An interview with Niko Weiß / Gargelfing
We talked to Niko about life in general, his passion for cycling and his season.
How would you describe yourself?
Hi, I'm Nico. I'm 35 years old and active on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. Since 2016 I am known as Gargefing or Bikepacking Adventures. In 2016 I discovered my love for cycling and since then I have been taking people with me on my travels with my social media channels.
If I had to describe myself in terms of characteristics, it would sound something like this:
Warmth-loving, gelato-eating, spontaneous-traveling Sunday cyclist who realized that the smell of authentic cappuccino is actually not that far away.
How did the name Gargelfing come about?
The name is from a fantasy knight's castle from our childhood where I played with my brother. My YouTube channel has always been called that, so I kept it.
How did you get into bikepacking?
Although I was never really active in sports, I became interested in triathlon during my studies when I suddenly had a lot of free time. I enjoyed training a lot and decided to get a new bike. Through YouTube, I came across the video "World Lightest Touring Bike" and was immediately excited. However, I only found one dealer that had a bag near me and bought it.
Then I decided to take my first tour and planned a 320 kilometer route over the Reschenpass. Although I had never been on a bike for more than 40 kilometers before, I started my journey and reached my destination after 17 hours. The feeling of having reached this goal was indescribable and I was so excited that I took another week off and cycled to Lake Garda, again without stopping. From then on, I was hooked and wanted more.
How did it feel to cycle over 300 kilometers without preparation?
That was crazy. On the one hand, the route was impressive because I often drove over the Reschen Pass to our small holiday apartment in Meran and therefore knew this route. But when I rode her by bike, I thought: "I know this place here". It was incredible to realize that I was in Austria now and then in Italy. It was really great, although I hadn't planned on riding that long in a row.
I just started at 3am to give myself as much time as possible. I was thrilled and spontaneously took another day off, spent a few days in Merano and then took the train back. A week later I went back to Lake Garda and that was the end of my non-biking era.
Did you have mental problems on the first tours?
Mentally it wasn't a problem, I knew the route from driving and that's why I was always amazed at how far I've come. It was like a rush.
However, I felt it physically and had to lie down and rest for a moment at 260 kilometers. I couldn't sleep because I was way too excited.
What fascinates you most about bikepacking?
I'm not an athlete. I don't care about athletic performance. I'm more about traveling and then spending a few nice days at the destination.
What particularly appeals to me is overcoming the difficulties. Once you've done that, you get a sense of calm, because you don't mind anymore.
I am also fascinated by the many impressions that you collect on such a tour. I also like filming and documenting my travels. This is now part of the follow-up.
Would you also like to take part in ultra races?
Not sure about that. On the one hand it's an organizational issue and on the other hand it doesn't really interest me that much. The cool thing about it, of course, is meeting like-minded people there. Let's see what the future brings.
How does your training for your travels look like?
I don't actually train at all. Traveling is my priority, and the bike is the perfect tool for that. I also don't have a standard tour at home that I like to ride. When I ride my bike, it's long distances and to travel.
Has your fitness changed because of all the travel?
Difficult to say. I think I just have a certain talent for such long distances. It feels like I'm building fitness while beeing on tour.
There have actually been phases in which I haven't been on my bike for a few months.
How much does your mental toughness matter in your travels?
Due to the fact that I do not train, for sure relatively much or even decisively. In my opinion, experience, the ability to suffer and confidence are very important. The more often you prove to yourself that it is possible, the "easier" it becomes. The thought of arriving at the destination always motivates me the most.
What is your main motivation?
Actually riding through cool landscapes and arriving at the destination. Of course also to a certain extent pushing the limits.
Of course, I take my followers with me through my YouTube channel and my social media channels. The messages that reach me while cycling are my joy and motivate me a lot.
Is there a special moment that you remember?
Definitely the first tour over the Reschenpass and the moment I saw Lake Reschen. The feeling was incredible.
Which CYCLITE bag is your favourite?
For me, the AERO HANDLE BAR BAG is the most innovative bag and simply brilliant.
What is your super power Niko?
I'm not afraid of distances of up to 1000 kilometers.
Thank you for your time and enjoy the upcoming tours.
Find his newest video with Marius Quast here: