Wise Words is our new interview series talking to some of mountain biking’s most switched on people.

We’ll ask our short list of questions to a heap of influential, inspiring and outspoken people that we feel are driving the direction of mountain biking today. Some will make you think, some will make you laugh, some will be plain dumb, some will inspire you to better yourself and your riding. We hope!

Wise Words this week comes from none other than Gaspare Licata.

Gaspare Licata is the CEO of Crankbrothers and has been for the last six years, helping keep the brand at the forefront of everyone’s minds. Before that, Gaspare was at the sharp end of Selle Italia and fi’zi:k.

Unsurprisingly very keen on food, being an Italian, Gaspare loves nothing more than coming to Scotland for the Fort William World Cup.

How would your closest riding buddies describe you to someone who has never met you?

They would say I am a straightforward person that honours his own word. They might even say that they’ve never seen someone eating as much as I do, probably because they haven’t met my father. As a rider they would say I am cautious, don’t like to take risks on the downhill.

What thing or things have you bought in the last year that had the biggest effect on your life as a mountain biker / cyclist / person that works in the bike industry?

Being honest, having a lot of friends in the industry it’s very unlikely for myself to buy mountain bike products. To list the things that improved my life as a mountain biker I would say one is the new 100% trail helmet because I can hook the sunglasses behind the helmet while I climb and my sweat doesn’t go on the lenses.

The other one has been moving from a 27.5 bike to a 29er Jeffsy with our Synthesis carbon wheels (I know I sound biased writing this, but that’s my feeling…) as this new set up improved my confidence on the downhill as I feel I have more control in turns and more stability on the rocky sections.

What unusual habits do you have as a bike rider?

Let’s say I don’t do things that are usual for a bike rider…

By being a terrible mechanic, I don’t check the tyre pressure with a gauge, only with my hands, I don’t check the suspension set up, I don’t lube the chain often, I don’t bring any tool or inflation system on the ride, in short I just pray my friends to support me with all my technical faults.

What piece of advice do you think every mountain bike rider should hear? And what piece should they ignore?

Please don’t take any big risks when you ride.

Merida eOneFortytea

It doesn’t matter what is your physical and technical ability just go out and ride.

If you could go back and re-ride one day from your life so far, where/what/when/who would it be? Would you change anything?

The Lost Lake trails in Whistler. I would add a swim in the lake and a beer at the end of the ride and a shuttle to bring me back home.

What have you wasted the most time on in your life as a rider or bike industry career that you wished you’d given up years ago?

Wearing lycra and only riding road before I discovered my passion for mountain bikes.

How do you motivate yourself when you’re struggling or lacking inspiration?

When I struggle with something I think back to the most difficult moments of my life, when my parents were struggling for money, when I was adolescent and I had a life threatening sickness and to all the times people told me that something wasn’t possible and I was able to overcome those adversities and challenges. I think of these things, gain back perspective and then I work to get out of the struggle.

When I need inspiration is different, I need for sure to go out of the office for a ride by myself or I’ll call someone in my network of people that is positive and are not worried to say straight what they think.

What single and specific thing about riding bicycles do you gain the most happiness from?

All the social parts, I love riding with my friends and colleagues, chatting about new products, food, business ideas and then going on chatting with a drink after the ride. I played basketball 15 years of my life and since I had to stop I have been always missing the atmosphere and the spirit of the locker room. The social part of riding bicycles brought a piece of that spirit back to my life.

What single thing would you like to erase from cycling history from the last year?

The deaths and the injuries, all those ones that I am aware and those ones I am not. In March I was introduced by some friends to Jordie Lunn. I remember the moment I saw him, he was almost intimidating by just looking at him, then he started talking and I realised how nice he was as a person. To hear him passing away few months later was devastating.

What single thing would you like to make happen in the cycling world in the next year?

My dream is to have downhill mountain bike at the Olympics, but I guess that’s unrealistic.

Who else should we ask these questions to?

Markus Flossmann (YT founder) and Xavi Navarro (All Mountain Style founder)

You can catch all our previous Wise Words interviews with the likes of Sven Martin, Manon Carpenter, Ric McLaughlin and plenty more here.