Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Q&A with Hans Rey

Photo by: Carmen Freeman

Hans Rey, aka "No Way Rey" is one of the pioneers of Trials and Extreme Mountain Biking. Rey has won multiple Trials and Extreme Mountain Biking Championships. The Hans Rey Adventure Team website further details his other awesome accomplishments. "Hans earned recognition with his jump over a car on the 405 Freeway in Los Angeles, with his volcano dance in Hawaii, his under water bungee jump, or his Machu Picchu Adventure. Besides his own successful video series he was also chosen as stunt coordinator and stuntman in Willy Bogners motion pictures "Fire, Ice, and Dynamite" and "White Magic"; as well as in the TV Show "Pacific Blue", where he occasionally has a guest appearance as himself. He's also been featured and hosted numerous TV shows and programs. At the 1996 Olympic Games Hans was part of an Extreme Sports Act and performed in front of 3.5 billion viewers in the Olympic Closing Ceremonies." 

Rey currently leads the Hans Rey Adventure Team. According to his website, "The Hans Rey Adventure Team was inspired by Hans' desire to utilize his unique mountain biking talents and go outside the competitive arena and explore the world, capturing all the cultural and spiritual qualities of his destinations for the benefit of millions of TV, video, and publication viewers. Riding waterfalls in Jamaica, looking for pyramids and a dwarfen tribe in China, amongst wild animals in Africa, in the footsteps of the Inca in Bolivia, searching for headhunters in Borneo, are just a few of Hans' journeys with his adventure team. These adventures around the world are many times highlighted with live performances in front of thousands of fans at sporting events, fairs, conventions, and other special events"

For the future, The Hans Rey Adventure Team will focus on non-competitive activities and adding high-profile athletes from other sports to cross-pollinate the mission of the team. To capture live, in print, on video tape, and film the regional culture and spiritual aspects of the adventures with the fun and fitness that goes along with it."

Rey is also a philanthropist. He is the Executive Director of the Wheels4Life organization. This group provides bikes to people in third world countries who may need them to get to work or school, etc. Hans graciously agreed to answer my questions and be featured in this week's Q&A.

Photos by: Carmen Freeman
Jennifer-You are quite the decorated rider. What is your greatest athletic accomplishment?
Hans Rey-I've been blessed with a great career. Maybe the fact that I"m still riding professionally at the age of nearly 45 years and living my dreams could be my greatest accomplishment, above and beyond my Trials World titles, Mountain Bike Hall of Fame induction or my pioneer work as a Freerider.

Jennifer-Have you always been a philanthropist?
Hans Rey-Not in the sense I"m doing it nowadays - I think it takes time and age for most people, including myself, to get to this point. I've been fortunate to make my hobby my job and travel the world - eventually it just seemed natural to give something back. Especially after realizing what a different meaning bicycles have in the Developing World.

Jennifer-What inspired you to create the Wheels4Life charity?
Hans Rey-It was part of seminar I attended, called 'Landmark Education'; I was supposed to organize a project - I decided to give away 50 bikes - soon I realized that it wouldn't just stop after the initial project and also that the need for bikes is tremendous. I started to look into starting a 501c3 and took it from there....

Jennifer-How many bikes did your organization give out last year?
Hans Rey-We gave away about 500 bicycles in 2010, to date we have sponsored over 80 projects in 20 different countries

Jennifer-To me, a bike means fun and exercise. What does a getting a bike mean to people in poor countries such as Tanzania?
Hans Rey-Bikes are existential and often the only tool one has for a better life, no matter if its to get to school to get a proper education, to give or receive health care or to become an entrepreneur - like transporting goods to the market. One bike is often used by many family members for different chores and reasons. Having mobility is key in the Third World, but it often doesn't exist or is available or affordable.

Jennifer-What is one of your favorite memories from your work with Wheels4Life?
Hans Rey-Meeting some of the people and seeing/ hearing first hand how the bikes have changed their lives. A small sacrifice for us can go a long way in most countries.

Jennifer-How can people get involved with your organization?
Hans Rey- The best way to help is by spreading our word and by organizing local fundraisers, no matter how small. Our new documentary film is a great tool to hold screenings, and the film perfectly shows how important bikes are and how we as a charity work. The DVD is available on our website: http://www.wheels4life.org/  for $ 10.


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