Hans Jörg Rey aka Hans “No Way” Rey will need no introduction to anyone who has ridden a Mountain Bike in the past twenty five years. The GT Bicycles veteran has multiple World and National championships under his belt but it his consistently high media profile many will know him for best. Images of Hans’ spectacular mountain bike trials shows and adventures are amongst the most iconic in the sport and have graced numerous magazine covers and posters. Hans kindly took the time to answer 20 questions for us…
1) Retrobike: How’s life in 2012?
Hans Rey: Life is good in 2013!!! I’m still living the dream, I’m as busy as ever riding bikes and having fun. I would have never dreamt that I would have such long and good career. I try to stay relevant to the times and my age, inspire people to ride or live their own dreams all along while making sure the sponsors get what they are looking for. I’ve done some great trips to Haiti (MTB Ayiti Event), Kenya & Uganda, Southern French Alps with Dan Atherton and the Lofoten Islands above the Arctic Circle in Norway.
2) RB: Who first coined the ‘no way’ tag?
HR: That’s a nick name some American friends gave me when I first came to the US in 1987, It rhymed with “Rey”, which everybody called me at first, since they couldn’t pronounce my proper German surname, Hansjörg. It was a play of words to their reactions when they saw me do my trials moves and the fact that whenever they challenged me to try something tricky and someone said “No Way, that’s not possible” I saw it as a challenge to at least give it a try……I guess the name stuck.
3) RB: When did you last ride?
4) RB: Where did you last ride?
HR: At the Roc d’Azur bike festival in the South of France, I did a XC ride with Rachel Atherton!
5) RB: You and your contemporaries are many people’s heroes, who are your biking heroes?
HR: A lot of people are heroes to me for different reason from in and outside the bike world. Bike related I look up to the likes of Tomac, Nico Vouilloz, Lopes, but also younger guys like Danny MacAskill or Kenny Belaey. They all inspire me for different reasons, but necessarily everything they stand for.
6) RB: Who do you most love riding with?
HR: The Laguna RADS.
7) RB: Do you regret the passing of anodised turquoise and 3DV?
HR: No I don’t, but I’m glad I got to live through it, and I’m pretty sure it won’t be too long until it will come back.
8 ) RB: Or weren’t you aware it even went away (like some retrobikers) ?
HR: No, I noticed that it hasn’t been as popular as once – over the years I ‘ve seen a lot of trends come and go – for better or worse. It’s all part of the evolution and it’s all good.
9) RB: Regarding your bucket list of trails to ride, narrowing it down to one, world’s going to end tomorrow, where do you ride today? (or do you do something else?)
HR: I’m still waiting for the ultimate Flow Country Trail being built, something that will feel like a roller coaster and can be ridden without pedalling and without breaking, on any kind of bike. Imagine I giant train of hundreds of riders following each other……
10) RB: Do you have a personal favourite of all the epic images you have had shot of you over the years? The one on the stone plateau in front of the mountain range with a shadow springs to mind…?
HR: Yes the photo in Rio in front of the Corcovado Christ Statue is a classic and timeless – but I think I prefer some of the photos on the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland when I was riding the stone ledge with Peaty…..
11) RB: Hans, what’s your favourite cake?
HR: Cheesecake with fruit.
12) RB: In some ways bikes have hardly changed in a hundred years, but let’s be honest, they’ve changed quite a lot in the last 15 years. Do you have any particular favourites of all your bikes over the last 25 years that stand out as special?
13) RB: If so…how / why does it stand out as special to you?
HR: Hm, that’s not easy to answer. I still kept one of my old LTS bikes, even by today’s standards that bike just feels right when I sit on it or ride it. For some reason I usually always like my latest bike, not sure if it’s because they are still getting better every year…..?
14) RB: Have you kept your bikes from over the years? How many do you currently possess?
HR: I probably have about 30 bikes scattered at different places and probably another 20 frames or so. Here is a short list of some of the classics I still have: Zaskar frame I won Worlds, Mr. Jiggs mini Zaskar, Red Zaskar from Pacific Blue and Machu Picchu, Turquoise Zaskar from 1994 era, LTS, Gearbox Bike, DHi, STS, some 20inch trials bikes, etc….. I also have a lot of old trials frames, even from my pre GT days including some frames that were made by Mr GT (Gary Turner) himself. There is bike collector in Switzerland who owns about 18 of my previous bikes, you can watch a video on my website at the very bottom of the “Bikes” section, you can also see a few photos there of some of my old rides.
15) RB: Is your garage a retro goldmine full of parts and prototypes?
HR: I do have a lot of old parts and bikes in my garage, including some very early prototype parts from various brands.
16) RB: Desert Island scenario…you can have one luxury to keep you company….a bike? Or something else? What?
HR: My wife.
17) RB: Trials / DH / XC Trail…..pick one?
HR: Flavor of the day. I ride occasional trials these days, quite regularly XC-Trail and DH when I get the opportunity.
18) RB: Wheels 4 Life is something to be truly proud of. What else are you most proud of, or to have been part of in cycling over the years?
HR: We have many different niches in our sport, they all have different values and philosophies about their passion – it’s nice to get respect from many communities within our sport and it’s nice to know that I have contributed in one small way or another to the evolution/history of our sport. I am always honored when I run into strangers and being told that I’m the reason they are riding or something like that. Just as it is nice to get props from some of the younger generation, e.g. recently from Danny….
19) RB: Do you get more reserved a rider as you get older / wiser or are you still as open to pushing the boundaries?
HR: I think my riding is still as good as ever, in some aspects even better, but I don’t have the need to proof anything by pushing the limits. Maybe in a sort of a way on some of my adventures, but not as in being the extremest dude out there. There is a time and place for everything. That’s why I have also pulled back from doing trials shows these days, except occasionally. The days are also over where I would claim (or think to myself), that I would ride down anything anybody would do…..The stuff the kids can do nowadays, we couldn’t have even dreamt of, it’s nice to watch them taking it to the next levels.
20) RB: What does tomorrow hold in store?
HR: I guess, to do what I do best? I’ve been talking about retiring since I was 16 years old and that I would quit riding in another year or two. I guess I still have couple more years in me…..