Hans ‘No Way’ Rey has been pushing the limits on what is humanly possible (hence, the nickname) on a bike for decades. After rising to the top of the sport as a trials rider and freerider, he took to traveling the globe and exploring cultures, trails and wild terrain by bike. His Hans Rey Adventure Team exploits have been filmed and shared with millions, inspiring people, young and old, to get out on two wheels.
Rey made a name for himself with a number of publicity stunts on this bike, like a photoshoot in gridlock traffic on the 405 Freeway near Los Angeles on top of car, bungy jumps with his bike, his wild ride on ropes down a 14-storey skyscraper in New Zealand, his legendary ride along the 600 ft. high ledge at the Cliffs of Moher and his bike dance on the volcano in Hawaii surrounded by hot lava on the edge of a boiling ocean.
Whether he’s enjoying flow trails of Tasmania or riding up and down Mount Kilimanjaro, Rey revels in exploration…of the land, the people, and the history behind it all. And as a true pioneer in the sport, the Mountain Bike Hall of Famer gives back through his charity, Wheels 4 Life, which he started in 2005 with his wife, Carmen.
Interview: Ben Osborne
Welcome to MULTIPLICITY 2018. Can you introduce yourself?
I grew up in Germany as a trials rider. When I was 20, I was basically considering retiring. Little did I know, my career was just starting. I had an invitation to come to America—an American trials rider told me there was a new sport called mountain biking, before the “boom” really kicked in. So, I thought, “Why not do that for a year or two to end my career in trials?” I wasn’t there right at the start [of mountain biking], but I went through the whole evolution of the freeride movement. One year became a pretty long career, and I’m still at it.
Twenty-nine years with GT Bikes—probably the longest sponsorship in action sports—how did you pull that off?
I love what I do. I embrace new trends that come with the sport and that keeps me going. Whatever trend it might be—new handlebars, a new discipline, a new movement. What YouTube was for Danny MacAskill, was VHS videos for me. Those videos put me on the map, and started a new era.
“When I was 20, I was basically considering retiring… I thought, “Why not do that for a year or two to end my career in trials?” One year became a pretty long career, and I’m still at it.”
How was working with Danny MacAskill?
Danny grew up watching my videos. The best thing about Danny is he’s always open to new and fun stuff. Danny and I have been friends for a while, and he always wanted to come on an adventure with me. I think he’s inspired by me in a way. I think it gives a lot of young riders hope that their career doesn’t have to be short lived. We had quite some drama on our last trip to Kilimanjaro—Danny had to be rescued by helicopter at one point.
Hans ‘No Way’ Rey. There must be a good story with that name.
That’s a nickname I earned early on. When I first came to America, they had never seen a trials rider of my level. They would throw me on these challenges and say, “Try this!”, and then they would always say, “No way—no way, Rey!”
Events like Red Bull Rampage can thank pioneers like yourself for being around and helping with the culmination of freeride. How do you envision the sport being pushed further? With projects like Kilimanjaro?
I think the sport will be pushed in many different directions and more subcultures will emerge. Nobody could have imagined today’s level of riding 20 years ago, and it may be similar in 20 years from now. The sport will evolve on many levels, be it on top level of competitions pushing the limits, like Rampage, or be it with urban adventures, and I’m sure there will be a niche for E-bikes as well.
“I think the sport will be pushed in many different directions and more subcultures will emerge. Nobody could have imagined today’s level of riding 20 years ago, and it may be similar in 20 years from now.”
Do you have any big projects lined up for the next year?
I’ve been getting into ‘Urban Adventures’. Recently I did the TransAngeles, a five-day traverse of Los Angeles including the beautiful nature surrounding the city, but also the city with its landmarks, culture, chaos and remote neighborhoods. I want to do a Trans-Napoli and Trans-Hong Kong next.
What inspired you to start Wheels4Life? How was it influenced by your own experiences?
I wanted to give back. Cycling has been good to me and I have seen how bikes play a very different role in many parts of the world. I wanted others to have the opportunity to live a better a life thanks to a bicycle, just like I had the opportunity to live my dreams thanks to a bicycle.
“Cycling has been good to me and I have seen how bikes play a very different role in many parts of the world. I wanted others to have the opportunity to live a better a life thanks to a bicycle, just like I had the opportunity to live my dreams thanks to a bicycle.”
Hardest thing you’ve ever done on a bike?
Climbing Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya back-to-back was gnarly—I nicknamed this trip “Double Trouble.”
With too many championships to count, countless summits, discoveries, and epic video projects—what keeps you going in the mountain bike world? What drives you to push it further?
I get constantly inspired and I want to inspire others. I’ve been talking about retirement or quitting since I was 16 years old, I always say, “a couple more years…” I’m always curious what the next level could be and I can’t help myself but stick around to find out firsthand what’s next.
Imagine sitting around a campfire telling stories, then take that experience and multiply it. That’s MULTIPLICITY at the 2018 Ski and Snowboard Festival. The annual event, presented by Mountain Life Media, captures human beings’ rich tradition of storytelling, then elevates it, adding in visual elements of photography, slideshows and video. The result is best compared to a TEDTalk® on adrenalin, with stories brought to you by explorers, athletes, outdoor thought-leaders, and passionate personalities from the mountain world.
Hosted by Mountain Life editor and emcee extraordinaire Feet Banks, MULTIPLICITY is a must-see celebration of true-mountain and adventure culture, and one hell of a good ride. Plus, the event is a special flagship fundraiser for the Spearhead Huts Project.
This event premiered in 2013 and has been a sell-out success each year since – don’t miss out. Grab your tickets today.
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WATCH BRETT TIPPIE’S 2017 MULTIPLICITY PRESENTATION
He was among the first to snowboard at Sunshine and Blackcomb (at the time two of the only places you could in Canada), he’s competed in over 25 World Cup events and represented Canada on the National Team in Snowboardcross and Giant Slalom. But Brett Tippie is most recognized for two things: 1. His larger than life personality, and 2. Pioneering freeride mountain biking… Watch video