It was March 11th 2020, Hans and I were on board a flight from LAX to London Heathrow with a plan to spend time in the UK. The plane doors were locked and passengers belted, as we waited to taxi when the Captain announced news of a travel ban for people coming from Europe into the U.S. At this point it didn’t include the U.K, but for how long?
There were anxious rumblings from many passengers on board as permission to disembark was given people to those that wanted to. We had to make a decision fast, to stay on board or go, we chose to go.
It turned out to be the right decision.
Blue Derby and St. Helens, a seismic story about the power of a mountain biking nirvana.
Two seismic events hit the small town of Derby located in the north east of Tasmania; the first was a dam bursting in 1929 releasing a torrent of water that rapidly sluiced through the town washing away houses and lives. The second colossal époque was and continues to be mountain biking.
Who would have thought that a small mining town decimated by tragedy, then deserted by big business could have a renaissance of such magnitude. This re-birth did not come about by accident, but rather by progressive thought, planning, determination, sheer dogged mindedness and genius trail builders.
By Hans Rey
Photos: Carmen Rey
I can see how this headline might raise a few eyebrows, but please, bear with me.
In November of 2019 I met up with two old friends from the Southern Hemisphere, in Queenstown New Zealand, where Henry van Ash lives. He is one of the persons that invented / commercialized Bungy Jumping and made it a global thing and one of New Zealand biggest tourist attractions. He has also been a long time and passionate mountain biker with one of the most impressive bike collections he gathered from over the years. Recently he started a Heli Bike company that transports adventurous mountain bikers to the remote back country.
Hans Rey and top Enduro racer Martin Maes explore Hong Kong in a 5 day urban adventure during turbulent times. Not only to showcase this amazing city with its 7000 high rise buildings, but also its beautiful nature and purpose built bike trails surrounding the city and islands. It’s a wonderful journey of contrasts; nature and harmony versus urban jungle and chaos, culture and history.
A 5-day urban adventure in Italy - from the Amalfi Coast via Pompeii, Vesuvio Volcano, Napoli and Ischia Island on MTB and eMTB
By Hans Rey
Photos: Martin Bissig
About 2000 years ago there was a gigantic explosion releasing 100,000 times the thermal energy of the Hiroshima atomic bomb. Mount Vesuvius volcano erupted and spew its lava and ashes over 20 miles into the air; several Roman settlements were obliterated and buried underneath massive pyroclastic surges and ashfall deposits, the best known being Pompeii and Herculaneum.
Napoli, as the Italians call the city of Naples, was my most recent destination for yet another ‘urban adventure’. The idea was to traverse this historical city and surrounding area on bikes in 5 days. From the breathtaking Amalfi coast, via Pompeii to the crater of the Vesuvio, into the urban jungle, history, culture, traffic and chaos of the 3000-years old streets of Napoli to the beautiful island of Ischia in the Bay of Naples.
There is no better way explore and experience such a place then by bicycle. I was joined by different friends for different stages of this tour and it was really cool to meet many of the local riders who showed me their best spots, trails and restaurants in their hometown.
Finding the ideal route, best trails and most interesting sights, is a lot harder than one would imagine. I’ve been spending months researching online with the help of google earth as well as some local contacts.