Interview: Laszlo Gal
When it comes to video titles, there are a few names out there that get me really pumped, and Laszlo Gal is definitely one of them. Over the years, he released a bunch of videos switching from street, park and dirt while making everything look way too easy. I always felt like Laszlo's riding was pushing the sport in the right direction so I figured it would be interesting to find out more about the dude. He lives in Hungary and his english isn't super good so we had a bit of a language barrier to deal with, but we managed to make it work. Hit the Read More link for an interviews laced with a bunch of pictures.
Name: László Gál
Hometown: Szentes, Hungary
Current Location: Budapest, Hungary
Years Riding: since 2006
Q: Aside from the good videos you’ve released in the past years, we don’t know much about who Laszlo Gal really is. If you were to introduce yourself in a sentence or two, how would it look like?
A: I am a 22-year-old Hungarian MTB rider who became known with the nickname “Cusi” in the country. I am a dynamic and active person who loves outdoor activities, mainly extreme-sports. I finished my studies 1 year ago at the university of Szeged, I am a qualified TV program producer.
Q: What does a normal day look like for you?
A: My weekdays are not too exciting. As I do not have a full-time job, in the mornings I surf on the net searching. Two times a week I have English classes and I also have a temporary job. In my free time I like hanging with my friends or go for a ride with them to different kind of skateparks.
Q: What do you do for a living?
A: At the moment I am looking for a job, at the moment I have only a temporary job, and I work as a camera-man. In my profession it is quite difficult to find a job in Hungary but I can say that I am very lucky because my parents support me whenever they can.
Photo by Standmag.hu
Q: Who/What are your influences when it comes to bike riding?
A: Good weather and good company can encourage me or even when I watch a good video with new tricks, when I see talented guys doing any extreme sport. Anyway, I always like to go out for a ride.
Q: Beside bike riding, do you have any hobbies or interests?
A: The first hobby is the riding but certainly I have other interests. I like doing extreme sports. Sometimes I go snowboarding, skateboarding or wakeboarding. I like taking photos of people riding and filming, editing and making short films.
Q: The nice thing about Europe is that there are so many different countries and cultures really close to each other. Do you travel a lot to ride bikes or do you mostly keep it local?
A: I traveled a lot last summer. I was in Poland, Croatia, Romania, Czech Republic and Austria. I came home with a lot of very good experiences. It is exciting to go to elsewhere to ride. You have the possibility to get to know a new culture, a lot of interesting people, different kind of food and drinks. Besides, knowing that people know me in other countries makes me feel really good. I also like traveling within Hungary. One of the best competitions is organized at the Lake Balaton. It is called Balaton Bike Fest. I go on holiday and ride with my friends there many times. If I could, I would travel much more in the future, but my financial situation is limited, and is not always possible unfortunately. I wish I could find some more new powerful sponsors.
Q: What is the best place you’ve ever visited for riding and why?
A: There are many places I liked. I liked a lot Osijek, Croatia as well as Romania. There are beautiful places there and the people I got to know are very nice and cool, we got very warm welcome and we had a lot of fun together. Also, it is always very useful to try new fields, higher and higher jumps (which we do not really have in Hungary) to see different ways or different style of riding of other talented riders.
Photo by Norbert Szasz
Q: From your videos, it’s pretty obvious that you can shred dirt, park and street really well. Do you try to alternate between all 3 or do you have a favorite type of riding?
A: I do not have a favorite one, I like them all in the same way. The thing is that I started to ride in the street and in skateparks so I don't have that much experience in Dirt Jumping, plus Hungary doesn't have any high-level dirt jumps so I don't get the chance to practice a lot. In my opinion dirt is a little bit more difficult than the other two, however personally I would love to improve my dirt jumping skills.
Q: Is there a trick that you just can’t figure out how to do?
A: Backflip tailwhip. I tried several times to foam pit, but no chance. Hopefully I will figure it out one day.
Q: Tell us a bit about your bike setup. How is it right now and is there anything particular that you like about it?
A: Honestly, nothing special. I use my bike without any brakes because they bothered me on the handlebar so I took them off. The lightest is the bike, the easiest is to move the bike around and do tricks with it.
Photo by Balint Jaksa
Q: Do you compete in a lot of contests or are you more of a video guy?
A: Sincerely, I would love to participate in much more contests but unfortunately my sponsors cannot support me enough so some times I have to finance my trips when I go to a competition or simply I have to resign which sucks. It would be very difficult if I had to choose between the two things. I love riding, it gives me a lot of energy and pleasure but also love making videos, edit and cut biking videos. It is a hard job to make a good video. It requires a lot of time, work, creativity and talent. Positive feedbacks give me a huge motivation.
Q: How would you describe the Hungarian biking scene? Would you change anything about it?
A: We have a little bit of everything to ride wether it's street, park or dirt. Sometimes, street spots are really good but unfortunately, the city does not like street riders as they are saying that they destroy and damage city installations.
We have some good skate parks but to be honest, none of them is professional. I wish I could change so younger riders have better stuff to ride.
I think in Hungary, the most popular is dirt. In general, there are only a few riders with mountain bikes in the skate parks, you can hardly see them except maybe in winter time when it is too cold and frozen outside.
In my opinion there should be more dirt jumps and they should get better and more professional for different kind of ability levels.
Laszlo taking a Classic Barcelona spot to another level. Photo by Jan Kasl
Q: What is your favorite place to ride lately?
A: Lately, I ride in skate parks in Budapest, but there are not many good place as I mentioned before. My favourite place is the Dunakeszi skate park at the moment, I also like the HiJackers Step Up in Budapest.
Q: What is the best and the worst thing about Hungary?
A: Nice girls and good companionship, few places for riding.
Q: If you were given a budget and the choice of 3 riders to go on a trip, who would you choose and where would you go?
A: If I was given a budget, I would go on a trip to Woodward with 3 very good friends from Hungary. If I had to choose 3 persons to ride with or to learn from, would be Matt Macduff, Szymon Godziek, and Vishneviy for example.
Q: What is your best bike-related memory so far?
A: I went to a competition called Prowanted. We spent 3 weekend there, we had 3 different competitions in 3 different places. (Street, dirt and skatepark riding). I was lucky and I won. This is how I could obtain my second sponsor (Fundango) in Hungary.
Q: What are your plans for this year? Anything particular?
A: I would love to travel more and improve my riding skills. I am planning to organize a Biking Camp and a competition in my hometown Szentes. Next competition I am attending is the Bike Hall Contest in Czech Republic. I also would like to find a good job this year which can allow me to have a higher standard of living.
Q: How can people stay in touch with what you’re up to these days? (you can put facebook, Instagram and all that)
A: They can stay in touch with what i'm up to via my Facebook and my instagram @galcusi
Q: Any shoutouts, people to thank?
A: First, thanks to my family for always supporting and encouraging me. Also, thanks to my friends who were with me in the worst and best moments, and many thanks to my sponsors who contributed to get my name out there and helped me participe in contests.
Here are 2 of Laszlo's latest videos showing that he can shred anything he wants:
Interview by Michel Plonka