From banking to biking: good health for a good cause

2 minute read

Saija Lindfors, director of digital customer relationships at S-Bank, has always been an avid exerciser. She particularly enjoys various types of group exercise, but her interests extend to many other sports as well. Saija has also been a casual bicycle commuter — but this summer, she’s taking things to a whole new level: she will be cycling from Germany to Paris with Nordic charity cycling Team Rynkeby, to raise money for the local Child Cancer Foundations in Finland, Denmark, Norway, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, and Sweden. Fluido is also on board helping Saija and our customer S-Bank to support a good cause.

Saija is not an experienced long-distance cyclist. She heard about Team Rynkeby through coworkers, and it set some serious thoughts in motion. Saija realised that everything she dreamed about was worth doing now, not later — and so she decided to apply. “Rynkeby’s approach was attractive,” she reflects, “I liked the teamwork both in exercising and helping our community.”

The exercise challenge

The team exercise started in September last year. Saija admits it was challenging: when the training began, it was quite a lot more exercise than what she’s done before. Soon she was putting an extra 30 percent of her time into exercising and then an additional 10 percent every week. Now she is exercising 10 to 15 hours a week — and all this while managing a full-time executive position at a bank! The team hosts group sessions twice a week, and the rest of the time, team members exercise on their own. This turns into five-hour Saturday and Sunday practices for Saija. “My family — my husband and two sons — they are my best support team,” Saija says. “Though they have also been wondering how much time this will take!”

She also comments on the positive effects of such extensive training: it demands a lot from her body, but she has managed to stay completely healthy without ever feeling sick. She also enjoys experimenting with different types of exercise: spinning (indoor biking) once a week, outdoor biking starting late March, gym, yoga, walking, cross-country skiing… She says, “The main requirement for your exercise is that 80 % of the exercise is done under 130-140 BPM. A lot of work is needed to be prepared to bike 15 hours a day during the actual event.”

A great team with wonderful people

Saija loves the supportiveness of the cycling team and the team spirit. “It’s great to be part of such a wonderful team! You actually get to know people really well.” She adds, “In one exercise, we walk in pairs and change partners every 15 minutes — and there is usually a lot to talk about. Our coach is also really professional, and that helps me know exactly what I should do to train better.” Saija emphasises that one doesn’t need to be an athlete to join Team Rynkeby. “There are 9–10 months for you to practice,” she encourages. “Everyone can do it! Even without a background in cycling, this is possible. There is a selection process to join the team, but practically all you need is enough motivation, time to exercise, and willingness to raise money for the cause.” This is how Fluido learned about Team Rynkeby and got involved as a sponsor.

Looking forward to the journey

When asked about her feelings about the upcoming journey, Saija is cautious but optimistic: “Well, yes, the upcoming Paris week is scary; it’s the ultimate challenge! I keep wondering if my condition is good enough, and I’m also worried about getting injured. But on the other hand, this is not the Olympics anyway. The most important goal is to support critically ill children, and I hope we will achieve that!”

1​​00% to children with critical illnesses

An important element of Team Rynkeby’s work is raising money for organisations that support children with critical illnesses. The money is raised from a variety of sources, including sponsorships from generous businesses. Team Rynkeby participants cover their own costs associated with participation on the cycling team.

In 2017 Team Rynkeby had more than 5,100 sponsors who contributed with either cash or in-kind contributions to the project. This meant that Team Rynkeby could donate the entire EUR 8.8 million to organisations that support children with critical diseases in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, the Faroe Islands and Iceland.

Team Rynkeby’s principal sponsors, Rynkeby Foods A/S and God Morgon cover all the primary costs of the project, which means that 100% of the funds raised are donated to the organisations we work with.

Team Rynkeby thanks Fluido and every Team Rynkeby’s sponsor who made this charity work possible. Last year we managed to raise over 0,5 MEUR in Finland alone. The money was handed to Sylva Ry and Aamu Säätiö.

Alexandra Petrova

Marketing Manager UKI


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