chris conroy interview
chris conroy interview

 I’ve been fortunate enough to meet Chris Conroy on many occasions. For the co–owner and President of a bike company he is accessible, approachable and friendly… and it may be a cliché, but he lives and breathes the sport. Back in 2001 he and some business partners purchased the somewhat ‘depressed’ Yeti Cycles. Over the last 12 years they have transformed the brand, somehow managing to regain the company’s hardcore grassroots image and style whilst keeping up with the demands of modern–day mountainbiking...

From Dirt Issue 138 - August 2013

Words by Mike Rose.

Who is Chris Conroy?

He’s a simple guy who likes to ride his bike.

Where do you live?

Evergreen, Colorado.

What’s your job title?

President, Co–Owner, Yeti Cycles.

What do you do?

We have really talented people at Yeti that do most of the real work. My main focus is looking at our long–term strategy for sales, marketing and product development.

How long have you worked for Yeti?

14 years in my current capacity.

How did you land the job?

It’s a pretty long story… I guess I bought my way in!

What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?

Working in a cemetery mowing lawns all day over summer break.

Where’s your favourite place?

My house in Evergreen. It’s remote, close to riding and cell phones don’t work there.

Where’s your favourite place to ride?

Shortlist: the trails that surround Yeti, Sun Valley, Moab, Crested Butte, Morzine area, Scotland and, of course, the secret trails around Dirt mag.

When are you happiest?

When I get to put in a mega ride with friends and then share a nice pint afterwards. I’m a simple man.

What makes you angry?

Politicians. Haters. Anyone that tries to limit trail access for mountain bikers.

What makes you happy?

Riding, of course. Especially with my two sons, Ben and Josh. I also really enjoy fishing and snowboarding. Anything in the mountains.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

My dad once told me to make decisions or someone else will make them for me. It’s great advice, but I didn’t listen to it until I was older.

What are your extravagances?

I have a thing for carbon wheels. I also like great food.

Who do you admire?

I admire anyone who takes on a challenge. That’s why racing is so pure – everyone out there is putting it on the line. I admire that.

What’s the most important thing in your life?

My family.

What would you never throw away?

I can be a bit of a pack–rat when it comes to old bike parts. I have some pretty amazing stuff in my garage.

What’s the first thing you do in the morning?

I am an early riser. I like to power down a couple good cups of coffee and catch up on emails.

What’s the last thing you do at night?

Jumping jacks. Really calms me down.

What would be your dream meal?

If it was a ‘last meal’ kind of thing, I would have to say Skyline chilli and a hoppy beer.

What things do you always carry with you?

Pants. And a shirt. Makes social situations run a bit smoother.

Do you have any regrets?

Sure, but life’s too short to focus on the past.

What’s the most important lesson that you’ve learnt?

I’ve learned to keep my wheels on the ground. Jumping is for young guys.

If you could have dinner with three famous people who would they be?

Joe Strummer, Ernest Hemmingway, and John F. Kennedy.

Who is your favourite rider?

Currently, Jared Graves is top of my list. He’s a machine. Ask me next week and it might be Richie Rude or Cam Cole…

What’s your favourite bike product of all time?

Dropper post. Hard to believe we rode without them for so long.

What’s your least favourite bike product of all time?

Remember neon tires and the horrible ads that accompanied them?

What’s your favourite motto or saying?

‘Should’ve, could’ve, would’ve’ and ‘a buck will get you a cup of coffee’.

What bike are you riding at the moment?

Yeti SB66 Carbon.

What are you listening to at the moment?

Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros. Helps me focus. 

What one thing would you change about yourself?

I wish I could grow more facial hair. I would bust the mutton chops and fashion my beard in ridiculous configurations.

What are your weaknesses?

I have the attention span of a Labrador retriever.

What does the future hold for you?

Hopefully, more riding around the world.

What does the future hold for mountain biking?

28" wheels?

How would you like to be remembered?

I have no great aspirations. If people remembered me as a good guy, that would be more than enough.