Newly graduated engineer aiming for gold

​Nadine Kåmark has been cycling trial for ten years, lately combining her passion for the sport with engineering studies at Chalmers. Last year she came second in the World Championship, and this year she is aiming for the gold.

– I have always had an interest in technology, but when starting trial cycling I got interested in how durable things are. I want to be able to design my own bikes in the future, says Nadine.

We met Nadine at campus Johanneberg, at ‘Teknologgåren’, where she waited with her bike.

– Trial is a rather unknown sport in Sweden at this point, it’s way more common in the southern parts of Europe and other parts of the world.

She first got interested in the sport when a neighbor at her family’s summer house had a trial bike. Nadine was self-taught at riding a unicycle, but was recommended to try trial and was hooked.

She explains to us, that trial is all about balance, precision, strength and explosivity. The biker is riding a saddle-less BMX-looking kind of bike, and are balancing this supposed to climb an obstacle course without having their feet touch the ground. It’s not a sport of speed, but the course is to be done in under two minutes.

– If I’d put down a foot, I’d get a penalty point. If I’d put down both feet, I’d get five penalty points, and at that point I might just as well leave the course. 

Very few women

In Sweden, Nadine is the only female to compete in trial, so when competing here she runs against the men. She doesn’t mind, the opposite: she finds it forcing her to develop her skills faster. Earlier on, the sport has been associated with motor trial, which for a long time has been male dominated.

– Maybe that’s why so few women have found the sport until now. But since 2015 it has been part of the bicycle- instead of motor category, and I think that will favour the sport in general, and the women’s interest in particular.

Combining studies with sport

Nadine chose to study at Chalmers because the university offered her the technological education she was looking for. She has been studying mechanical engineering, followed by the master’s programme Applied mechanics, and graduated this February. The last two years she had support from the National Sports University, in order to perform in school and on the bike.

– Combining studies with sport has been working really well. It makes you time conscious and therefore efficient and productive. My trail cycling has definitely helped me in my studies, says Nadine.

See the video.

Photo/video: Johan Bodell
Text: Sofia Larsson-Stern


Published: Thu 15 Mar 2018.