Mercedes-AMG and Richie Schley: passion meets performance.
The godfather of freeride.
A formidable athlete and unsurpassed innovator of his sport, Richie Schley certainly earns his title as the “godfather” of freeride mountain biking. Navigating treacherous mountain terrain requires control and discipline – qualities Schley has not only mastered but transcended through creative and boundary-breaking manoeuvres.
His vehicle of choice, the Mercedes-AMG G 63, shares his unsurpassed passion for off-road performance. Beyond his exceptional competence at navigating downhill slopes and obstacles with ease, Schley challenges the very framework of the institution of mountain biking.
The love for a bike.
What do you love about mountain biking?
When I was a little kid and I got my wheels, I got my wings. It’s this first piece of freedom that you experience as a child. I guess that feeling always stuck with me. It still gives me a sense of freedom because I love the outdoors, and I can go so far and go so many different places and cover so much different terrain. It’s one of the coolest machines you can use to explore the outdoors, not to mention the thrills you get are insane. If you want to push yourself, the speed and the jumps and the things you can do on a bike are so exhilarating.
The perfect vehicle.
What is it about the Mercedes-AMG G 63 that inspired you to select it as your vehicle of choice?
The Mercedes-AMG G 63 is perfect for me because it is fully capable both on and off the road. I can put my bikes on it and cruise in style to the mountains.
When I get there it doesn’t matter what kind of road or terrain or how rugged the road is it can get me to exactly where I want to go because it's so capable off-road as well.
“I started to pursue it.”
How did your career as a mountain biker begin?
I was trying to make a career as a skier, and I saw this opportunity that didn’t exist in mountain biking. At the time, mountain biking was just racing with no real lifestyle or culture.
I started to pursue it and rather than wait for someone to come to me I started to go to the trade shows and kicked the door open.
Passion as a driving force.
How did your upbringing cultivate a strong sense of drive?
I grew up in a blue-collar working-class home and I was always a hard worker. When I was about 12 or 13 years old I was already writing résumés and trying to start my own BMX team. I wrote to hotels to try and get sponsorship to get jerseys for my team. I was always going for it and pretty entrepreneurial; I didn’t really sit back and wait. My favourite saying is “Don’t wait for your ship to come in, swim out”. I’ve always been that way. Had I not gone for it, a lot of this wouldn’t have happened for me or for maybe the industry at all. I think if you want something you go get it, right?
What qualities are essential to your sport?
Creativity. You have to be clever and creative and how you train is important, but all of it kind of comes back to devotion and hard work.