Streatham cyclist’s selfie wins national competition capturing growing trend of bike riding

A cyclist’s photograph is one of five winning entries in a national competition aimed at capturing the growing trend of riding a bike in post-lockdown UK.

Denise Schmidt, 28, from Streatham Hill, entered the Cycle Selfie competition with a photo of herself in front of a phone box in a desolate central London.

Her photo, taken in Waterloo Place, St James’, near Haymarket, has been shortlisted in a national photography competition from insurance company Urban Jungle, aimed at uncovering the stories and experiences of a new generation of cyclists across the UK.

She was picked out of more than 200 entries into the competition.

Denise said: “My partner Dany is a very passionate cyclist. At that time, I only had an old bike in the garage that I would use to run small errands, but it wasn’t fun to ride it at all. My birthday was coming up and I decided to get a new bike.

“When he asked me what kind of bike I wanted, I said to him ‘One that can do everything’.

“Today, I know such a bike doesn’t exist but, back then, the idea of multiple bikes for what kind of rides you want to do was new to me.

“I got inspired to ride more through seeing Dany going on a bike-packing trip in Thailand.

“I wanted to try something similar. It also was super helpful to have someone with a lot of cycling knowledge helping choose the right bike.

“There is something meditative about pedalling, even if you are tired, and that coffee after a nice morning ride is just the best feeling.

“I commuted with my bike every day to work. Now, with Covid, this has obviously changed, and I now enjoy long bike rides in and around London in my free time. My partner and I are always are planning on where to take our bikes next.

“This photo was taken during lockdown. Central London was super empty at the time, and really enjoyable to ride through.

“On the weekends, I’ve been to Biggin Hill, Box Hill and cycled along the Thames to Weybridge.

“This year, we took our bikes and went to the South of France, where we did a one week bike-packing adventure in the mountains.

“In the past, we did similar trips in the Champagne region in France, as well as in Croatia, and in Thailand.”

The Cycle Selfie competition asked cyclists to send a photo of themselves along with their bicycles, with the chance to win up to £250.

Jimmy Williams, chief executive of Urban Jungle, said: “We are a company of cycling enthusiasts, with many of us regularly cycling into work, so we are enjoying the move towards more cycling.

“To mark this major change, we want to uncover the individual stories of the people who, like us, have a strong passion for cycling.”

As one of five prize winners, Denise receives a £50 Amazon voucher.

You can view all of the winning entries here.

Pictured top: Denise Schmidt, from Streatham Hill


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