Gonzalo Pérez de Vargas: The Multitinker in the urban everyday life of the handball goalie.
01.02.2024 | People & Society
Gonzalo Pérez de Vargas is a handball goalkeeper who has been with FC Barcelona since 2007. He is also a reliable back-up for the Spanish national team. His daily companion in the Spanish metropolis: the Multitinker from Riese & Müller.
Hello Gonzalo – what is your relationship to cycling as an athlete? Do you train on a bike?
I have stationary cycling in my training plan. There was a time when real cycling was banned in the internal rules, but this has now been lifted. In other clubs, in the Nordic countries, in Germany, cycling is quite normal and much more common than here. I use the bike mainly as a means of transportation in everyday life.
What is your personal opinion about E-bikes?
I work hard enough in training and competition. When I ride, I want to be able to move around the city with ease and not put any more strain on my body than I already have to. I think, the E-bike is a step forward that benefits everyone: People who have always ridden a bike or people who just want to ride for fun. But the motor assistance is also really great for older people or people with a disability. Personally, I ride a Riese & Müller Multitinker, which I appreciate for its versatility. It's very comfortable and maneuverable and just fun. I can always take my family and friends with me and do spontaneous errands. I also like the design and the range.
What about your daily mobility: do you ride a bike? And what do you think about mobility in Barcelona?
Barcelona is a really big city. I tend to live in the outskirts and get used to the routes, timetables and daily life. I don't use my bike as much as I did when I lived in the center of Barcelona. Fortunately, the temperatures are warm most of the year, so cycling is one of the best ways for me to explore the city and get to know areas that aren't easily accessible by car. It's also my favourite mode of transportation for sightseeing in quieter times.
Barcelona is famous for its so called “superblocks”, residential areas around which motorized traffic is largely diverted. What do you think of this measure?
I believe that big cities care about the well-being of their inhabitants. The people who live in the superblocks can really enjoy being able to move freely on the street and enjoy the space. But I'm also thinking, for example, of commuters and people who have to move for other reasons and need to be able to move around flexibly. Cities are investing in sustainable ways of getting around that don't disrupt the harmony of neighbourhoods and streets as much, and we're in a period of transition. It won't be easy, because we're used to the comfort and speed of the car. But when you walk in one of Barcelona's superblocks, you feel so calm that you almost forget you're in the middle of a cosmopolitan city.
Imagine you're about to go on a cycling trip: where would you go?
I've been there once by car, but I would love to go back to Iceland and ride a bike. I would have to be very well prepared, for example for the extreme weather, but I think, it's an incredibly spectacular place. So if I had to choose one thing, it would probably be a trip to Iceland in the summer.
The original interview was published in the Spanish magazine Andar en bici, issue 15 September / October 2023.