Happiness on two wheels
Be it the Southern Hemisphere or the Northern Hemisphere, Australia or Canada - Patrick Ager has already been at home on many continents, but the native Tyrolean has never lost sight of his real home, Hopfgarten in the Brixental valley. A repatriate talks about his roots, his vocation and his passion for biking.
The KAT Bike bonus stage goes from Mariastein via the Möslalm to Hopfgarten.
Moving away to return home: Patrick Ager went out into the world as a young man. He worked as a ski instructor for several seasons in Canada and Australia. But as much as he needed this adventure at that time, he was ultimately drawn back to his roots, in Hopfgarten in the Brixental valley. There he grew up in an innkeeper's family and this is where he raises his children today. When he was 25 years old, a stroke of fate took his father away from him and the question of how the business should continue was suddenly raised. He accepted the challenge and since then he has been cooking for the guests of the Gasthof Oberbräu. He hasn't regretted this decision for a second: "We have a very high standard of living here, which you won't find anywhere else in the world - unspoilt nature, social security, peace. We really have everything we need. This is what he wants to convey to his guests, with his Slow Food cuisine and his attitude to life: "My heart and soul is in my work as a chef. If I can share this passion and love for my native country with other people, then that’s fantastic. Often it's just the little things that cost nothing, but bring pleasure to others. As too much industrialisation is taking place, a lot of sincerity is being lost."
Functional wear instead of an apron
In his spare time, when Patrick hangs up his apron, he heads off on his bike. On his mountain bike tours through the Kitzbüheler Alpen he recharges his batteries. He’ll bring anyone along who wants to join him on his tour. "The effort of cycling uphill and reaching the summit gives me a feeling of satisfaction that I can't get anywhere else. And it doesn't have to be the highest peak or the most difficult, not at all. But it must mean something to the individual. In today's working world, everyone is always striving for more. But when you're at the top of the mountain, you've reached your goal. At that point in time, you can’t get any higher and that gives me peace of mind.
Cycling for pleasure on the KAT Bike
Such feelings of happiness make Patrick get on his bike again and again. One of his favourite stages is directly on the KAT Bike, the long-distance cycle route through the Kitzbüheler Alpen. More than 6,000 metres of elevation over approximately 170 kilometres can be mastered on marked trails. For recreational cyclists there are also easier variants. “The KAT Bike is meeting the pulse of time. It is a fabulous offer for active holidaymakers who want an adventure to broaden the mind but yet a safe one. Safety is ensured in knowing that the routes are planned out. Pre-booked hotels score with quality and cordiality. Thanks to the luggage transport heavy saddle bags are a thing of the past.” Patrick himself prefers the first stage which goes from Mariastein to Hopfgarten, “the contrast between civilisation and the immersion into nature is unique on this route – the Alpine pastures, the variety, the sincerity of the locals – all that.”
Patrick Ager imparts this cordiality in his inn: "Today, when I know as a chef that a guest has an intolerance to gluten or lactose, I speak to him personally, I make time to do this. The guest is becoming increasingly choosy, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing per se. It's all about quality and that brings us to the subject of regionality. We don't need to have meat from South America! An honest and attentive manner with the food that is produced here is in my opinion the best way towards a healthy, sustainable future".