Meet RJ Ripper
Kids and bikes; wherever you are in the world, they go together. The chaotic streets of Kathmandu may not seem like a typical breeding ground for world-class mountain bikers, but then again nothing is typical about Rajesh (RJ) Magar. Since learning to ride on a beat-up clunker, to becoming the four-time National Champion at age 21, RJ’s story is one of boundless childhood dreaming and unstoppable determination, forged from junkyard scraps and tested on the rugged trails of the mighty Himalaya.
Film director Joey Schusler first heard about RJ when his mentor, Mandil, was in Colorado a few summers ago. He's RJ's boss at H&I Adventures, the tour company he works for during the racing off season. "He told me about his kid I 'had to meet,' " Joey says.
Joey and co-director Ben Page spent a month in Nepal, getting to know RJ, riding with him, and spending time with his family.
Today, RJ is still guiding half the year and racing the other half. "His racing is taking off, and he’s becoming somewhat of a national hero in Nepal," Joey says. "The visa struggle is holding him back from racing in the U.S. or Europe, but he’s going to figure it out. He’s super determined, more than anyone I know."
To help support RJ, Joey started a GoFundMe page, where you can chip in to help him overcome the travel barriers that keep him from realizing his full potential. Another way to support RJ—and others like him—is to support Nepalise tourism in general. "If you are interested in mountain biking, you can book a tour with him and Mandil on the trails you see in the film through H&I Adventures!" Joey says. You can find them here: https://www.mountainbikeworldwide.com/bike-tours/nepal.