Hans Rey Visits The Sunken City

Aug 8, 2013
by Dan Severson  
 
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Sometimes you don't have to go too far from your front doorstep to find adventure. That might sound like a cheesy quote from "The Hobbit" movie, but I believe it's true. In this case, the hero of our story is the man who was once called "The Indiana Jones of Mountain Biking", trials pioneer and legend, Hans Rey. In this adventure, instead of searching for a holy grail or buried treasure, we were in search for unique and challenging terrain to take his bike. Although Hans has traveled the world and ridden his bike in locations that most of us only dream of, this day would be more of an urban adventure into a zone that is as mysterious and dangerous as any. With stories of gunfire, drugs, and even death looming over this location, we were not really sure what to expect, but we did know one thing: when it gets close to dark, we need to get out!


Things weren't always this way though. The now condemned property in the city of San Pedro, California, used to be home to a residential neighborhood that fell victim to the plans of nature. Back in 1929, a chunk of earth roughly 400 by 1,000 feet began to slide towards the coastal shore below. Many of the houses on the location were able to be saved, but with the combination of waves constantly hammering the bluff and the weak clay soil, the property was doomed to exist in its previous state. Then, in 1941 a waterline break accelerated the landslide, and the remaining houses were evacuated. What is now left behind can best be described as a urban wasteland. Huge slabs of concrete float on shelves above the ocean below. Palm trees and pieces of sidewalk riddled with graffiti, broken glass and other unmentionable objects litter the once peaceful seaside neighborhood.

Warning: Even though the Sunken City is accessible, it is illegal, and anyone entering does so at their own risk.

After slipping through the gate, we made our way through the cracks and crevices, looking for possibilities. Hans was on his second day of testing the new GT Sensor 27.5" bike, and wanted to put it to the test in a different environment. Although technically a trail bike, it was more than up for the task.

It took a bit of time scouting lines here. The ground can change drastically, and lead into some nasty holes or drop-offs if you're not careful.

Hans finds a nice little drop and scrapes the top of his helmet while threading the needle.

A sight that would put a tear on any tree hugger's face. Spray painted plants are only something a true vandal would find pleasure in. And, if your going to party here, at least finish your beer for crying out loud!

Aiming for the boulder in the middle to stay on this narrow ridge. The area offers an amazing view of the Pacific Ocean, but getting to close to the edge would result in some serious consequences.
Side note: If one were to look closely, you may spot some prototype gear being worn here.


The area overlooks a major sea port which imports and exports goods from far away lands. I'm pretty sure the Ark of the Covenant is tucked away in one of those crates.


The face of a man who has taken his bike to the ends of the earth and back. Hans is truly a living legend.

Hans crushes a broken heart (painted on the ground) with his love for riding.


Riding a flowy bit of single track above the ruins.

You got to represent when you're in "The City of Angels." Hans throw'n down a gang sign for his favorite team.

King Neptune was pleased with this wheelie atop his throne, but not so much with the flat tire from all the broken glass.

On the more treacherous areas, Hans chose his smaller trials bike to ensure safety. This drop was definitely a bit scary to watch.

As the sun set, we made our way around the corner to a cliff overlooking the ocean. Not too many people would feel comfortable riding on such a narrow ridge, but Hans has the experience to give him confidence in this type of situation. He also has a parachute tucked in his backpack in case things really go wrong.

This sexy mermaid lured us into Walkers Cafe for a cold brewski after a tiring day. Luckily, we were able to escape her trance, and make our way back home. Overall, we had a great day and were glad that everything went as smooth as it did. The next adventure is just around the corner.


69 Comments

  • + 30
 Amazing location!
  • + 34
 No way...
  • - 36
 bigtim has a tiny brain.
  • + 18
 The people that negged this comment really are f*cking idiots. His name is Hans "No Way" Rey....what a bunch of f*cking idiots....but that's Pinkbike, a bunch of tools.
  • + 6
 I rode with him on Cypress mtn a bunch of years ago. He schooled all of us on our own trails, while he was riding a little hardtail with v-brakes. Such a good rider.
  • - 2
 The location is pretty cool. Does anybody know anything about this place. Was it just the result of a big land slide?
  • + 2
 @bmar... this is all explained in the beginning of the article. Or, just use google.
  • + 2
 Ooops. Thanks, I guess its one of those days... Is it the weekend yet?
  • + 1
 No sweat... dont mean to be a dick, but ppl would razz you about that
  • + 3
 Rupintart, can you please expand on the latter pert of your comment, i am curious as to why PB people are all tools. I kinda feel i have been labelled and i reckon about 800,000 other Bike riders would agree! This site would be nothing without the people. Granted there are tools on the internet everywhere tho, mostly kids hiding behind their computer screens who wouldn't say boo to your face if confronted.
  • + 1
 pink bike is freaking awsome. its like all mt biker's home away from home. why on earth would you EVER talk trash about this site gravelmans is right
  • + 3
 A large portion of this community are entitled kids who carry mom and dad's credit card and buy/sell a practically un-ridden bike just to get the new model and post it up in the "my ride" threads. More power to them for being able to swindle mom and dad and I'll admit I wish I was as lucky in that regard. But if you ever really pay attention to a lot of the comments (the one I responded to is a PERFECT example) on both the forum and on the main feeds....the amount of ignorance kills me.

Like any community, there are a few really awesome people that really make the community awesome and worth coming back to, but unfortunately for PB the awesome are the minority.
  • + 2
 Fair enough, i see where you are coming from now. I still have massive respect for this community tho as i dont know another sport with anything quite like it! Only trouble is that its too easy to spend heaps of time on here. Wink
  • + 2
 This how a legend do at 47 years old!
  • + 1
 im sorry rupintart how was my comment ignorant, i was just saying how this is one of the best websites ive been on. i came across this site a couple years ago and this is what got me into mountain biking. and just so you know i cant afford a new bike like these snoody rich kids. i had to build my bike out of out-dated random parts. every time i walk into my local bike shop i cant help but notice the peoples smerks and grins as i walk it in. This is where i buy most of my major parts. the rest are either found off another bike or i have to make them ie: direct mount stem, chain guide (upper and lower), pedal grips, bash guard, tire sidewall patch, my front brake housing is off an f-ing lawnmower
don't judge a book by its cover dude
  • + 2
 PB is where almost every mtb'er starts at, well, atleast of the more recent internet generation. It's done a lot for the community, no doubt. I just think the trolls are what kill this place. The trolls are the reason a lot of the mtb community also stays away. I'm a member on other forums and it's almost unanimous on every forum that PB is full of personalities and kids that makes it un-enjoyable to frequent here, but is nice/good to check the newsfeed and the classifieds. So it's a double edged sword....one side is just sharper than the other.

PS, @cory, I never singled any body out except the people who negged the comment (which I don't even know who they are.) So...if you think I thought your comment was ignorant or I singled you out...well, if the shoe fits and you seems to think so...well, I don't know what to tell you. And as far as judging a book by it's cover, unfortunately, the majority of the kids are nothing more than the cover....
  • + 0
 love how all this is in response to my comment... hehe
  • + 1
 good point but what are trolls im kinda new to the whole internet talking thing
[Reply]
  • + 9
 So much respect for Hans Rey. Great story and pics
  • + 1
 Hope to be bouncing and tearing as long as he has Smile
[Reply]
  • + 6
 This is where Hans excels. Riding stuff people don't usually ride. He just doesn't have the fancy videos like McAskill (and he should).
[Reply]
  • + 0
 This article gives out a Dogtown vib so cool!
As a side note: Hans Rey hasn't had a trials bike since his days riding a 20" mod...what he uses for trials is a modified XC hardtail kinda like Ryan Leech.
This is a trials bike: www.echobike.com/images/pure/pure-front.JPG
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I have know hans for 20 years . One of the best bike handlers on the planet , he don't.care about being flashy he just loves to ride . He is a true ambassador of mtb. And one of the nicest people you will ever meet .
[Reply]
  • + 1
 that location is five minutes away from my house... yet I have never thought to ride there... there is some pretty good AM/DH riding about 5 or 10 minutes north of there that would be a cool featured story
  • + 1
 Good riding in PV? Are you on crack?
  • + 1
 yeah bud... you ever heard of del cerro or pisswater?
  • + 1
 el cerro is dope... but im def checking this place out
  • + 1
 its pretty hit and miss getting in there sometimes... its like Angels Gate. hard to get into sometimes
[Reply]
  • + 2
 I've never heard a kind word spoken about crankbrothers wheel sets. Have they finally ironed them out ???
  • + 2
 I doubt it. lol. probably gets sets for free tho
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Nice pics, no stopping Hans. He really is the legend on any bike any size wheel he going to make it happen. Nobody telling on you for riding illegal spots either lol.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 There's so much broken glass there Met Hans last spring super nice guy very approachable
[Reply]
  • + 1
 His kit is so colorful he blends in with the graffiti! That must be how they avoided any unwanted attention.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Awesome write up and pics. Used to skate near there back in the early 90's at the 7th st. banks I think?
[Reply]
  • + 2
 I live like 10 minuets away from this place. Why didn't I know about it?
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Reminds me of the Albany Bulb. And that was a great place to ride.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Legend, loving the continued coverage of Hans, he's still got it!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Wow! I need to explore SP more. Didn't know that was out there. Hans can definately make anything awesome!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Sounds sick! Wish I had the chance to take those photos
[Reply]
  • + 1
 God, the new GT's are some nice looking bikes
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Looks like Mexico. .. New crank bros 650b hoops.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Great rider. Great pics.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Bunny Rabbit Hansey!!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Mermaids and beer? What could be better!! Razz
  • + 8
 Topless mermaids serving beer Smile
  • + 1
 Uh, mermaids are topless.
  • + 1
 Every mermaid movie ever made has them covered up, just sayin. lol
[Reply]
  • + 1
 your an exemple for all of the world....keep living....!!!!
  • + 4
 If you are going to correct grammar, at least do it correctly yourself.

*You're
  • + 1
 How come i missed the capital letter at the beginning of a sentence. Thank you, enlightened one... ...tally-ho!
  • + 4
 Who gives 2 shits? This is a bike forum, not grammar school and I am sure English is not the guys first language.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Hans is the King.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I hope i'm still that good when I reach his age! He is a legend!
  • + 3
 Unless you are as good as a young Hans Rey right now, chances are you won't be.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 26" wheels on a 27.5 bike! crazy!!!!!
Wink
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Ya buddy. Nice stuff.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Fancy clothing!
  • + 1
 He has always been pimped out in the clothing department(no need to mention the skills department).
Oops, kind of just did. Go Hans Go!
[Reply]
  • + 0
 Hans Rey is god.
[Reply]
  • - 3
 is it 1983 or 2013 i'm confused. hang it up brother. let someone else sell bikes.
[Reply]
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