R.I.P Mr. Thomson
Long ago I travelled to Sin City with a bunch of crazy Norwegians. Our mission was to find a distributor or manufacturer for the G-Shok, a suspension seatpost. This when hardtails were pretty much all you could get unless you wanted a 40lb full suspension bike to ride chairlifts with. Other than the amusement of watching a bunch of the most Aryan looking Norwegians you have ever seen bounce to Snoop Dogg and pour 40’s in the street “for all my dead homies”, the highlight of the trip was meeting Ronnie Thompson himself.
All weekend guys from Thomson would stop by our booth and fondle the G-Shok. All of them kept saying (in a thick southern drawl) “we goota git Ronnie to see this thang”. I had never met the man and since up to that point my only exposure to Southern folks was Foghorn Leghorn and the Dukes of Hazzard I was expecting Ronnie to stroll up in greasy overalls with a coon hound. I was way off.
Mr. Thomson finally stopped and immediately stood out from hung over, “got anything free” shop rats. He was wearing a suit and he was wearing it in a way that didn’t seem forced, he looked like he should be in a suit. He asked a lot of really technical questions that our engineer was really excited to answer. We only had a few post that were hand made prototypes so when he asked if he could buy one instead of the look of shock and disbelief we had grown accustomed to, he calmly reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out 3 crisp Benjamins from his eel skin wallet. The guy had class. Infact to this day when I hear the term “Southern Gentleman” I think of that day in Vegas.
L H Thomson Company would go on to become one of the premier manufacturers of seat posts and stems, every one of my ‘cross bikes has a Thompson post. G-Shok quickly faded away as the Norwegians decided it was easier to take advantage of Norways generous welfare programs than to actually work and functional full suspension became a reality. I would go on to found a pseudo religion. Go figure.
Mr. Thomson lived in The Big Ring for 68 years. This past weekend he rode it into the great beyond. 53×11 Mr. Thomson, 53×11.