Erica Österlund

 

Erica Österlund

 

After attending a Swedish cycling gymnasium, making the national cycling team and winning a Swedish National Title in mountain biking, Erica had her sight set on competing at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. Unfortunately, injuries prevented her from qualifying. But  even if she couldn’t compete, she still wanted to go to the Olympics as a spectator. So she decided to bike from Sweden to Beijing to do just that.

In March, 2008, she left Jönköping, Sweden, and after a very long and very adventurous 10000 km/6213 miles, she reached Beijing. She did it not to break any records or to garner any kind of publicity or fame, but rather because she simply wanted to experience new things along the way and to interact with new cultures. She took with her a Hilleberg Nammatj 2 GT.

“In the beginning, I only slept in the tent one to three times per week because it was cold and I was scared of my surroundings. But once I had reached Russia, I felt a bit braver and stayed almost every night in my tent. It worked flawlessly in all kinds of pitching conditions and environments. In India, Nepal and China people were always interested in watching me unpack my ‘house,’ as they called it. They would always come inside to see what it looked like. ‘Practical invention,’ they would say and I certainly do have to agree!”