December 20, 2013 – He belongs to the freeride forefathers: Richie “Schleyer” Schley, as a member of the “Rocky Mountain Froriders” together with his buddies Brett Tippie and Wade Simmons, in the late 1990s revolutionized the way of mountain biking. Now, after more than 20 years in the biking industry, Richie Schley looks back on an adventurous career, one that he has shared with Continental since 2007. Even after two decades in the saddle, this year Richie travelled the world again, visiting the most beautiful bike spots: starting with a spring-time road trip together with Wade Simmons, then taking advantage of the European summer with stops across Germany and Italy, before heading back to Utah for the grand finale, Red Bull Rampage, in October.
For Richie Schley life is at its peak when he is outdoors, experiencing nature up close – preferably on his Conti wheeled Rotwild Enduro and enjoying the freedom and possibilities it creates. The Canadian began his career back in the 80’s on his BMX: in 1993 he even became the Canadian Pro BMX Champ. Later, Richie directed his energy into becoming an aspiring freeski pro. But born and raised in the Canadian bike paradise, British Columbia, he was grabbed by the love of adventure that his 26-inch mountain bike offered him. Ever since then, the mountain bike has never left his side. He has always leaned towards the ‘classic’ 26-inch but for a while now he has been enjoying a different set up – “right now I’m riding a 27.5-inch bike. It’s got some exciting benefits compared to the normal 26-inch which I am used to. This set up suits me much better than the growing in popularity 29er”, explains Richie.
Over the years, the “Schleyer” has never lost touch with his roots and spent 2013 on tour with his old companions. This spring he hit the road with Wade Simmons and journeyed through his adopted home state, California. Establishing himself as a commentator for the biggest events on the FMB World Tour, Richie followed the global circuit and was present at X Games Munich (GER), 26TRIX Leogang (AUT), Crankworx Les 2 Alpes (FRA), Red Bull Berg Line in Winterberg (GER) and of course Red Bull Joyride, at Crankworx in Whistler (CAN). While most of us enjoyed the action from the comfort of our homes, Richie was at the heart of the madness at Red Bull Rampage, commentating and interviewing the riders for the live webcast. No stranger to Big Mountain riding, he watched the young freeriders send their insane lines, reminiscing about the times he was in their position – pushing the boundaries and using the rubber beneath him to carve the way for the future of the sport. The run of one of his Conti teammates still lingers in his mind: “Every year the level at Rampage rises. I was most impressed with Andreu Lacondeguy, as his run embodied everything you could do with the terrain.”
Richie is experienced but far from retired: his latest trail ripping edit “The Trinity“ shows what 30 years of riding teaches you. This short five-minute documentation, filmed by up-and-coming sports filmmaker Leo Zuckerman, won this year’s GoPro Dirt Diaries at the bike festival, Crankworx, Whistler (CAN). “This was really one of my most exciting projects in 2013!”.
The freeride legend not only rides his Conti tires on a daily basis but also shares his experience gained over the years with the German tire manufacturer. Developing a product like MTB tires demands technical know-how as well as the expertise to ride the rubber hard and fast in some of the harshest terrains out there. Someone who has shredded thousands of kilometers, through dirt and mud and conquered tours like the crossing of Mt. Kenia at 5,000 meters above s.l., is able to assess with some expertise the quality of premium tires and to take part in its continual improvement process. Richie believes in one thing: earning your descent. In other words he relies on the Trail King, the Mountain King and the Kaiser Projekt, all handmade by Continental with the BlackChili Compound in Korbach. These are produced especially to meet the needs of enduro and freeride. The cooperation has sprouted many great things and will continue to do so: Richie Schley will work closely together with Conti to enhance and develop their 2014 product range.