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A sense of community

Shaina Lynden finds meaning through community-minded work.

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Shaina Lynden’s (BSKI'05) career has been fuelled by her passion to create community through local opportunities, an interest she says developed during her time at the University of Saskatchewan.

“At USask, I was given so many opportunities to create what I wanted to be a part of,” Lynden says. “Without knowing it at the time, USask allowed me to start dabbling in community initiatives and causes I was passionate about, which is something that would build my entrepreneurial journey later on.”

While at USask, Lynden played with the Huskie women’s basketball team, was involved with the Huskie Athletic Council and co-created KIN Life, a program through the College of Kinesiology that provides experiential learning opportunities for students.

Lynden’s love of being involved didn’t stop there, and today, she is a police officer with the Saskatoon Police Service, the co-owner of Ryde YXE indoor cycling studios, a Lululemon Ambassador, a member of Yellow Quill First Nation and a mom of five.

After graduating, she applied to the police service and has since worked in various sectors, including patrol, school resources, and the traffic sector, conducting hit-and-run investigations.

“When I think back, I honestly don’t know what prompted my interest in policing, but the second I decided to look into it, I knew that there was nothing else for me,” she said. “It was like, ‘This is it, this is the only way.’ I loved that it was never the same day twice and I would have the ability to really dive into working with and for the community.”

Lynden says there have been two moments in her life where something career-wise just clicked. The first was policing, and the second came with Ryde.

“Nearing the 10-year mark in my policing career, I started to feel like I was just scraping the surface of my own potential with what I was able to do for the community. My husband is a police officer, too and we have always been business-minded, but we were both settled into our careers. It’s not like I wanted to quit policing, but I knew I needed something else and I didn’t know what that looked like.”

The inspiration for the next steps came during a visit to Calgary, when a family friend invited Lynden and her husband to a spin class. Lynden was already an avid indoor cyclist, but had never experienced the community environment of a boutique studio.

“The real lightbulb came for me from attending her class. That day, Sheldon Kennedy was also attending the class. He’s a former hockey player, an author and a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, who went on to eventually form the Calgary and Area Child Advocacy Centre, where police officers investigating childhood abuse of all kinds work out of.”

At the time, Lynden was a school resource officer with the police service, working with at-risk kids in the Saskatoon community.

“Sheldon was giving children a voice who sometimes could not speak for themselves. I was moved by what he was creating and the community that he had found in the spin studio. At the class, my friend took a moment to remove her pillar candles from the stage and acknowledge Sheldon while the lights were dimmed. She placed the candles in front of him and everyone cheered and raised their water bottles to his efforts. I watched him riding like crazy in the front row and I started completely sobbing.”

In that moment, Lynden was moved and knew that this was something she needed to pursue.

With no business degree or experience, Lynden says it took a lot of creativity to make Ryde happen. She also approached a long-time friend to partner with her, and the first location opened in February 2016 on Broadway Avenue, with a second location opening January 2018 in City Park. Lynden also teaches classes each week, too.

“Ryde has become a place that has combined all of my passions. It’s athletic, motivating and rewarding, and it can feel like a form of therapy when you need it to. The bike has an ability to give each person exactly what they need, while at the same time uniting us as we support each other and our community.”

One of the pillars of Ryde is giving back and each week they have a Ryde for Change on Friday night, with 100 per cent of the profit going to different causes. They also do other fundraising events throughout the year, like Ryde the Hangar for STARS Air Ambulance, which is a joint fundraising initiative between four Saskatchewan cycling studios that has raised more than $500,000 in the past three years.

Lynden says her policing career and Ryde combined are “all of [her] worlds colliding.”

“The things Ryde supports in the community are things I have first-hand experience with from policing. So when we’re fundraising for the YWCA, I’ve worked with women who are living there and finishing their Grade 12. I know those people, so it means something different, which is incredible for me.”

When it comes to career growth, Lynden says the most important thing is to never stop asking yourself what you want to be when you grow up.

“Nobody asks you what you’re going to do next as a 30-, 40-, 50-year-old. People make the assumption, and we make it of ourselves, that we’ve chosen and the line is in the sand. But that’s not the case. We are constantly evolving as individuals and it’s important to honour those changes.

“It’s never too late to create, engage or change paths,” she said, adding that it also creates the chance for others to dream. “When you see female entrepreneurs or Indigenous entrepreneurs, it gives other women, other youth, the opportunity to think, ‘Why not me then?’”

When asked for her best piece of advice, Lynden said getting involved is key.

“I appreciate living in Saskatoon so much for what it’s given me, so to be able to give back is amazing. I feel like that truly started at the university through ways I could engage, so when people ask me what advice I have, I always say to get involved.

“Your degree will give you your accolades, but it’s all those other things that are going to show you who you are and what you’re passionate about, which will pave the way for you.”
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