Can you fill us in on your riding background? How did it start and when did you add the street trials bike to the mix?

When I was a kid, I had two choices: either I would start with horse riding or I would start with motocross, because those were the sports in my family. My two older cousins did motocross, so I started doing that as well - and I did that up until 2005, where I had a longer break. At that time, their dad bought two Monty bicycles from Spain and brought them back to Sweden. When I saw them, I immediately wanted one for myself. After a lot of nagging on my mom, I think I got one for Christmas or a birthday present. The funny thing is, at the same time, one of my best friends had an older cousin who also did mototrials, and he got himself a trials bicycle as well. So we both joined the local club and I think he went there for 2-3 months and I’ve been doing competitive trials since 2005, up until 2019. 2019 was my last whole season and then the pandemic came and during 2020 I got into enduro, because I had wanted to try that for a while and I did that almost all of 2020. In 2021, I got my first Inspired Hex. I had wanted one for a long time, but since I was still competing, I couldn’t get one because all I did was train all the time.

I used to be quite heavily against street trials, to be honest. I used to think that either you ride competitive trials or you ride bmx, but you don’t mix them together. But then when I got the Hex, I realized it’s the best of both worlds, really - it’s so much fun. In 2021, I started riding street trials and I put some clips out on social media and after that Inspired reached out to me and asked if I wanted to ride for them. They are one of the absolute biggest and most recognized trials brands out there and it;s an honor to ride for them.

I did go to the world championships last year in Abu Dhabi. That was a bit of a…I wouldn’t call it a comeback…I just wanted to see if I could get myself in some sort of shape again and still be competitive on the competition scene. I did that, but I see myself as a street trials rider now. I’m not saying I’m retired from comps yet, but I’m focusing more on street trials at the moment.

Anyone who has seen you ride knows there is some serious power happening. How much of that do you attribute to your weight training program versus your riding technique?

I think for me, it’s a combination of both. I’ve always had it quite easy for the power moves, even when I was quite younger. The reason I started with weight training was due to me dislocating my left shoulder seven times within two and a half years. It was around the time that I went from Junior to Elite category. When I was in the Junior category, I was in the top five in the world, but when I got into the Elite category, I realized that I lacked some power and control. Then I also dislocated my shoulder and didn’t take care of it for two years. I missed out on the World Championships in South Africa and Norway. It came to a point where I said either I fix this now or I quit riding. That was it. 

So after that, I got in contact with two strength and conditioning coaches and they introduced me to the barbell and weight training and so on. First we did some rehab on my shoulder and then after that I learned the techniques for all the basic lifts: squat, deadlift, bench, clean and jerk, snatch and so on. After one year of doing that and putting on some weight, my riding became so much better. That was the biggest motivation for me - I wanted to become better at competitions and become a better rider in general. But also, power has always been something that I’ve really enjoyed in trials. When I grew up, I watched videos of Craig Lee Scott, Neil Tunnicliffe, Damon Watson - but also Benito Ros, Dani Comas, Rick Koekoek, all the comp and street riders with power. That was always my aim.

When I noticed that I could go bigger and higher, that became a huge motivation for me. I pushed really hard in the gym - more than I did on the bike - but it also made me become one of the most powerful riders in the world. So I’d say, maybe it’s a 70/30 ratio with the gym training compared to riding. I’ve never considered myself as having good technique - my sidehop technique isn’t good, my pedal up technique isn’t that good - it’s not efficient. If you look at riders like Dominic Oswald’s sidehop technique…or pretty much every technique that Jack does. I get away with power. 

It’s hard to say, because for me, the weight training has really helped, and it pushed my riding really far. But I also know riders who do the same thing who have been working hard in the gym, but they don’t get the same effect out of it. So I guess it comes down to how your body responds to the different types of training you do - I don’t really know. To summarize it, the weight training and the hours I’ve put into the gym, it’s played a huge role in the power I have on the bike today.

Can you share any information on the next full video you're working on? We've seen some previews on your Instagram - is there anything more you can tell us (timeframe, spots, theme, etc)?

I don’t have much to share yet - we started filming last year in September, then we took a break because I was getting ready for World Champs in Abu Dhabi. Then we had to stop for a bit due to winter being quite long here in Sweden.  We’ve been out a couple times so far this year, we have some spots in mind and some other cities we want to visit as well. So far we’ve only been filming in Gothenburg. We’re also planning to film in Copenhagen in Denmark as well, plus some other small cities on the west coast of Sweden. That’s where we’re at right now. We don’t really have a time frame, we just want to take our time and feel that we’re putting out something good. The aim is to have it done by the end of the summer and release it some time in the fall. We’ve got some special spots in mind, but no theme really, just a proper street edit. We got some good feedback on the Welcome To Inspired part that we released last year, so it’ll probably be something similar to that. We’ll see - hopefully there will be some stuff in there that people will enjoy. I can say that I’m really excited about some of the stuff we’ve got so far, and I’m looking forward to releasing it to see what people think about it. Hopefully it’ll be worth it!

How do you balance your time on your competition and street trials bikes? Do you do anything special leading into the competitive events to prepare?

I don’t really balance the time between the bikes at the moment. I mainly ride street now, it’s no secret that I’ve kind of stepped down on the competition side. I’m not done yet, I haven’t officially retired yet, but at the moment, my main focus is on street riding. I have some competitions in mind that I would like to ride this year, but it’s not my priority. My priority right now is mainly street riding, working on my upcoming video part and so on. If I were to prepare for a competition, I would take two months to get back into training and back into riding to refine my techniques and make sure that I feel comfortable stepping on the bike in a competition setting. 

But then again, that isn’t optimal. If I were to keep pushing on the competition side, I would have to ride full time. I would have to ride and train competition-oriented full time to get to the level that I was in 2019 and that’s not hte case anymore. I still love competitive trials, but working full time and having a kid and trying to juggle different disciplines…that doesn’t work. If I put in the training in the gym and on the competition bike for a couple months, then I can enter a world cup or a championship and get a good result. But, that’s not my priority anymore. As of now, I enjoy street riding much more than competition riding and I feel like I get more out of that. And I can do that while balancing family life, work life, and still progress on the street side and put stuff out there. If I were to continue competing and being on the highest level, I would literally have to train every day all year round and sacrifice quite a lot of time. For me, that’s not just worth it anymore, unfortunately. That being said, you haven’t seen the last of me in a competition just yet.

What's your mindset around jumping higher (bunnyhop or sidehop) - are you actively pursuing a certain height or adding height to your current personal record? If so, how do you approach something like that at your level of riding?

I don’t think I have a special mindset around jumping higher. I used to actively pursue adding height to all my techniques, but I can't say I do that anymore. It’s fun on the street bike to kind of start over again - pushing the bunnyhop and gap, because I think I can go bigger than most street riders. But on the competition bike, I feel like I got all my records when I’ve been in really good shape, both on the bike and in the gym. It takes a lot to be able to sidehop up to 160 or a 170 up to front. Over the years on group rides, I’ve tried stuff around my max height whenever I felt good on the bike. If it works, it works, and if not, it’s not that big of a deal. But I haven’t had any mindset - it’s more like all my personal bests in heights or length, I already kind of know beforehand if I’ll make it or not based on how I’m feeling on the bike. Last year in the lead up to the world championship, I think I did my all-time highest sidehop (161.5cm) and during that training I felt like I could go big that day. So I just set up 155 really easy and then 158, and then based on that, I was like “ok, i’m going to do a sidehop record today - I’m going to go over 160” and you can kind of feel that beforehand. 

It’s kind of like that in the gym, too. When you’re squatting or deadlifting and you have energy or you feel good, you can kind of feel “I’m going to PR my lifts today” and I feel that same way on the bike. I have that a lot on street rides, too - when I find a wall or something that is really high. If I do a bunnyhop and I feel immediately that my technique is on, I know I can go for it. That’s my mindset towards pursuing a big bunnyhop or sidehop or any technique on the bike, if that makes any sense.

After all these years riding Trials, is there anything that you want to see happen? 

That’s a hard one - there are a lot of things I’d like to see happen. Of course I would like to see the sport grow, I would like to see it gain more popularity and see more riders get into it. Also on the competition side, I think the whole discipline needs to become more professional - not the riders, but everything else. There needs to be some change in the way the UCI manages the whole competition, today it feels quite unprofessional. The people who are handling Trials in the UCI have received a lot of complaints in the past years of how they are handling trials. My personal opinion is that they are boring. The last world championships, there wasn’t even a warm up area. Riders have put their heart and soul into this and they go to the world championship, and that’s the biggest thing you can go to in trials, and you go there and the whole organization is so unprofessional. 

I don’t have the answers, but I would like to see a lot of changes within competitive trials and the UCI for it to move on into something positive.

Besides that, on the street side…again, competitions. It would be cool to see some sort of freestyle competition with street trials. It would be cool to have something where you could be judged on style and creativity like BMX and Skateboarding. You could have street obstacles and make it a bit more trialsy, so you could link together your runs. It would be cool to gather the street community together. I live in Sweden and as far as I know, I’m the only street rider here. I’ve never ridden with anyone else. I’ve traveled the world when I used to compete and met friends from all over the world. It would be cool to see the same thing within the street community. Imagine something like the “Barcelona Invitational” and you get all the street riders to meet up and either have spot battles or a competition format or something. It would be cool to see something like that happen - something cool for the future.

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