Inuk Siegstad: From the harbor in Sisimiut to international BMX competitions

When you think of Greenland, you might think of snow and cold weather. Many don’t know that the world's biggest island has a huge amount of BMX riders. One of them is our team rider Inuk Siegstad, who have gone all the way to make his biggest dream come true - To be able to ride BMX all year long.

Photo by: Aqqalunnguaq Heilmann

Foto: Aqqalunnguaq Heilmann

The early spring sun is slowly melting the snow away from the streets. The sound of kids riding bikes, having fun is filling the air. With temperatures down to -20 degrees Celcius during the winter, it’s impossible to ride - so as the snow disappears, the teens are hitting the streets on their bikes. Back in 2007, Inuk was one of those kids.

“We were just 20 boys riding in the streets. Some had BMX bikes others didn't - We just shared the BMX bikes we had with each other. Back then, we didn't have rails, ramps and a bowl like they have now. We used pallets to grind on and crates to jump out from”, he says.

Photo by: Lennert Olsen

To begin with, Inuk just had an ordinary bike, but one day he saw something that made him long for a BMX bike of his own.

“I saw a YouTube video with two older BMX riders from my hometown. I didn’t know them, but the stuff they did on their BMX bikes was fantastic, and from that point on, I just knew that it was going to be BMX or nothing” says Inuk.

Bikes, fixes and repairing stuff the Greenlandic way

Though Sisimiut is the second biggest town in Greenland, there was no bike shop back when Inuk started, so how do you get a bike on an island north of the polar circle? At the local clothing store and the snowmobile dealer of course.

“My first BMX was the same as everybody else had. It was a Power Series 2006 GT, it’s a race BMX but we didn’t know much about bikes back then. I loved that bike so much, it gave me tremendous freedom. I could go riding when I wanted without depending on borrowing someone else's BMX”, says Inuk.

Thinking back, Inuk remembered how the “gang of friends” went together to make sure that they had spare parts if their bikes broke down.

“We kept our old broken bikes, so we could grab spare parts to repair our BMX's. If we couldn’t fix it that way, we repaired it the "Greenlandic way", which means that you use whatever you have on hand to repair your bike. I’ve used the spokes from a child's bike to repair my BMX”, he says.

In the hands of mother nature

Photo by: Aqqalunnguaq Heilmann

As mentioned before getting parts that can be challenging, and so can the weather. As for now, there are no indoor skate parks in Greenland which makes BMX a very seasonal thing.

“The fact that we can't ride all year long is a real stop block for the BMX community in Greenland is. It’s not only bad for your possibilities to develop as a rider, but also a huge obstacle for the sport to keep growing. I’m always nervous to see how many have put the bike on the shelf for good when the spring comes”, says Inuk.

Photo by: Aqqalunnguaq Heilmann

So what do you do if you can’t put the bike down and want to be able to ride all year long? For Inuk, the answer was very clear.

“In 2010, I chose to go to a boarding school in Denmark. This was solely so that I could ride BMX all year long. I knew that I needed to do this to do what I love, nothing else mattered to me, and I’ve been living here ever since”, he says.

Ramps, rails and boxes

The 16-year-old Inuk traveled the 3412 km from his hometown to attend the school Tjele Efterskole, which specializes in action sports, and it was quite a leap from the facilities he used to at the harbor in Sisimiut.

“All of a sudden we had all these ramps and boxes and rails. If the weather was bad we just rode in the indoor skate park, it was great. We also got the possibility to visit other skateparks around the country. My stay helped me develop as a rider”, says Inuk.

Even though it’s been almost seven years since Inuk went to the school, he’s still visiting once in a while to film, take photos and participate in BMX jams. Inuk hopes that by visiting the school, he can inspire the young Greenlandic riders, who like himself, have taken the journey to Denmark to ride all year.

“I want to motivate them to keep riding and to participate in the struggle to get an indoor skate park in Greenland so that the action sports community can grow there. But it’s really expensive to build a place like that in Greenland because all the materials need to be shipped by boat”, he says.

Passing on the torch

Inuk points out that the BMX community has lost some riders over the last years but that there are still well above 100 riders on Greenland.

“A lot of people my age have put down the bike to on other things. I hope that I can inspire more kids to get on the BMX bike by attending more international BMX competitions and do well”, he says

As for now, Inuk is living in Aarhus, Denmark, where he doesn’t have to depend on the weather. It’s eight years since he left Sisimiut to follow his dream, but he still has Greenland close to his heart and is proud to represent the country, when he’s out to contests.

“I do this because I love it, but I also know that people back home are following me. Besides getting the youngsters to pick up the bike, my biggest mission is to show the kids in Greenland that it is possible to follow your dreams, even if they’re big”.


Want more? Check out the bike check we did with Inuk right here

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