Michael Bonney…10 year time warp
February 01 2011
To celebrate their 64th issue and ten years working out of their dedicated Todmorden office, Single Track Mountain Bike Magazine are bringing back bygone hair cuts and revisiting interviews and articles from their first issue. First up, an interview with Orange Bikes' very own Michael Bonney...
The all seeing eye of the industry...just the right one...
Michael Bonney is all things Orange Mountain Bikes with 16 years as the lynchpin of everything from marketing, product, and sponsorship right through to test riding and vital roles such as tea making and the sandwich run. He was the man behind the Animal/Orange team, the Global Racing hookup, the direction and image of the brand as well as sales oriented roles, export and product management. Basically a man who is a
jack master of all trades. Back in the day though, he was younger and more foolish, read what he had to say about the direction of mountain biking and it's rising popularity. There'll be a follow up, we're looking forward to seeing what the Geordie bike nut is thinking the industry still has to come, keep your eyes peeled. Oh, and it looks like the bike industry bods were first on the Apple bandwagon, they still 'geek-out'...
SINGLETRACK: So, er, what exactly do you do at Orange?
Michael Bonney: I make the tea at 11 o’clock and sometimes at 2 o’clock too.
SINGLETRACK: Hmm. OK so how long have you been making tea at Orange?
MB: 6 years, 3 months
SINGLETRACK: And what did you do before that?
MB: What haven’t I done? Er.. financial services, lab technician. I ran my own bar for a while. Er.. what else…. Oh yeah! I worked for the MOD. Made rocket motors for a while. Not really a common link is there.
SINGLETRACK: Er no. Such a list would suggest that it isn’t complete yet. Any other plans?
MB: Ah well, with Orange there is always a new challenge. Something new to go do. For me it’s always been about doing what I want to do. Up until 6 years ago I had never really done what I wanted to do. There’s really no limits to what you can achieve at Orange.
SINGLETRACK: When you are not riding bikes what else do you do?
MB: Sailing, windsurfing, just get outdoors whenever I can. Er.. I’m a bit of a Mac enthusiast too.
Chipps: Really! Have you ordered your G4 powerbook yet?
Yeah, well. At this point I felt it was time to take a short break while Chipps and Michael rambled on about Macs and the merits of transparent plastic. Not really a problem since Michael also took this as an opportunity to demonstrate his skills as a barista with his fancy coffee machine.
MB: Latte? Espresso? Cappuccino?
One tray full of life-giving brown liquid later and at a suitable pause in the anorak computer discussion, I butted in to let the tape roll once more.
SINGLETRACK: Sorry to interrupt but how do you see mountain biking developing in the next 5 years?
MB: I think mountain biking as a sport has levelled off. You see less and less people on the trails now. There are fewer new people coming into it. There are still niches there and you will see more free riding and people just getting out and riding their bikes for fun. They probably won’t call themselves mountain bikers. I mean I don’t classify myself as a mountain biker. I ride bikes. I enjoy road riding and just about anything else on a bike. That market probably won’t be served by the major companies because they will be too slow getting into it. It will be niche companies like Orange that do well.
SINGLETRACK: What do you think will be the next big innovation in mountain biking?
MB: Simply bikes that will be easier to ride. Gear systems and brake systems will really improve. I also believe electric bikes will produce some interesting developments.