Before Bryan Mason went on to fame as Global Sales Manager at Pivot Bicycles he pounded out sales as the Sales Manager here at Kali Protectives and, part of the reason we still love him, is he remains loyal to the brand. He can be found riding the most current Pivot whip and sporting a Kali lid on all the flowy Arizona trails.
And other than he fact he loves selling, vintage cars and throwing his leg over his bike, we also know a few other things about Bryan Mason.
1. He thinks Double Black Diamond trails are "flowy."
2. He thinks everyone should have a new bike every three weeks or so and doesn't understand anyone riding last years model.
3. "He’s the kind of guy that in a special occasion will order a root beer float before dinner because he’s afraid if he ate first he would be too full for dessert." -Jon Sacks, current Sales Manager.
4. Dr Pepper rules all others.
So sit back, pour yourself a ice cold Dr. Pepper and get to know Bryan Mason, the Jeep jumping, bike frame smuggling, Kali Krew member, proud girl dad and downright good guy with the following Kali First Friday interview.
I hear you are a car nut… Do you remember the first time you got behind the wheel? Tell me about it.
I LOVE cars, right now my garage I have My Tundra for my bikes, a 1994 Acura NSX, and a 1959 MGA 1600 roadster, just a few days ago I sold my 1970 MGB GT. I often get asked what is your dream job. I tell them I already have it, so the next question I get is always what would be your other dream job be? To that I respond with, I would help people buy and sell vintage cars.
The first time I got behind the wheel is actually a funny story. I was driving my moms Big Custom Chevy Van conversion on my permit. We were picking up my younger siblings from school. I parked on a hill and when I put it in gear it rolled back. I hit the brakes and thought I was only rolling back because of the hill. There was a car parked behind me and I was worried about rolling into it, so my next attempt I hit the gas a little hard to avoid the car behind me. Turns out I didn’t put the car in Drive I put it in Reverse! Maybe my 15 year old mind said R for Race? I did a decent number on the car behind me and had a rocky start to driving, but my dad was a car guy always had cool cars like a Supra, NSX, and Mercedes 560Sl so the rocky start didn’t deter me.
What was your first car? Can you tell me a favorite memory you have attached to it?
Honestly, my love for cars didn’t start with my first car. I Had a 1995 Jeep Grand Cherokee. It was a nice car and I really wanted an SUV with 4 wheel drive so I was blessed to have it. My favorite memory was probably the first time I jumped it, like most high school boys I drove up and over anything I could, my friends and I found a couple places in my neighborhood where I could get all 4 wheels off the ground. I ended up jumping that car many times, and got to be quite good at driving recklessly. It probably explains why the car only lasted 2 years for me.
What was your first bike? Do you have a story about your time riding that bike?
Like every kid I had BMX bikes growing up I would ride down to the mall or to friends’ houses. My first mountain bike was an Cannondale Steel Hardtail with a two inch head shock and cantilever brakes, I don’t remember the model name, I am not that old so it was FAR from cutting edge even at that time. My first few months of mountain biking were on that bike I was a college freshman. I hated mountain biking for the first few months. My now best friend in the world and I were just starting to hang out after we had become acquaintances when we were Missionaries in Chile. We both ended up at neighboring colleges in Utah (I know big surprise we both ended up in Utah. I had just moved and was with my new found friend at altitude pedaling a bike around that I had no idea how to control. I felt like my eyes were going to explode and that I was going to puke, the trail ran through aspen thickets and was rocky. I fell so many times I can’t count. It was a legit horrible experience that I vowed never to repeat. But when you are making a new friend its like dating a new person… sometimes you simply have to do things you don’t want to do to spend time with that person. So I ended up for several months joining my friend Brian up and down trails and hating it. Eventually the fitness, bike handling skills, etc came and I bought a full suspension bike and really started to love riding.
Where was your first big bike adventure? Do you have any funny/interesting anecdotes or lessons from the trip?
I have been so fortunate in my roles to be able to travel and ride all over the world. Early in my bike career I was working for a different bike brand I ended up visiting our distributor in the Dominican Republic. We spent several days visiting shops and I may or may not have smuggled unassembled frames in my luggage to deliver to these shops and help pay for the trip. After the visits we spent the weekend staying at a beach house with about 20 customers and we did two rides. The first ride was a Friday night it was about 60 Kilometers. I was riding flat pedals, and a size medium 29 because they didn’t have a larger demo bike, I am 6’3” so it was less than optimal. It was a good ride and I came back blown up, everyone stayed up late dancing, swimming at the pool and beach etc. So I got to sleep around 2:00 AM. We woke up the next day and started an 70 kilometer ride. Lots of climbing, lots of elevation heading up dirt roads. I felt like I was going to die and I cracked bad about 15 K prior to the finish of the ride. Two people had to push me as I pedaled in. The lessons were sleep more ride a bike that fits, and keep pedaling even when you are cracked beyond belief.
You are also a girl dad to the adorable Sydney and Collins! Can you tell us what it was like to become a dad for the first time?
Ha to be completely honest I really never wanted kids, and in some ways I still don’t enjoy being a dad. I would love to say the first time I held my daughter I knew I was supposed to be a dad… but that wasn’t the case. It took me a long time to grasp the idea of being a dad, it took me awhile longer to embrace being a dad. For me as my kids have learned to walk, and talk, talk back and develop their personalities I have developed more natural relationship with them and it has been much more enjoyable. Every Sunday I wake up drop one of My daughters in one of the vintage cars and we go for a drive, then I grab the other one and take her out. They get a little glammed up since its their only real adventure out of the house in Covid times and we talk and drive. That for me has been more of what its like to become a dad for the first time, it’s a process and I am still on that journey.
As a previous Kali employee, do you remember your first day at Kali? If so can you tell us about it? if not, can you tell us any other firsts you had while at Kali?
Brad and I became friends through a few industry events, Taipei Cycle, Dealer camp etc. I really enjoyed Brad’s passion, during one particular Taipei cycle I stopped and asked Brad to explain the technology to me, I was instantly hooked by his passion and his drive for the product I thought very highly of him and the brand. I honestly knew from the moment I met Brad that I wanted to be involved in his company in some way, eventually the stars aligned and we were able to start working together. It's crazy to think that was around nine years ago now. The company was a lot smaller, and in a different building, most of the staff was working in a spot that used to be the Kali warehouse and was now additional office space. I was living in San Diego and working remotely, so the first day I actually caught a flight in to San Jose grabbed a car and drove in. I remember meeting the sales team (Jason is still there!) and I remember the excitement I felt for the brand. Brad took a lot of time to walk me further through the tech show me future products etc. I think that first week I saw the clay mock ups of what would come to be the Maraka helmet.
You’re now Global Sales Manager for Pivot Bicycles, when was the first time you realized you could make a living working in the bicycle industry?
There is an article written By Rick Vosper several years ago Four reasons why you don't really want a job in the bike industry it’s a nice read and I think in General its accurate for the bike industry. That said if you come in work hard, bring a fresh perspective and have a real passion for cycling, you can certainly do well for yourself. You can live comfortably and enjoy life. Could I make more selling pharmaceuticals or copiers? Maybe, but I wouldn’t love what I do, what I sell, and who I sell it to; and I probably wouldn’t get to wear Sandals and shorts to work every day either. I think my realization of this started when I became the Global Sales Manager at Kali and has certainly culminated in my current Role at Pivot.
Is there one first you are still hoping to accomplish in your life: skydiving, become a pilot, drive a LaFerrari, etc...
I would love to drive a proper Super or Hyper car on the Nuremburg Ring.