Hans Rey and Why the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame Matters

Oct 16, 2016
by Pinkbike Staff  
Images from the 2016 MTB Hall of Fame as sent over from Hans Rey.

A couple of weekends ago, the 2016 Mountain Bike Hall of Fame inductions were held at the Marin Museum of Bicycling in Fairfax, California. Right there near Mount Tam, where this whole mountain biking thing started some 40 years ago with a bunch of hippies and the Repack Downhill race on Klunker bikes.

In the past 18 years, the inductions were held during Interbike in Vegas. It often wasn’t the right setting or timing. People were too busy with other Interbike events and the Las Vegas ballroom setting wasn't inspiring. The museum in Fairfax gave the inductions historic glamor. We spent a whole weekend in the midst of legendary bikes whilst riding and rubbing elbows with the pioneers of our sport.

The Mountain Bike Hall of Fame has been around for 28 years and has to date almost 150 inductees. It used to be run out of Crested Butte, Colorado by Don & Kay Cook. Two years ago they passed the duties on to the guys in Fairfax, including Joe Breeze, Otis Guy and the rest of the Museum/ Hall of Fame board.

Images from the 2016 MTB Hall of Fame as sent over from Hans Rey.

Images from the 2016 MTB Hall of Fame as sent over from Hans Rey.

With the new board, a new approach has begun. A nomination committee with several experts and industry veterans has been created to vet applications and ultimately nominate the candidates that will be up for voting to be added to the Hall of Fame. Every nominee has to be shown as worthy of induction. Some folks that have been inducted in the past might not have got in by the new standards. Now the whole process has a much more global approach. It is important to make sure that nobody has been overlooked. Each nominee should have had a major impact on the sport or industry, a lasting ripple effect on a national or international level.

The Hall of Fame is not just for early bike designers, builders, and racers. It includes advocates, influencers, journalists, promoters, industry folks and Freeriders. Yes, Freeriders. The time has come to recognize the next generation of mountain bikers. Several persons and groups whose roots influenced or ignited Freeride have already been recognized. Others will follow in the years to come, not limited to shredders, but also filmmakers, promoters and other key figures who had a breakthrough and lasting influences on the scene.

The likes of The Laguna Rads Club, often recognized as the original Freeriders, and the Froriders (Wade, Richie and Tippie), the North Shore Builders (Dangerous Dan & Digger), Glen Jacobs (early Mudcow video, trail designer, Minjin Club, Inventor of 4 Cross), and yours truly have already been inducted.

More will follow in the years to come, but the active support and involvement of the Freeride/Gravity community are important. Once a person is nominated he or she is up for voting. Anybody can join the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame with a yearly voting membership ($30) to become eligible to cast a vote. For the last two years, Josh Bender has been nominated, but he hasn’t received enough votes to make the cut. His nomination will be up for voting one last time in 2017.

Images from the 2016 MTB Hall of Fame as sent over from Hans Rey.

Images from the 2016 MTB Hall of Fame as sent over from Hans Rey.

The Hall of Fame is also encouraging more international entries. That effort started in 1999 when they held the inductions in Italy, and it regained momentum in 2015 when the likes of Horst Leitner (Austria), Uli Stanciu (Germany), Glen Jacobs (Australia) and The North Shore Builders (Canada) got inducted.

There are a lot of people that most of us have never heard of, but when reading their bios and accomplishment, one quickly realizes that without them a lot of things would be different today or wouldn’t have happened in the first place.

Images from the 2016 MTB Hall of Fame as sent over from Hans Rey.

Images from the 2016 MTB Hall of Fame as sent over from Hans Rey.

It is time to preserve our history and honor our peers, those that have made a difference. Mountain Biking is only 40 years old and already so many people, trends, brands and ideas have come and gone. Let’s remember those folks that stand out and have led the way for many of us, helping us to fall in love with this sport or making it a little bit better.

This year’s list of inductees included none other than Missy Giove, one of the brightest characters and racers our sport has seen. Her personality and style changed our sport. Hank Barlow was an early Crested Butte Pioneer. He started Mountain Bike magazine and took journalism to the next level after Fat Tire Flyer. Hank's magazine helped shape our sport, trends, bikes and philosophy—not to mention that they put Moab on the MTB map. Roman Urbina started the epic stage-race La Ruta in Costa Rica 24 years ago. La Ruta was the first of its kind and has inspired many events in that genre around the world. Matt Fritzinger started NICA, the US high school mountain bike league. This has been the best thing to happen to American racing and the bike industry in many years. Over 11,000 kids are racing now in 18 different states. And last but not least, Jeff Archer, who was tragically killed this summer. Jeff was an advocate and bike shop owner, but most of all, a true historian, a collector of everything mountain bike who created his own museum.

Images from the 2016 MTB Hall of Fame as sent over from Hans Rey.

Images from the 2016 MTB Hall of Fame as sent over from Hans Rey.

It’s these kinds of people who are being honored and who have made a difference. Some of them are famous, others less so, but their contributions have influenced our sport and the way we ride.

If you are ever in the Bay Area, make sure you visit the Marin Museum of Bicycling in Fairfax and see the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame. Support their cause by becoming a member —keep the museum going and help shape the history of our sport.

Happy Trails,
Hans Rey

Images from the 2016 MTB Hall of Fame as sent over from Hans Rey.


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Member since Jul 22, 2013
3,455 articles

  • 45 3
 Gotta get Bender in 'ere. Prob' make the little guy's life. Smile

More importantly, as egotistical as he is, he belongs in 'ere as much as anyone & more than most.
  • 9 0
 Couldn't agree more
  • 9 0
  • 4 0
 Become a member so you can vote!
  • 6 0
 From Trenton Ontario I doubt you have any experience besides seeing some videos. That dude is a nice chill guy with a good friendly vibe.
  • 6 1
 @jflb: yeah, Bender is a great guy to ride with and hang out with.

one of the friendliest pro riders I've met, and I've met and ridden with many Wink

nothing but respect from me for Bender
  • 5 1
 First person I thought of was Bender - It' just doesn't seem legit without him. - and get his Karpiel in there too! Seeing that alone is worth going there.
  • 3 4
 I'm just not seeing the Bender vote. Plenty of dudes have the guts, but it's the stomping that earns the cred. I'm glad he was one of the "first" to do it for sure...just not ranking his skills in the same camp as the others among the early Huckster brethren.

  • 3 1
 @preach: You gotta brush up on your history, bud.
  • 5 5
 @scott-townes: dude I'm 43... been biking for 25 yrs. you?
  • 2 2
 @preach: That video is almost sad. And it didn't even include the most famous one where he ends up sliding across the road unconscious. I swear I still have VHS tapes with most of the crashes. You make an excellent point.
  • 5 3
 @preach: Funny, I'm 29 and have been biking for as long as you! Wink Regardless, your age doesn't mean you have a good understanding of biking history- especially freeriding.
  • 3 1
 Bender should be in there, regardless of his skills or quirkiness! Everyone is all over Rampage, remember who introduced that zone and that style of riding.
  • 2 0
 @trialsracer: Wade and Zink - at the Rampage beginning credit him. So true, if people think he shouldn't be there, because he crashed a lot - ridiculous. Look at what he was pushing - and on that bike no less! Vote Bender in!
  • 2 3
 @scott-townes: yeah dude I'm sure you were an expert as a toddler hahahahahaha
  • 2 0
 @hampsteadbandit: Yes! Totally. It's just amazing he never sustained major damage - paralysis or even death.
  • 1 1
 @preach: Myself being a toddler when those events haven't occurred yet shows you have very little knowledge about this part of mtbing history. Once again age doesn't equal wisdom... just overconfidence with a side of bragging in this case.
  • 1 1
 @neimbc: He kinda did with two fused vertebrae. gnarly stuff.
  • 23 0
 Some people donate there intire lives to this sport . Most of the time behind the scenes out of the spot light , making sure we have places to ride , races to race and keep the sport alive and well . Not every one can be a John tomac or Shaun palmer . For many who make out sport great this could be the only public acknowledgement they receive. We should support all those who contribute to mountain biking not just the brands and the competitors
  • 22 0
 Missy the missle is cool. She sold some weed after she couldn't ride DH anymore.She had to quit riding for medical reasons. No sponsors no income no college education. She knew how to ride a bike DH really fast. What she really wanted to do was get more young girls and women into the sport after her forced retirement but she couldn't get it off the ground financially. So she sold weed. So what? She showed up at the 2014 WC in Windsor NY on a borrowed bike after not riding for 5 years and qualified. She then finished in the top 20 in finals if I recall. All this after being warned by her Dr. that another concussion could simply be the end of her. Why did she ride that race? Because her wife who's dying of cancer wanted to see her ride in a WC race as a bucket list wish. When asked by Warner why she took all that risk.... "Hey I did for my girl ok?!" Yeah she's a total badass and ok in my book.
  • 1 0
 Hell yeah! She didn't hurt a soul; read the story about her "crimes" if you have any doubts. One of my favorite riders of all time
  • 12 4
 I'm generally inclined to listed to what Mr Rey has to say, but I don't really see an answer to "why does the mtb hall of fame matter" in this. Even after reading this, it still seems like pointless self-congratulation; the Emmys (or whatever Hollywood award) of mountain biking.
In general, if someone feels the need to write a 'why x matters' essay, it's usually safe to say it does not (if it did matter, the fact would be obvious).
  • 9 0
 By your own reasoning, you having to write to say it does not matter, proves that it does. Logical death spiral.
  • 1 0
 It's important to recognize milestones and the contributions to the sport that progressed it. I'm generally anti-establishment but when you consider the broad picture, it's clear that these type of things help legitimize us as a cohesove group of recreationalists and showcase our positive history
  • 9 0
 Can we get bike checks for folks like Hans Rey?

It would be cool to see what someone riding hard for so long chooses in their setup.
  • 1 0
 Second this
  • 1 0
 He would ride whatever any of his dinosaur buddies in the bike industry will give him.
  • 24 17
 I don't see the point of these "halls of fame" . Must be an american thing .
  • 24 5
 Must be. Kind of like throwing logs and wearing skirts is a Scottish thing!
  • 4 1
 History is pretty important, as is paying your respects by learning about stuff.
I understand the question about fame...just think of it as a group of 'insert xyz sport/subject' whom accomplished great things.
Having a cool place to meet, ride, and party is rad
  • 5 2
 Yup. No museums in Europe. No monuments glorifying long dead kings. Ozymandias & all that. Way to dodge the scam that is historical nostalgia Scottland!
  • 3 0
 No one more born and bred 'merican than Hans Rey... Oh wait. He is freaking awesome tho!
  • 7 4
 They have Halls Of Fame, we have museums!

The big problem though is their US-centric look on the past when viewed as an outsider. Understandable as the US and Canada are big countries with lots of mtb legacy stories to tell, but they do seem to forget that other parts of the world were innovating and pushing boundaries too. The UK has a different look on things for example with purpose-built trail centres for all abilities and our 'unique' climate dictating bikes be a lot more waterproof than ones used elsewhere. The L/T hardtail used in all weathers is a pretty UK-specific bike!

The main difference though is that the US is good at patting itself on the back and shouting 'Look what we did!' whereas we're a bit more reserved when it comes to that sort of thing. For example the original trail centre in the UK just celebrated it's 25th anniversary, that's 7 years older than Whistler Bike Park but I doubt many people over the other side of the Atlantic know where it is. The US and Canada would have a massive party with it being all over the media, bid 'edits' etc whereas we had a get-together, a race or two and that was it. Just different cultures.
  • 2 1
 @DaMilkyBarKid: There's no comeback for that statement
  • 2 0
 My first mountain bike was in 1991, I was 30. Guys like Hans, Ned and Tomac were raging. We rode like crazy around Texas and Colorado. In 1995 I destroyed my bike on vacation. The next month I got a Trek Y-33. I still ride it on local trails or to burn off negative energy after work. Now the Y bike sits in the Hall of Fame. I guess I'll keep it a few more decades.
  • 5 1
 A museum that might be worth venturing into America for! Bike nerd heaven I imagine
  • 3 0
 if you dont follow them on instagram JUST DO IT! they give a pretty good use to instragram stories.
  • 5 0
 Could someone caption the photos so we can put names to the faces?
  • 1 0
 Perhaps a different takeaway is that everywhere and everyone has a hall of fame. Sometimes the reach impacts beyond our own little world and affects far flung places. The answers to the questions of "Who?", "What?", and "Where?" gives us the answers to the "Why?".

One could argue that just like there is no one definitive, all-encompassing museum (Hall of Fame happens to attract more of the populace than museum in the US) of anything within the world, there is no equivalent in the cycling, let alone, the mountain bike world. This locale happens to be one of the birthplaces of this idea, and has people and a community (despite many reports to the contrary) willing to support it and the sport it cherishes.

"Where is your Hall of Fame?"...does your local shop, park, or town celebrate its history, or do they allocate it to a corner because it's not important right this second? All the more reason to celebrate and share those places that put it front and center.

Personally, it's more impactful to be located where the action started, is dealing with many of the same access issues we all see, and where you can actually go for a ride (Crested Butte and Fairfax fit both of these molds, as do many other places.)

Again, "Where is your Hall of Fame?"
  • 3 0
 RIP Jeff Archer - glad to see this happen. I loved browsing his vintage bike collection online.
  • 6 1
 Crested Butte
  • 1 2
 Bring it back where it belongs!
  • 1 1
 Ironic place name really, considering what sitting on a bicycle saddle can do to your anatomy.
  • 2 0
 @racecase: They did.
  • 2 0
 Correct me if Im wrong, but isnt Marin County around 13% mountain bike friendly trail wise? Yet, they have a hall of fame?
  • 9 1
 Pretty sure it's a lot f*cking worse than that. Over 90% of the single track there is illegal. On the fire roads, old ladies throw themselves down ravines to fake assaults by mountain bikers, footpeople "plant" endangered species and unskilled perimenopausal horse riding douches expect you to unmount your bicycle and bow down to their f*cking marginally trained 1200lb skittish prey animals.
  • 1 0
 @ezwheels: don't forget the 15mph speed limit and rangers with radar guns.
  • 1 0
 @ezwheels: Well damn that's even more depressing. Hall of fame resides in one of the few locations where mountain biking has a severe speed limit off pavement. Makes you wonder if the Hall of fame was located there to help deter the non bike community?
  • 2 0
 It's kinda like IMBA headquarters being in Boulder.
  • 3 0
Funny that a biker, whose bike stops moving when the rider does, is looked down upon by someone who may or may not be able to stop the huge animal they've shackled themselves to and forced to trot around the woods with some fatass on their spine.
  • 1 0
 I live in Marin, I volunteer as a docent at the Museum/HoF, and one of my bikes hangs on the wall there.

Every weekend I see hundreds of mountain bikers in Fairfax, there to take advantage of the bicycle only singletrack and flow trail at Tamarancho. The town economy runs on bicycles, with two big bike shops and two bars that cater to the mountain bike crowd. Plus, of course, a museum of bicycling that a passionate cyclist could spend all day in.

You're right, mountain biking in Marin is so popular that nobody goes there any more.
  • 2 0
 @RepackRider: I got a question as Im not familiar outside of the PB articles that put it on blast this past year. If they make a decent amount of revenue from the mountain bike community, why is there not a stronger voice for Marin? I know I would be a little disappointed if I lived in an area that survives due to the bike market, yet they have less than 10% of the available land LEGAL for mountain bikers. I guess you would think there would be more support/collaboration with the bikers to the horseback/walkers/Anti-bike people, but maybe not? Im sure there are positives to living there, but damn Marin sounds like a bitch of a sell out to me.
  • 2 0
 @coot83: Because the ageing hippies who fought against the war in Vietnam need a cause to fight otherwise they feel impotent. And anti-mountain biking is that cause. They want freedom and liberty for all, just as long as you enjoy the environment THEIR way. I lived in the area for three years and have had friends go to California to go riding, and I never even mentioned Marin as a destination. It is a perfect place for a museum because Marin riders only ever talk about the past and who did what and how long ago they did it.
  • 1 0
 @iamamodel: Well what you said makes a lot of sense...if they choose to live in the past then why not have a museum? I hope you can make the best of what you can out of Marin. Its a shame that a place with mountain bike history can be so regulated compared to pretty much the rest of the US.
  • 1 0
 @iamamodel: Uh, before I became a hippie mountain biker, I served in the US Army. E5, Honorable Discharge.

Funny how so many people who never ride in Marin have a low opinion of stuff they have no experience with.
  • 1 0
 @coot83: There are speed limits here? Who knew? I just ride where I want and at whatever speed I want, never been busted.
  • 1 0
 @RepackRider: I didnt know either until there was a PB article written about it. I have to admit I have never had experience with Marin county, but at the same time I have never gotten a ticket while riding on the trail either.

  • 2 0
 @RepackRider: Funny how people assume that people who don't live in Marin have no experience riding there. I lived in the East Bay Area for three years and rode in Marin enough to know it was nowhere near the mountain biking paradise I had hoped it would be. I ridden in many world - famous mtb areas and Marin was the worst. I'm sure it was awesome thirty years ago but it stagnated while every other place progressed.
  • 2 0
 @iamamodel: Thanks man, that's all I needed to know about Marin.
  • 1 0
 Bender needs to be in there. ridiculous that he isn't yet....
  • 2 0
  • 2 0
 YES, Missy Giove
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