Jeff Zell, on the left, heads up operations for Panaracer and Minoura here in the U.S. I got to know him after I wrote Peloton’s eighth issue. He charmed me in his note and it was easy to become friends after that. While it’s a big industry, I was amazed that we had been working in it for so long without meeting. Next to him is the irrepressible Francis Cebedo of MTBR. Francis and a good beer are always close, if not actually in-hand. Time spent with them is time spent smiling.
Kimberly Lawrence works in operations for Assos at their one-time North American headquarters in Quebec. She’s the person I touch base with about sizing before I place an order. She was one of the people who dropped me regular notes of support when the Deuce was spending his time in the NICU.
Greg Bagni is an industry legend for the way he turned Schwinn around back in the 1990s with the Homegrown campaign. Remember the tomatoes? He’s done a number of things since then but these days he works more behind the scenes with Gary Erickson’s venture, White Road Investments. He consults with their investments, helping guide them through their growth. He’s also known for his alien schtick which includes some very fun socks, which will appear in an upcoming post.
Billy “Souphorse” Sinkford is one of the principals of Echos Communication, arguably the biggest PR outfit I deal with on a regular basis. I’m not sure I know anyone who works as hard at cultivating and maintaining good relationships with the media.
Marc Azevedo is the Yuba employee who sold me my Spicy Curry and after it was stolen, he was the person who noticed that there was a tweaker riding around on a rattle-can-white Spicy Curry (they came in green back then) and contacted police to tell them that was my bike. Once I sold the utterly destroyed recovery, he sold me a new one (this time factory white).
I’m not given to bouts of envy but Chad Moore is one guy I envied intently … until just he recently. He just moved back to Colorado after three years in Annecy, France, working for Mavic. The idea of working abroad for a bike company is something I continue to fantasize about.
Allen Lim is one of my two go-tos for nutrition information as well as fresh ideas on entrepreneurship. He’s creative and rigorously logical, my kind of guy.
Mr. Grimy Handshake, Mike Ferrentino. While most of us think of him as a writer, he has made the move to PR (in addition to other projects), which, theoretically, should give me more time with him. I gotta look into that.
My grad school alma mater, UMASS, has produced a number of current and former bike industry professionals. Ken Avery heads up product and marketing for Vittoria, which means he gets to design tires and then talk about them, for a living. I see lots of smiles like his—the look of someone who loves his work. He also deserves an extra nod as a guy who has gone out of his way to stick up for women in the industry.
I don’t often get worked up about meeting famous people, but when Ken Avery told me that one of the world’s foremost extreme skiers, Glen Plake, yes, Mr. Mohawk to you and me, was a cyclist, I had to know more. So he brought Plake over and introduced him to me. There’s more to this story, trust me. This was one of my favorite moments of the week-long run.
Like you, I’ve been reading about Sonya Looney’s exploits for a few years now, but I’d never had a chance to speak with her. Met her in the Primal booth and holy cow, if more athletes were this smart and well-spoken I think it wouldn’t be so hard to find sponsorship.
Until very recently Andy Pemberton was the CEO of Panache Cycle Wear. He’s been terrific to work with, though that has come to an end for me. Felix Magowan, the once and current owner of VeloNews, has tapped Pemberton to head up the new publishing company as CEO.
After the Hearst purchase of Bicycling, several people were sent packing, to the dismay of their colleagues, like me. Ron Koch is someone I’d gradually gotten to know at press intros and liked him immensely. Down-to-earth and with a wealth of experience, it was always illuminating to talk with him. He has since landed Pivot, which means I’m likely to have more interaction with him now.
If there’s a job I admire more than any other in the world of bikes, it’s the one this guy does. Austin McInerny is the executive director of the National Interscholastic Cycling Association—high school mountain biking. Bringing more kids into the sport requires a lot of support for their program.
Nick Legan is the other, slower, half of the intrepid Legan duo. In the years he and I have judged the awards at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show he has become a trusted friend and a valuable source of insight on the tech front. His new book “Gravel Cycling” is definitely worth a read.
After a lifetime on the West Coast, in and around Santa Cruz, Sean Coffey pulled up stakes and headed to Colorado to work for Stages Cycling, the power meter company. I first got to know Sean in the ’90s when he was an editor for Bicycling Magazine.
The guy on the left is Ty Buckenberger, an engineer with Santa Cruz. Prior to Santa Cruz he was at Specialized where he worked on bikes like the Roubaix. And prior to Specialized he was at Felt where he and I worked together. On the right is another former Felt co-worker of his, James Winchester; unfortunately, Winchester and I didn’t have the chance to work together at Felt. Winchester just recently parted ways with Masi, to my disappointment because I thought he was doing terrific work there, but I’m interested to see where he lands next.