Posted by Editor on 02/22/21
We are sorry to report that Lance Bohlen, one of the early participants in the Rocky Mountain bike brand and an influential member of the bicycle industry has died at the age of 64. Bohlen died after a long battle with lung cancer, despite having never smoked; he said that it may have been attributable to his years around noxious substances as a frame builder.
Bicycle Retailer has an excellent report on Lance's prolific career in the bike industry here, so I won't repeat most of it, but do want to provide my personal recollections of Lance and his contributions to the Canadian bicycle scene.
I first met Lance in the late-80s, when he was an early member of the group that was building the highly influential Rocky Mountain brand, out in Vancouver. I was down in Los Angeles for the Long Beach trade show and Rocky had a small presence at the show. As fellow Canadians [Lance was actually born in the U.S., but his family moved to Canada in 1967], we were invited to get together with Lance, Grayson Bain, Mark Norris and a few others at their hotel in the evening for drinks.
We showed up at the equivalent of a Motel 6 and there were 4-5 guys crammed into this tiny hot tub drinking beer ... they invited us to join them! We declined to strip down and get in the tub, but we did have beers and spent the evening talking about this new and exploding mountain bike phenomenon. Lance, Grayson and I were all about 6' 6", so we formed our own little group.
Unlike many of the people who were more marketing oriented, Lance was a product guy; he could spend hours talking to you about design ideas and his talent was quickly recognized, as he moved to Specialized to get involved in their unique Globe commuter bike program and their nascent road program. From Specialized he went to Schwinn and Pacific before helping revive the KORE component brand and then to FSA, where he finished his career as his battle with cancer became more difficult. I ran into him at the Taipei Show just after he had joined KORE as an owner, and we joked that now he was interacting with me [as a member of the media] as a marketer, something he had always avoided.
Although we remained in sporadic contact by email, the last time I actually got together in person with Lance was in 2012, when he became Managing Director of U.S. Operations for FSA. At the time I wrote: "Throughout his bike industry career Lance has held jobs covering virtually every aspect of bicycle production from shop mechanic, frame builder, service manager, product manager, product development manager to general manager. He has supplied both Road and MTB racers at the highest level, and remains a die-hard fan of all types of bicycle competition."
The bike world has lost a creative and passionate individual.
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