hot anticipation of an upcoming PACKERS / sea hawks game.  Not sure how the game went.  Based on the outcome of the Super Bowl, guess it didn't go as hoped.

Aha, this is Ian Schmitt.  Who is this Ian you speak of?  Ian cares.  Deeply cares.  He cares about doing the right thing, getting the job done, spec'ing the bike right - as in the way you'd want to set it up, or how the bike shop would want to set it up for the customer.  He came from bike shops.  He loves bike shops.  When you see him, he'll be wearing a bike shop T-shirt.  Beyond that, the shirt will probably have something on it that you'd only really get if you worked in a shop - like a pie plate, something causing pinched fingers between spokes while attempting to remove, heaving a complete build out of a box.  Ok, that's the wrong way to do it, fine, something I'd take a screw driver to while losing my patience.

It goes beyond the shop shirts and references.  At Kona RIDE this past summer, Ian stood alongside other KOnaWORKERS in an alright watcha got manner of Q and A before dealers.  The funny part was, Ian knew who was asking the question seemingly before he saw them.  Maybe he recognized their voices, heard the town they were hailing from; he hadn't forgotten his people though he'd moved from sales to product a year or so before that.  I really took notice of this from all the kind Kona people, left a profound impression on me.

There's also an impeccable sense of humor and an overwhelmingly underplayed modesty residing within the Wisconsinite.  Man oh man have I been hassling, shaming the poor man into filling this out this questionnaire, always to be prompted with a "but I ride like a hack," or "no need to highlight me" type of retort.  Finally, pretty sure it's now years later, he sent it back.  He was on vacation.  So, I asked him if I could use this photo:

 Many e-mails following and this photo has yet to be admitted to.  It's Ian winning the single speed category of the Cascade Cream Puff - 100 miles in Oakridge of nauseatingly good thin singletrack over heaps of gut-wrenching ridges.  The man doesn't like compliments.

When he moved from sales to product he let me know that "I'll still be here, same height, weight, etc, so you won't have to update your contact info," and that pretty perfectly epitomized Ian - succinctly humorous in a look at the world sideways modestly practical sort of way.  The guy rules, I can't say enough good about him and he sure can rip, ain't no hack about it.

Name: Ian Schmitt

Home Shop and City: Kona Bicycles; Product Manager for Bicycles Without Suspension Designed for Multiple Surface Applications. Bellingham, WA (Go Packers!)

Favorite WTB or Freedom product: Cross Boss 35mm. This tire is the best tubeless CX tire on the market. I can run 26PSI in the front and 28PSI in the rear and ride trails without burping or flatting. Great tire and keen to see the future.

Better believe the Cross Boss rules.  Ian putting it to the test, shaming the circuit.

Or, favorite WTB or Freedom related memory (please elaborate): I went on a Bike Drive with you when my finger was mangled.

Favorite Local Ride: Big trail bike loops. Lapping in as much variety as I can. We are fortunate here in Bellingham to have world-class pedal access only trails that cover a variety of styles and terrain.

What's better than big trail loops? Sending it in a dress.  Bad photo quality, amazing time had.  Pretty sure I was there.  We rookies huddled at the bottom like school kids awaiting some sort of assembly.  Ian went up.  Time passed.  A dress came hurtling off the rock at us.  Game.  Blouses.

Background, how’d you get into riding? Knee injury forced my hand. Wasn’t able to run any longer so I bought Specialized P2 as my first “mountain” bike. Moved to a more urban area and started riding fixed gears. Found out that they’re way sweet with big tires and good brakes. Started riding farther and farther. Started touring. Hooked ever since.

What kept you going with it? The adventure and the freedom. The silence and the aggression. It’s the best.

Tube or Tubeless, why? Tubeless. I’m not a heathen.

This is your bike.  This is your bike on tubeless.  Any questions?

3 most important things to bring with you on a ride? Tube and patch kit, Pump, Rain shell.

Craziest thing you’ve seen or witnessed on a ride? My buddy Frankie riding a really harsh steep to 6 foot huck to flat on a hardtail 26” bike with flat pedals. The end was like the start of Jurassic park, where the ferns are just wiggling but you don’t really know what’s going on. He’s alive and well but it was full on. 

Most important lesson to teach the groms? Play the long game.

Left my wallet in… (fill it in): My other pants. Can you get this one?

Anything you’d like to plug, courtesy of WTB’s blog?


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