Hi Stefan can you introduce yourself shortly?
Hi my name is Stefan Garlicki, I love to ride ALL bikes, be out doors and to travel. I have a phobia for spiders, I have a Jack Russel named Sparky and I also ride horses but family comes first.
Can you tell us how you started riding a bike?
Every since I can remember I wanted to ride bikes, I got a quad bike when I was 4 years old and I messed around on a bmx bike too. I progressed into motocross when I was 8 but still kept playing on the dirt jump bike. I then switched to downhill when I was 19 and it’s been a wild ride ever since!
What was your first bike?
My first bike was a Suzuki 80cc mini quad bike. My first bicycle was a Raleigh BMX bike.
When was your first race? And in which discipline?
My first race was in 1999 and it was a motocross race. My first mountainbike race ever was the 4X world cup in Pietermaritzburg 2009. Yes a world cup first time out.
You have properly seen Jackson Goldstone or have heard of him. What do you think when you see what kids these days are capable to do on a bike? What does this mean for the future of biking?
I know of him of course and I think it’s amazing what he can do! I can only imagine how good he will be in 5 or 10 years’ time. I think it’s great for the sport to have a young ripper; people seem to think that only older people can ride mountain bikes which is obviously not the case. I do think there is a shortage of mini DH bike frames out there. I know a couple of tiny kids that struggle to find decent bikes. I think this will change in time though.
How did you become a professional rider?
Long story, it definitely was not what I expected when I finished school in 2008. It just kinda happened, one thing lead to another. I think the biggest factor was moving to a place called Paarl in 2008 and there happened to be a downhill track behind my house. That was what got me started but it was at my first national champs in 2010 that things changed. I got 5th and I had only been racing downhill for 6 months. This really opened my eyes and made me hungry for more!
Would you mind to describe a normal day in your life, when you are off the bike?
Mmm I get up at 8AM, eat breakfast first then coffee after this is a tough one because I am on the bike pretty much every day whether it’s a dh bike, xc bike, jump bike or mx bike. Every day is different and that’s the way I like it! I can say that every day will include a couple of hours on the computer doing online media and emails. I train 6 days a week. Most days will include 1 fitness session and 1 skills session so 2 training sessions a day.
And what is a normal day of riding for you?
I don’t have a normal day haha, it could be a cross country ride in the morning and then downhill in the afternoon or dirt jumping or gym. Or the other way around but every day is unique.
Tell us how it is to travel at least half the year and being forced to spend a lot of time on the road? Many believe it must be like living a dream, is it for you still that way?
I think it is living the dream in some ways, we get to travel the world, meet loads of interesting people and ride amazing trails. I love it. It does have its draw backs like all jobs though like not seeing your family and friends for months at a time, not being able to party all the time like normal youngsters and training every day even when you are not in the mood. But that is all part of it and I would much rather be doing this than anything else right now!
What discipline do you compete in?
Downhill and I will try an endure race just for fun this year.
How can you describe your riding style?
Smooth, flowing, consistent and fast.
How is your opinion on the wheel size discussion? 26”/650B/29” does size matter?
Yes for sure, the bigger you go, the more stability and grip you have which makes you faster. For downhill I think 650b is on the money, 29”is not agile enough. When I switched from 26”to 650b I was instantly faster.
What are your biggest strengths?
Dry dusty conditions, staying focused, being consistent, smooth and thinking out of the box!
Where do you excel most?
I think fast tracks with jumps but I don’t mind the tech tracks either.
What are your weaknesses?
I think riding in muddy conditions I have struggled in the past but this past season I had some major improvement so I hope to keep building on that.
Injuries are part of the game, when you ride on a certain level. Did you suffer from any injuries?
I had a few in a short space of time but I try to limit those as best I can.
3 x surgery
2x dislocated shoulder
Lot’s of stitches
Can you give us an overview of your personal top achievments in the sport?
1st place: SA national cup series, Contermans Kloof 2015
2nd place: SA national championships 2013&2014
2nd place: IXS German cup, Ilmenau 2011
40th place: UCI World Championships 2013
11th place: IXS European cup, Wiriehorn 2013
What are your goals for the future?
My goal is obviously to be the best rider in the world, I think everyone out there is in it for the same reason and that is to win and be the best. My goals for the near future are:
- Keep improving
- To win SA national championships
- To win an IXS German cup
- To get a top 30 at a world cup
- To get a top 30 at world champs
- Have fun!
Why do you ride Reverse Components / Solid Bikes?
I honestly love the bike and the parts and I am very fussy! I also love the group of people there, the vibe is really good and I think that is such an important factor. When everyone gets on well then you are in positive spirits and that leads to good results. Peter and Heike are so passionate about riding bikes and it shows in the products and how happy their customers are! They don’t do it for the money but rather the love of the mountain biking.
Anything you wish from your sponsor?
Keep making the best bikes ;)
A last statement…
Thanks so much for all the support guys, I know we had an interesting start but its not about where you start, it’s about where you finish! You took a chance on me and I intend to make you proud! Let’s go!
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