The human engine is worth celebrating. In this series, we speak to commuters around the world to discover why they choose to commute by bike, and what it means to use the human engine.
The natural path
Having graduated with a master’s degree from the Stockholm School of Economics, it would be easy to conclude that Stina Lönnkvist’s natural path would be in the business world, adding to Stockholm’s reputation as one of the world’s leading centers for start-ups and innovation.
And so it has turned out.
But the path has been influenced by a different map and a journey that has taken Stina via consulting, yogi, podcaster, as well as a social media entrepreneur and sage.
A myriad of successful enterprises have provided a wealth of experience that has provided the foundation for her latest venture; leading a brand-new skin care company focused on CBD.
Growing up in the south of Stockholm, Stina has long been an advocate of the great outdoors. Days on skis, on the water, or in the natural landscapes of Gotland, are all revered in Sweden, giving a deep and long-lasting connection to natural landscapes, and a greater understanding of our place in it all.
For Stina it is much the same in the city, especially with the use of a bike, which brings everything up close and personal. It’s a world most city dwellers travel through—or under—from A to B, then B to C, not being able to take in the sounds, smells, sights and inspiration that litter every path, all of which is elegantly swept up by bike riders as they glide by.
“I spend a lot of time in Stockholm, and even if it’s not like New York, or London, in scale or sound, it still exudes so much inspiration and I have always found that the best way to tap into it is by riding through it on a bike. It also provides a seamless mode of transport and it gives me the chance to see more, as well as choose how active I want to be.”
As a serial entrepreneur Stina is always on the go, but with a yogi’s training, she is able to draw on her ability to reflect on how best to find life’s tricky balancing act, with stress, lack of sleep, or a seemingly infinite to-do, and want-to-do, list.
“The idea for our skincare business came from looking at nature and seeing how it could help us, finding a more natural balance. It’s similar to biking in the city; it’s about balance, reconnecting and finding the best tool for the job; and sometimes being willing to think and do things differently.”
Stina would not necessarily classify herself as a cyclist in the purist sense and does not spend time pondering the merits of disc brakes or tyre compound. But she firmly believes that the bicycle can be more than just transport.
“The more people that ride a bike the better. It’s a quiet and democratic tool that gives everyone the ability to get around, and we need to encourage more riders and lower the threshold for those wishing to start or return to riding.”
By her own admission she considers her trusty ‘Shopping Deluxe’ city bike, with many signs of wear and tear, as well as a beaten-up shopping basket, as ‘Stockholm’s ugliest bike’. But beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it plays its role as the perfect tool for her needs, especially when riding through the darkest, wettest, coldest days of winter.
“The pleasure in riding a bike is the ability to think or reflect on the day to come or what has been, to take those moments – no matter how small – to let the mind relax and wonder, and when you live in Stockholm it’s easy to be amazed at the beauty all around the city.”
The bike is a tool.
It is a mode of transport.
It is also part of Stina’s natural path.
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