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They are almost always found exploring Hemsedal through the handlebars of a bike, with the surrounding scenery being a giant playground for their children. There is just one rule for the Olsson family: cycling should be fun whether you are big or small.
By Isabel Müller Eidhamar and Frazer Peter Norwell
3 min
Updated 16 August 2021

The story began in Hemsedal 12 years ago. Handyman Jonas, from Bengtfors in Sweden, had already lived in the village for eight years working at Hemsedal Ski Centre. It was the ski centre that initially brought the Swede to Hemsedal. A keen snowboarder, he wanted to experience one of the most beautiful ski resorts in the Nordics.

It was the same dream that also brought his wife to Hemsedal. "I came here mainly for the snowboarding," She explains. Little did she know her job would allow her to cross paths with her future husband. "We met at Lodgen Spiseri. I worked as a waiter and Jonas as a caretaker, and we met in the basement," She laughs before turning to her loving husband.

It was love that would keep the two Swedes in Hemsedal once the season ended. These days the family is complete and the pair have settled in Hemsedal. The couple, now married with two children, love to cycle in their free time, and time spent together on bikes has become their favourite activity as a family.

"Wait, Emil, you have to wait for us," Clara shouts as their youngest child rushes down the path to the town centre on his bike. The children had just finished football training, and now the whole family will spend some time cycling in the sun before heading home for dinner. "I have loved cycling since I was a child. I cycled a lot in the woods. I grew up in the country, so in a way, that was what you did when you were at home", says Jonas.

His love of cycling is something he is hoping to pass onto his children. "As a kid, I cycled a lot on paths and gravel roads, jumped and practised to be the best possible on a bike. I still remember that feeling when you floated away the first time you learned to ride a bike," Jonas reminisces fondly.

The eldest girl Clara learned to ride a bicycle when she was five years old. Back then, dad Jonas used to have to pull her along the paths in Nesbyn with a rope attached to the back of his bike. Today the family uses the same trick to bring Emil on their family adventures.

"I like cycling. I think it's great fun to ride with other people. So for me, cycling is social and is something you do together," Jenny says. Jonas agrees with his wife, "It is fantastic to share a passion with your children," he says.

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Jenny and Jonas have been together for many years, but the love story began in Hemsedal. Photo: Isabel Müller Eidhamar
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Emil on a trip. Photo: Frazer Peter Norwell
"The best thing about cycling as a family is seeing the children grow and develop," she says.
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Nine-year-old Clara learned to ride a bicycle when she was only five years old. Photo: Isabel Müller Eidhamar
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Clara, Jenny and Jonas are racing over who gets to the other end of the bike path first. Photo: Frazer Norwell

Family cycling trips

The Olsson family is an active one that loves spending time in the great outdoors. Outdoor adventures are always on the menu for this family, alongside regular barbecues and marshmallows roasted over campfires. "We bring food to put on the grill and make a thing of it. We are often away on a trip all day," Jenny says.

When going on trips with other families, then Tottelia Rides is often the first point of interest. "If they come with children, we go to Tottelia Rides," Jenny says.

"There's nothing better," Jonas agrees.

Before they had children, the Swedish couple loved cycling in the ski centre and are happy that the cycling on offer in Hemsedal is a key part of the development of the village.

"We can compare it with our own upbringing. We are both from a farm, and we both had a lot of freedom as children. We got to be children much longer in that way, and that's how it is in Hemsedal as well. There is so much stuff for children to do here. You ski, you cycle, you spend a lot of time as a family out in nature," Jenny explains.

"We still have everyday life here in Hemsedal, but somehow it feels like we still get more out of life here," she adds.

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Jonas, Clara, Jenny and Emil on a bike ride in Hemsedal. Photo: Isabel Müller Eidhamar