We’d like to introduce Olov Stenlund – Swedish fat biker, and the newest columnist at fat dash bike dot com. Olov lives and rides, Swedish Lapland and is an established blogger, podcast’r and adventurer! We look forward to Olov sharing his fatventures with all of us! ~gomez~
Sweden. The fifth largest country in Europe by area. Located in the middle of Scandinavia between Norway and Finland. Inhabitants only 9.5 million. 85% of them living in the southern part. 1000 kilometers up north from our capital Stockholm, just 60 kilometers south of the arctic circle. In the cost town of Luleå is where I live and ride. My name is Olov, I’m 43 years old and father of two engaged to a dark haired beauty and for the last few years a fat tire addict. I guess it all started back in the early nineties when I got my first mountain bike. I can still remember the sound those (by that time) fat tires made and how it felt like I could ride it everywhere Living in a climate that mostly contains of winter and with big mountains a few miles away make the people here skiers, alpine and nordic. Since being a kid the local ski slope was the place to hang out. I used to spend the summers just waiting for the ski-season to begin. The arrival of mountain bikes made the waiting a lot easier.
Over the ten last years cycling has grown to be my main avocation. I used to ride them all. Road and mountain bikes. Full sussers and hard tails you name it. The game had changed. All of a sudden winter became a long wait for gnarly single track and bright summer nights in the saddle. Worst of all, up here winter is long. Very long… So what to do during those long winter months? For me it was lurking around the Internet and building bikes. I have built a bike during winter the last six years. It usually starts with an idea that turns in to a fixation. I get the frame and start looking for parts. Hunting for parts took me to different forums and bike communities around the world. Luleå is a small town, 75 000 residents. We got one proper bike shop. They are great but earn their living selling commuter bikes to “regular” people. Standard brands like Trek and Merida. I try to support them as much as I can but mostly I’m bound to go abroad to get my parts. While surfing on the electronic high way every now and then a crazy looking bike flashed by. Strange looking creatures, old school rigid frames with big ass rims and tires. I knew there was one guy in town that just got such a creature. An old, first generation Pugsley. Via the wonders of social media we got in contact. I met Sven and his Pug for the first time on the frozen north harbor on my lunch break. All of a sudden my full susser Specialized with 2.4” tires looked pretty lame. I took a ride on the snow and that’s was it. You all know the feeling. When the fat bike bug bites there is no turning back. This was back in 2012 and that winters build was for sure going to be a fat bike.
Once again the game had changed. Unfortunately it took me the whole winter to get it ready. When the Muk finally was done spring had arrived. I remember thinking
-Well, I guess I just let it rest during the summer. That feeling went away pretty fast after my first ride on my local trials. In one pedal stroke I was thrown back 20 years. It was like that first time on a mountain bike. Only like ten times more awesome. That roaring sound of low-pressure fat tires against the ground. The ability to ride right across roots and rocks. Everybody kept asking me what that strange looking bike was for? If it wasn´t “heavy and clumsy”? My standard answer. -What is it NOT for? I rode my full susser one time that summer. Now it´s sold.
Luleå is located by shores of the bay of Bothnia. It lies on old seabed. Sandy pine forests during summer. With an archipelago with over 1000 thousand island that all are accessible during winter as the fresh water in the big bay totally freezes up. This is fat bike country all year around fore sure.
At the moment we are few, but as the fat bike bug is spreading like wild fire I’ll bet we will grow fast the coming years. Our LBS. sold their first Fargo last winter and more are coming this year.
During my Mukluk build I started a bike blog, Bikelifeinswedishlapland.com. I love the global cycling community and to reach out I decided to do it in English. We all share the same strong passion despite language and culture differences. And if the cycling community is a movement the fat bike community is a family. Through the blog I’ve gotten in contact with wonderful people across the globe. Bike life in Swedish Lapland now lives it´s own life on social media. Twitter, FB, Vimo and Instagram. I´ve involved one of my friends; Lars and we even got our own show on Mountain Bike Radio thanks to Ben Welnak.
And now here I am. Blogging for one of the best sources of fat bike propaganda in the world. I was super honored when Uncle Gomez asked me to blog for Fat-bike.com.
Well, this was my introduction and I hope you awesome fat bikers will enjoy reports from our fat adventures, big and small on the other side of the pond.
Oops, almost forgot the most important. My ride.
Custom built Salsa Mukluk here posing at the fabulous Ice Hotel in Swedish Lapland.
Darryl rims on Hope Fatsno hubs fitted with Vee rubber snowshoes.
1×10 XT drive train, E-thirteen cranks with Race Face 34t w/n chain ring.
42t Oneup upgrade.
BB7 breaks with Superstar floating 203/185 discs.