Photo courtesy of Mike Kone
Mike Kone is one of those guys that has always been intrigued by the bike. More precisely, really NICE bikes that people collect and admire...and the parts that go into making them. You can meet Mike and many others like him at Sunday's Colorado Custom and Vintage Bicycle Expo. Read the short interview below to find out more.
303Cycling: How long have you been in the Vintage/Custom Bike Scene?
Mike Kone: Oh, gosh since..um...the early 1990’s. I kind of thought it would be fun to work with Vintage Bicycles. This interest evolved into a company called Bicycle Classics. It was the first of it's kind-- doing real vintage bike parts. We were located both in CO and Boston. I did this until 2002. I sold off it off and got out of the bicycle business.
303Cycling: You got out but...
Mike Kone: But...like so many of us in the bike industry, I relapsed. I got into the Rando (randonneur) Bike Movement. Found myself doing Bicycle shows like the The Larz Anderson show and other little events here over the years. That eventually led me where I am today--Boulder Bicycle.
303Cycling: As a connoisseur of Vintage and Custom bikes, what are some of your favorites?
Mike Kone:Well, I obviously have a penchant for Rene Herse bikes. We own the rights to produce new Rene Herse bicycle frames. [Editor's note: Okay, I had to google "Rene Herse" at this point to keep up with Mike while interviewing him on the phone. According to Wikipedia, "René Louis Théodore Herse (1908–1976) was a highly regarded French builder of ultra-high-end touring, randonneur and racing bicycles. His works are still sought after by collectors and riders."] I also like to play around with old Masi's. [Editor's note: (sigh) "Faliero Masi commenced making bicycle frames at the Vigorelli Velodrome in Milano in the 1950s, after a career as a professional racer and team mechanic."]
Photo courtesy of campagnolodelta.blogspot.com
303Cycling: Having seen, admired and been in possession of so many beautiful bikes, are there any bikes you wish you still had possession of?
Mike Kone: Hmmmm. I've bought and sold a lot of stuff but still have parts of my favorites. I won't say which ones. [Editor's note: Mike got really secretive at this point of our interview. I was actually expecting him to hang up. That secretive. I'm not sure if it's part of the allure of the Vintage Bike world, or if it was just to pique my interest. Either way, I was hooked.]
I used to have a fairly extensive collection of bikes from Mario Confente. He was an interesting one. When Masi set up a production facility in CA in early 70’s, he came over and ran the shop. Then he left Masi and went out and built 135 frames...and died at age of 34. So I used to have a number of those. But those were sold off. BUT there will probably be at least 1-2 Confente’s at the exhibit on Sunday.
303Cycling: Tell us who would enjoy a show like this?
Mike Kone: Usually the typical person is one of the following:
- The Enthusiast. This is someone who is more into the vintage bicycle collecting. They have a soft spot for early vintage bikes--mountain bikes included. Maybe they even rode them from the 1970's-1990's. We'll definitely have at least one old timer at the show who was--riding the bikes he'll be bringing in the 1940’s-50’s.
- People who are into high-end custom made new bikes; nice, handcrafted frames and such. Titanium, steel, carbon, etc.
- The user and collector mixed together.
Photo courtesy of italiancyclingjournal.blogspot.com
303Cycling: Who else will be there?
Mike Kone: The beauty of these shows is that you never quite know. We will have what's supposedly the earliest known Eddie Merckx production frame ever built. That will be pretty amazing. There will be vendors, builders, and a smattering of dealers who sell vintage. If you want to be teased into buying, we will have stuff. This is definitely a Tribe of sorts. A show like this is a chance to gather with this Tribe. For these individuals, there will be a high-end swap meet. We've asked that people bring really good stuff to the swap meet. It's a chance to show-off a little.
The event is being run next door camera show--it's a shared admission for $5. There is a surprising amount of overlap between vintage/high-end bicycles and vintage/high-end cameras. We take more trade-ins of camera gear than people would think. If you’re a cyclist, you like to go out and experience your environment. That type of person is often apt to have an appreciation for visual/spacial beauty.
303Cycling: Mike, anything else you'd like our audience to know?
Mike Kone: This show is the first of it's kind here in Colorado and hopefully one that will become an annual event. These are Vintage High Performance Bicycles. If you are expecting to see a bunch of cruisers and decked out low-riders, you will be sorely disappointed.
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