Kristjan Lind is an Estonian entrepreneur, co-founder and CEO of Bikeep. He is also one of the European Green Capital ambassadors for his city. His story is inspirational as he created his company by combining all his passions. He is really committed towards citizens’ well-being in urban areas. Kristjan accepted to reply to our questions and to give us an insight on how Bikeep came to life and what are his aspirations for the future of cities.
Bikeep is the best example of an Estonian success story. It started in 2013 as part of a student project and it never stopped growing ever since…
Bikeep is a small infrastructure for micro mobility which provides safe bike parking all over the world thanks to smart innovation. You can now park your bike with ease and in total safety.
As a mechanical engineer, passionate about entrepreneurship, Kristjan Lind decided to launch this project that he keeps close to his heart. As a true urban-life enthusiast, Kristjan Lind strongly supports the use of bikes in cities. Thanks to his work, he had the chance to travel and get to visit cities all over the world. According to him, there is a common spirit which brings these cities together: the use of bikes.
Kristjan usually introduces this idea by saying: “Please, show me a negative side of cycling”.
It is obviously extremely hard to find a negative side of cycling, if not impossible. Cycling is not only good for the planet, but it is also good for your health, both mental and physical. In addition to that, it’s an economic advantage for the local economy because it reduces infrastructure costs.
Today, Bikeep is mostly known for smart bike stations. What is it concretely?
Thanks to Bikeep’s bike stations, you don’t need to carry a lock with you anymore. You can just use your mobile phone or a local transportation card. You only need a QR code to lock your bike. It is also equipped with an alarm which is very convenient when using it. It also resolves the issues with the abandoned bikes because one can know when the bike was parked and by whom.
Bikeep is now implemented worldwide, in more than 40 countries and is collaborating with other companies, offering the same types of services. The team is composed of 32 people, mostly based in Tallinn, where the Headquarters are located.
Unfortunately, as Kristjan explained, our cities are not designed for using bikes.
According to him, the key to be able to improve citizens’ health is to design our cities differently. Noise and air pollution damage the health of citizens and should be taken very seriously.
In terms of cycling in urban areas, we can notice a significant changeover the last four years. The change had already been initiated before 2020 but increased consequently during the Covid-19 pandemic. Citizens are seeing cities differently; the number of pedestrians and bikers is increasing. One of the best examples of this positive trend is, without a doubt, the city of Paris, which created massive infrastructures and bike lanes since 2020. Many European cities are now trying to follow this state of mind. The city plans to eliminate half of the city’s parking spots – some 70.000 spaces and increased their 200km cycle lanes to 1.120km today.
Indeed, the majority of cities want to become greener and more sustainable. The challenge lies in in the action plan. – What should we change to make it happen? According to Kristjan, the focus should be given on the redefinition of the infrastructures in the cities because it is not convenient to cycle, it can even be quite dangerous. Most parents do not allow their children to walk to school for that reason. What does it mean? Most people are spending their lives indoor and never get the chance to take a walk. Health should be the main priority in the way we structure our cities. In terms of health, Kristjan also put the emphasis on reducing the stress level one is experiencing in public transportation and even more in car rides. There is nothing more stressful than being stuck in traffic before going to work in the morning or knowing it will take us a lot of time before going home. Statistics are showing that in the United States for example, less and less people are applying for the driving license. Today, driving has become less attractive than cycling or walking.
What can we do to change the city design?
According to Kristjan, city officials should take the steps through the right directions without any limitation, without being scared of making the right changes towards sustainability and to put citizen’s health as their main priority. To illustrate his idea, Kristjan uses the following tagline: Dare to change, dare to be bold. Don’t be scared of changing your habits. Try riding a bike, try these solutions and you will soon be passionate about it.
Luckily, concrete change is already on its way because we can see than in this century, health is becoming more and more important. Now the next step is to make people ask themselves: “Is my living environment actually benefitting me?” In this sense, people should try to find solutions in their daily lives to improve their health. According to Kristjan, it’s a fact: once you try biking, you adopt it and become addicted. Again, biking only has positive aspects and on top of that, it’s super fun, just try it!