Orban Gabi is Romanian biketrial rider and pioneer. A three-time Guinness World Recorder, four-time National champion, and three-time National vice-champion, he's one of the most important figures on the Romanian action sports scene. Beside contests, he is also known for his showcases and performances, and the crowd can see him at upcoming edition of Revolution Festival in Timisoara. Enough reasons to catch up with him for a short interview.
Hello Orban! First of all, tell us a bit more about yourself - when did you start biking and how did you get into it? Orban: Hi, my name is Orban Gabi, I’m 29 years old, and I do biketrial for like 15 years. I’m a three-time Guinness World Recorder, four-time National champion, and three-time National vice-champion. I always had a special relationship with bicycles, I used to ride all day, every day since I was two years old. When I was 13, I discovered biketrial and that's when my life changed -I became a trial rider.
You come from a country, and part of Europe where bike trail, MTB and extreme sports in general, aren't really popular. How hard was it to focus, progress and to gain attention when you were starting? Orban: Definitely, it was very hard. Even my parents said “you will never make money of bicycle, better start study.” Unfortunately, in Romania biketrial is not popular, and even nowadays it's very hard to find sponsors or even to find places to train. Even in my hometown police doesn’t let me ride in some places, which is a shame. I've been all over the world, I trained in some big cities like Los Angeles, Amsterdam, Krakow and never had problems for riding in the city, while in my own town I even got a ticket for training in public place. (laughs) So, it’s hard to stay motivated and find places to train, but I don’t really care. I just train and don’t give a fuck about anybody!
You are a 3 times Guinness World Recorder, multiple National Champion, and a pioneer of the sport in your country. Do you see your success helping the popularization of the sport, and do you think you managed to inspire and clear the path to new generations?
Orban: Honestly, I hope I have a big role in the popularization of the sport. I try to promote all kind of sports and activities, not just cycling. I'm trying to show youngsters a better way, to move the kids away from the computers for a bit. As I see, nowadays, kids are just seating in front of the computers, playing games, and commenting posts. To me, it's very sad.
When you look back at your career, what accomplishment are you especially proud of, and which one you was the hardest one?
Orban: Well, it’s very hard to choose one, but I'll try. Definitely, I am proud of my World Records, and I have to say the last one was the hardest, as I jumped 561 times on my rear wheel. But I’m also proud of my National titles, and I had to train very hard for those ones, too.
You had the chance to showcase your skills in a few TV shows including Romanii Au Talent and Magyarorszag, Szeretlek. Do you think appearances like these can help the sport in general, and make people look at you and the other riders more seriously?
Orban: Definitely. TV shows are a very good way to make yourself known and help you to show your skills and personality to a larger public. I did expect more sponsors and more opportunities after the shows, but it was a good experience for sure. I learned a lot about showbiz, too.
So, like you said, TV shows can help, but now we live in the age of Social Media. Is it even possible to be a pro and to be interesting to sponsors without strong Social Media presence? Is skill enough these days?
Orban: Well, I don’t know if it's a good thing or a bad thing, but nowadays, you really can’t do anything without a strong Social Media. They are good platforms because they give you an easier way to share something special, and show your skills to the world, without depending on newspaper, radio stations, TV channels and other traditional media.
But sometimes, it’s really bad because you can have, like, very good results in the contests, but if you don’t get thousands of likes and followers, you won’t get sponsors or opportunities. I see a lot of entertainers and athletes who aren’t the best in what they do, or even at the pro level in what they do, but they got a big hype and large fanbase so they're doing pretty good.
One of your upcoming performances will be at Revolution Festival in Timisoara. Are you preparing something special for the occasion, and what can we expect to see from you? Orban: Yes, Revolution Festival is one of my upcoming performance, and I’m very glad and happy that I can be part of it. It is probably one of my biggest events so far. My shows are always special, I always try to make a unique performance, and I always involve crowd in my shows! You can expect to see some special bike jumps, rotations and much more. I think everybody has to come to my show because it’s hard to explain, it’s better to see it. (laughs)
One last - what's your favorite Danny MacAskill's video?
Orban:Well, we practice a different kind of biketrial - Danny is a street trial rider, while I'm a contest rider. It's pretty much the same from the outside, but we use different bikes and do different tricks. However, my favorite MacAskill's video would be 'Imaginate.'