The name Hans Rey may be short on letters, but it’s absolutely huge in mountain biking, and has been since the sport first came to be in the mid 1980s. And for all his travels, he ranked Hong Kong highly on his recent visit to film TransHongKong, released in spring 2020, for his YouTube channel.
“It’s very impressive. I think Hong Kong has the most impressive trail network and mountain biking community that I have seen [in Asia],” he said. “Mountain biking is growing worldwide, and is becoming more popular. This is even more so now that we have quality trails that are also beginner and family friendly.”
The German-born Swiss lived in California for most of his pro career. At 53 years old, the trail riding specialist still manages to stay relevant by working with the International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA) to encourage trail building and helping others to take up the sport. .
“We got to ride many of the local purpose-built mountain bike trails [in Hong Kong],” the former world champion said. “They were well built and fun. It is so great to have lush nature so close to the city. We also explored the city by traversing it on bikes, from Kowloon Peak to Tsim Sha Tsui, and also Victoria Peak to Central.”
Aside from making films, such as TransNapoli, Rey has his own Wheels 4 Life charity. This he runs with his wife Carmen, and they help to provide bicycles to impoverished and remote communities around the world.
Great riding was something close to the top of his agenda for his trip to Hong Kong.
“We rode in the New Territories. There are lots of great trails. Tin Man Trail was the highlight and was very cool. I rode there with a local rider known as Tiger.
“The South Lantau Trails were also very nice. We rode Chi Ma Wan loop, which was fantastic – a proper and scenic mountain biking loop of 18km. Then we also rode all of the new trails at the Bike Park – where they had many trails,” he said.
“Lamma Island; this also had a great trail network and we met up with a local rider, and his friends, who showed us around the island and the best trails, There were great trails around the new Lama Wind Power Station.”
“The trails are well built and maintained by the locals and the local trail association, including the IMBA representatives and various trail building companies that have been hired,” he said, crediting two people in particular, HM Lim, from Singapore, and his guide Hongkonger Nick Dover, who owns a coaching company called MTB Hong Kong.
Getting to know the local biking community is also a big part of his adventures, including in Hong Kong.
“We met quite a few riders and ran into many local riders on the trails,” he said.
“They were very enthusiastic riders with nice bikes too,” he said. “The local trails are very busy on the weekends, and I recommend visiting business travellers and tourists to rent a bike and explore the trails and nature on their next visit.”