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ADV NewsMeet The One-Legged Rider Taking On Sweden’s Tough Enduro Races

Meet The One-Legged Rider Taking On Sweden’s Tough Enduro Races

Joacim Boive makes history at Swedish Enduro Race Series.

Published on 02.20.2023

Joacim Boive has had a successful 2022 racing season having finished the Swedish Enduro Classic: Stångebroslaget, Ränneslätt, and Gotland Grand National races. That in itself is an achievement, but for Joacim, finishing three races in a year was a personal victory. At the age of 13, Joacim lost his right leg to cancer – but it never stopped him from riding motorcycles.

Joacim Boive becomes the first one-legged rider to complete the Swedish enduro series.
Joacim Boive successfully finished the 2022 Swedish Enduro Classic, becoming the first one-legged rider to complete the enduro series.

Coming from a family of motorheads – Joacim’s father was a passionate rider and a rally car pilot – the Swede took up riding at a young age. “My dad modified a Yamaha DT moped for me so I could brake with my left heel and attach my crutches to it. When I got an Aprilia street bike a little later, he created a pair of foldable crutches for me – I still use the same design when I ride now. I’d go to all these bike meets in Stockholm, but I couldn’t ride fast…So I learned to wheelie instead,” Joacim smiles.

Near Fatal Crash

Joacim rode bikes, quads, raced on the track, and went for adventure motorcycle trips with his wife Jasmine. Sixteen years ago, however, he suffered a horrific crash shattering his pelvis and breaking his back in three places; although he fully recovered, Joacim decided to quit motorcycling there and then. “The crash shook me – I wasn’t going fast, I was an experienced rider, but the bike just slid out from underneath me, and I hit a guardrail at 70km/h. I was going at a legal limit, yet the accident nearly killed me, and I decided it was just too close for comfort,” Joacim shares.


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For sixteen years, riding bikes was out of the question… Until Joacim’s wife persuaded him to try touring again. The couple bought a BMW K1300S and began doing short weekend trips. The bike was too heavy for riding two-up: it was too much weight to hold with one leg as the passenger mounted and dismounted, and Joacim wasn’t able to lean right too much, so the BMW was soon replaced by a KTM Super Duke.

Joacim Boive becomes the first one-legged rider to complete the Swedish enduro series.
Photo by Fredrik Lundgren

“My wife told me I could go back to riding, but no wheelies. When I bought the Super Duke, though, it just couldn’t be helped – that thing was a wheelie machine!,” Joacim jokes.

Little by little, his passion for riding rekindled, and in 2019, Joacim wanted to try riding dirt. Having no prior dirt riding experience whatsoever, Joacim knew there’d be lots of work to be done – but he aimed for enduro races nonetheless. Having won a trip to KTM Austria when they launched a new Super Duke three years ago, Joacim pitched an idea to the directors of KTM: he would become the first one-legged racer to compete in the Swedish Enduro Classic.

KTM Austria wasn’t interested, but KTM Sweden jumped on board. “They offered me a KTM EXC 450 and some training, and just like that, I was in,” Joacim recalls. He says he had no idea which bike to select, but he needed something powerful enough for engine braking and standard – no modifications – so he could participate in the races.

The Road to Enduro

At first, Joacim recalls there were plenty of naysayers. “Some folks said I was being an idiot, that there was no way I could ride a 450 with no rear brake and zero previous dirt experience, that I’d be a danger to others. I wanted to prove all of them wrong,” he remembers.

At first, learning to ride dirt was extremely challenging. Just learning to stand up and brake with the front and the engine was no easy task. “Frankly, the first time I found myself on an enduro trail was a shock – everything was different, I fell down so much… You can’t use your knees with just one leg, can’t change gears while standing, can’t stall. When I fall, it’s sometimes hard to flip the side stand out on uneven terrain. I felt devastated,” Joacim shares.

Joacim Boive becomes the first one-legged rider to complete the Swedish enduro series.

But the Swede persisted, trained hard, and kept at it. In 2020, Joacim entered his first enduro race on a KTM 300 Erzberg. The two-stroke was better – it didn’t have the flaming-out problem the 450 EXC did – and by 2021, he felt ready for the Big Three, the Swedish Enduro Classic. It’s comprised of three enduro races, including the Gotland Grand National – the world’s largest enduro race with over 3,000 competitors starting each year.

Joacim Boive becomes the first one-legged rider to complete the Swedish enduro series.

Despite the challenges, Joacim finished all three races becoming the world’s first one-legged rider to do so. However, he admits each race was brutally hard. “Right corners are very difficult for me; other riders can just throw a leg out and save it, whereas I need to compensate with throttle and the handlebars instead. There’s also the psychological barrier of tensing up; I needed to plan my gear changes ahead – if I don’t see a bend or a steep climb in time, I need to sit down to change gears, and momentum is gone. I wasn’t fast enough over the whoops, so I dived into each of them – which is like doing push-ups, and there were twenty kilometers of whoops ahead. Steep climbs, hairpins, deteriorated track – all of this was tough, and I remember that when I pitted for the second lap, I just didn’t want to go out there again. But it was now or never, so I dug in,” Joacim shares. 

Joacim Boive becomes the first one-legged rider to complete the Swedish enduro series.
Joacim Boive becomes the first one-legged rider to complete the Swedish enduro series.

According to the intrepid Swede, he wanted to go into dirt riding for the personal challenge – but stayed for the fun. Having the full support of his family and fellow riders meant a lot, too – Joacim says he doesn’t hear the naysayers any longer, and other riders, including the pros, find his story inspiring. “In many ways, it’s been a humbling experience – I was quite fast on the track, whereas on dirt, it took me a year and a half to get faster than the next guy. Currently, I’m somewhere in the middle of the pack; next year, I hope to move up a little. It’s been a very emotional journey – I realize I’ll never win those races, but for me, personal progress is what matters most,” Joacim explains. 

Joacim Boive becomes the first one-legged rider to complete the Swedish enduro series.

This year, Joacim hopes to do even more races aboard a factory Sherco 300 SE, both for the fun and the challenge.

Photos courtesy of Joacim Boive and Fredrik Lundgren

Author: Egle Gerulaityte

Riding around the world extra slowly and not taking it too seriously, Egle is always on the lookout for interesting stories. Editor of the Women ADV Riders magazine, she focuses on ordinary people doing extraordinary things and hopes to bring travel inspiration to all two-wheeled maniacs out there.

Author: Egle Gerulaityte
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Robert Okrie
Robert Okrie
February 20, 2023 6:46 pm

What is possible is an inspiring message! Bravo!

Please let Joacim know about Brett Wolfe, a similarly motivated mountain bike racer in endurance class events from the 1990’s/2000’s. I rode with him and it was amazing the things he could do and how his process was executed. Never stop! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EH5G7oCqTKM

Joacim Boive
Joacim Boive
February 21, 2023 11:25 pm
Reply to  Robert Okrie

Thanks! Wow! That was super impressive! I actually do mountain biking as well to keep fit for Enduro, but that was at another level!

Kai
Kai
February 21, 2023 10:39 pm

All those claiming ”that bike is too high for me, I can’t get both feet down!”: Joacim is riding an enduro with just ONE leg. The man is already a living legend here in Sweden! And he did the Gotland Grand National!

Joacim Boive
Joacim Boive
February 21, 2023 11:26 pm
Reply to  Kai

Haha! Thanks buddy! Well, at least I’m not complaining about that! 🙂

Garrett
Garrett
February 22, 2023 7:49 am

To all the people on the couch, tell me again what your excuse is? I’ve seen wheelchair-bound skiers, blind marathoners, a legless swimmer, and now a one-legged enduro rider.

Contrary to popular opinion, you only get one life. Best not to waste it.

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