Ot Pi Isern
Considered one the originators of trials bicycle riding, Ot Pi has continued to carry the torch of the sport to others for the last 40 years and counting…
In the late 1970’s, the spark for the then-undeveloped discipline of trials riding on a “pedal” bike began simultaneously in different parts of the world including young Ot as his father made him a bike in his preschool years.
While the mimicking of motorcycle trials riding on a bicycle can be sporadically dated back to the 1940’s, recorded events were held in Germany since 1974, it wasn’t until 1977 when Ot’s father, Pedro Pi—an engineer at Montessa motorcycles—became motivated to fuel his son’s fire for the activity, designed the “Montesita T-15,” the first trials-specific bicycle.
After Ot’s father founded Monty trials bikes, Ot was one of the main riders that brought the sport to the world—achieving 12 World Championship titles, 18 National Championships and 4 world records for “long jump,” “vertical jump; up,” “vertical jump; down” and “bunnyhop.” Performing thousands of live stunt trials shows in fan-filled stadiums, on television, in mainstream movies, magazines, videos and newspapers. By the early 1990s, Ot’s influence on the sport—developing original riding techniques and products—evolved into modern trials mountain biking– aboard 26-inch wheels of the era.
Ot was one of the European trials riders who came in the late 80s to America to help promote trials, right as the Mountain Bike boom was taking off. Ot would help shape the sport of trials over three decades, inspiring many young riders, and contributing to new riding techniques as well as bike and product ideas.
Over the years, Ot’s global impact has been represented in more than 10 museums around the world—from China to Spain, Japan and beyond—serving to inspire others through cycling. Ot inspired many riders from around the world through decades of competing but also mainstream exposure through his trials shows, world record attempts and TV appearances. He was producing videos before it became a thing. Eventually he became the president of Bicicletas Monty brand and he was involved for years with the trials federations and as an event promoter. His roots are deep and he was part of the initial mountain bike boom in America in the late 80s and early 90s when trials used to be a big part of the MTB culture and competitions.
Today, Ot continues to carry the torch for mountain biking through activism. As an ambassador, Ot has worked to create a “Bicycle Riding Technique” curriculum for Japanese grade schools to educate young, developing bike riders to safely participate in the sport for the first time.
In South Africa, working as vice president of Bicycle Without Borders, Ot works to help people of Senegal utilize the bicycle to travel to remote school locations to facilitate regular attendance and regular educational resources and overcome transportation limitations on undeveloped roads and paths—routes that would be otherwise inaccessible or impractical without the utility of mountain bikes.
Advocating for safe cycling worldwide, Ot has been instrumental in the development of the Bicicleta Blanca (“White Bike”) initiative to help bring awareness to the ongoing efforts needed to make roads safer for cyclists.
After 40+ years on the bike, Ot remains a prolific supporter for mountain biking. Beyond helping lay the foundation of techniques, technologies and education that continue to evolve the sport, Ot is a true legend, pioneer and influencer for mountain biking as his efforts continue to introduce the sport to new audiences worldwide and push human possibilities using the bicycle.