When and how did you start cycling?
Like a lot of people, I learnt to ride a bike when I was a kid. But it was not until I was an adult that I actually got into cycling. I definitely did not grow up on a bike, and I was not much into competitive sports or sports at all. I spent a lot of time outside as a kid, and the love for the outdoors is something that I have from my family.
In 2010 I was 22 years old, and I lived in New York. I was still a student, and pretty much always short on cash. I borrowed an old steel Bottecchia (Team ADR) from a friend, as I figured I would get around town quicker than on the subway and that I could save some money. Size 56, too big for me, but the first time I rode it it was unlike any bike that I had ever ridden up until that point. It was fast, light and easy to maneuver in the New York traffic. Before, I had always ridden quite heavy and slow dutch bikes. Nothing wrong with dutch bikes, but riding them does not feel like flying.
I started to love to ride the bike around New York, commuting to work but also taking it for small trips during the weekends. In 2011, I moved back to Europe and started working in London. I had somehow started to identify as a cyclist at this point, and I continued to ride to work and discover the city by bike every weekend.
My boyfriend Erik, who was into the fixie scene, started going to Herne Hill Velodrome on Saturdays. One weekend I joined him, and after that I converted my commuter Bob Jackson to a track bike for the weekends. A year or so later we found ourselves on road bikes, exploring the countryside outside of London.
Switching to road bikes also meant a change of mindset. We started to feel that as much as we loved London, there was also the issue of congestion and hectic traffic. We wanted to live somewhere where we could have access to great countryside without spending 45 minutes riding through suburbs. In 2014 we took the decision to move back to Sweden (where we both are from), and right now we are living in the small coastal town Malmö, quite close to Denmark and Copenhagen. It’s flat and beautiful, with an abundance of small country roads to ride on.
What is your approach to cycling now?
I think the best word to describe it is recreational. I have the itch to race, as I think most cyclists do but I also feel the need to keep competitiveness and performance anxiety away from it. I like to keep it a place that I can escape to. That being said, the best time of the year is mid summer when all the work you have done during spring pays off and you feel fast and strong. The past years the photography bit has also become a bigger part of it. My daytime job is in the design industry, and I like that I can use cycling as a creative outlet.
When I think of cycling, I suppose in a way is the melting pot for a lot of things I like. It’s exercise, being outdoors, socialising and meeting new people. It’s space to think and to escape. And I have seen places and met people that I would never have if it wasn’t for the bike. I kind of organise my life around how and where I can ride nowadays.
Where would you like to ride in the future?
I’ve always wanted to explore the north of Sweden and Norway a bit more. And I would love to ride in South Africa, where my dad has family. I’ve been there once without the bike and the landscape is made for bike riding. Colombia and Scotland are also on the list. I like the local riding that I can find in Sweden though, I feel like there is always somewhere that I haven’t explored yet and the swedish summers are quite special. You see even the most familiar place with new eyes when you are on a bike.
If I go on a cycling holiday I opt for the mountains, which is something the we don’t have at home. I love climbing as it’s such a hard workout. You can’t go easy.
Coffee ride or race day. Which one do you prefer?
I think my favourite kind of ride is waking up early on a sunny, windless summer day here in Scania (the province around Malmö). You get out before the city wakes up, and do a 100-130k around the countryside. No rush to be anywhere, legs feeling fresh and strong. Perhaps you stop at one of the cafés a riding distance away and have coffee in the sun. Or your ride south down to the ocean, or north passing by some of the old castles that you find here in Scania. Probably I’m riding with Erik and a bunch of friends on a social ride. If I can find a livestream, I watch the end of the WWT races when I come back home in the afternoon. That’s sort of my ideal day.