Mitchell’s Midtown

Mitchell Connell on his Midtown

Here’s our “Why I Ride” Photo Contest Grand Prize winner Mitchell Connell on his new Civia Midtown. For those who missed the contest back in October, Mitchell took top honors over nearly 300 photographers. His prize consisted of the Civia Midtown pictured here as well as a grab bag of cool accessories from our other contest sponsors.

Mitchell Connell on his Midtown
Mitchell Connell on his Midtown

Many thanks to Civia for donating the bike for our contest, and congratulations to Mitchell on his much deserved win. It looks like he’s having a great time with his new bike!

More at the Civia Blog

A Few More From Our Grand Prize Winner

Mitchell Connell of Nashville, Tennessee, took top honors in our “Why I Ride” Photo Contest. Mitchell’s winning photo was part of a high school art project documenting a 9-day, 462-mile bike tour he took with his twin brother Spencer and best friend Robert. Mitchell gave me permission to post a PDF of the complete set of photos included in his photo book project here on the site. Like his winning photo, I think the full set nicely captures the camaraderie and catharsis that are such an integral part of these kinds of trips.

View the photo set [1.7mb PDF] →
View more of Mitchell’s work on Flickr

EcoVelo “Why I Ride” Photo Contest Results

The “Why I Ride” Photo Contest was a great success this year. The quality and quantity of the nearly 300 photos and accompanying essays went well beyond our expectations. We found the entries both entertaining and a real source of inspiration to keep riding and sharing our story; we hope they did the same for you. Many thanks to everyone who participated!

Without further ado, here are your winners:

Grand Prize
Mitchell Connell

1st Runner-up — Boban James
2nd Runner-up — Mary Bernsen
3rd Runner-up — Danette Rivera
4th Runner-up — Glenn Budak

Honorable Mentions
Roger Bombardier Jr.
Jake Dean
Will Millhiser
Cecily Walker
Richard Wezensky

Readers’ Choice Award
Mary Bernsen

Our Grand Prize winner, Mitchell Connell, is a bike commuter and student at Hillsboro High School in Nashville, Tennessee. The camaraderie, nostalgia, and longing for the open road expressed in his photo, as well as his story about pragmatism and persistence, spoke powerfully to a number of the judges. Mitchell is the recipient of a Civia Midtown bicycle as well as 5 items of his choosing from the prize pool. Congratulations, Mitchell!

Grand Prize Winner — Mitchell Connell

My twin, Spencer, and I have grown up in a family full of ambition but lacking in commitment. The house that surrounds us is perpetually in a state of incompleteness with floorboards missing and exposed drywall, but through this we have developed both pragmatism and an enamorment for the completion of our goals.

Last summer we rode (with my best friend, Robert Fischman) from our hometown, Nashville, Tennessee to Natchez, Mississippi. After 462 miles and 9 days of leg throbbing persistence we arrived at our most exacting goal yet. This is a photograph of Spencer and Robert less than a mile from the end of the Natchez Trace.

Mitchell Connell

It was a very close contest between the 4 runners-up. In the end, Boban James just edged out Mary Bernsen for second place with his haunting image of monks in a stark Indian landscape. Boban will receive a $400 gift certificate from Rivendell Bicycle Works as well as 5 items of his choosing from our prize pool. For her inspiring photo and poem, Mary will receive a $250 gift certificate from Rivendell as well as 4 items of her choosing from the prize pool.

1st Runner-up — Boban James

Boban James

This picture was taken in the Himalayan region of Ladakh in India in 2005. We had rented bicycles and were visiting various monasteries near the capital city of Leh. Outside one such monastery, we came across a group of young monks in traditional robes. As soon as they saw our cycles, they thronged around us asking us questions about the bicycle’s mechanics and its speed (“will it go as fast as a car?”). In this picture, one of the more enterprising boys is about to push off for a ride, while his friends await their turn. That’s one of the reasons why I ride- because it’s a joy to be able to share your own love of cycling with others and hopefully that’s what this photo conveys.

Boban James

2nd Runner-up — Mary Bernsen

Mary Bernsen

Why I ride?

The view is different from the handle bars.
When my legs start moving, clarity of thoughts start flowing.
The busy pace of day-to-day is forgotten.
The senses begin to awaken.

The view is different from the handle bars.
I feel the chill of the morning, the heat of the mid-afternoon sun, and the breeze at night.
I smell the sweet scent of the flowers, the newly mowed grass and the wet pavement.

I hear the insects buzzing, the birds chirping, and the air whispering behind my ears.

The view is different from the handle bars.
Strangers become acquaintances and new friendship emerges.
Scenic locations are discovered and unknown paths are explored.

My soul rejoices as the sense of wonder waits in every turn.
The wind gently strokes my face, and a smile begins to form.

The view is truly different from the handle bars.

Mary Bernsen

Danette Rivera took the 3rd runner-up spot with her fun photo and moving essay. Danette will receive a $100 gift certificate from Rivendell as well as 3 items of her choosing from the prize pool. And rounding out the top group is Glenn Budak with his moody image of a solitary, meditative cyclist. Glenn will receive a $100 gift certificate from NYCeWheels and 2 items of his choosing from the prize pool.

3rd Runner-up — Danette Rivera

Danette Rivera

When I was eight, I found forty dollars crumpled in the street. I immediately bought a silver spray-painted one speed with a banana seat. It was my prize. When I was ten, I sold colorful soap in a parking lot to make money because I wanted my mom to have a bike too. I thought, She can’t live without a bike. I saved enough for a magnificent metallic red Schwinn with drop handlebars that glowed in the shop window. I couldn’t imagine anyone not dying over this bike, but my mother never rode it; she was puzzled by my enthusiasm. So every month, I tried to reach the pedals of the red beauty until one night I could press them forward, top tube be damned. I rocketed down the street, flushed, screaming in my throat, lightheaded near the curb.
I ride because that’s all I’ve ever wanted to do.


4th Runner-up — Glenn Budak

One of the reasons I enjoy riding my bicycle is to be in the moment. I love when all the factors are just right and my bicycle disappears beneath me. In this meditative state I see beauty in the smallest things and everything about my world is good and right. My bicycle brings me peace of mind and comfort.

Glenn Budak

The honorable mentions will each receive a prize package put together from the remaining items in the prize pool.

Besides taking 3rd overall, Mary Bernsen also took our hotly contested Readers’ Choice Award. Mary took 15% of the 1371 votes cast, with Danette Rivera coming in second. Mary will receive the Rickshaw Performance Tweed Collection from Rickshaw Bags, and Danette will receive an EcoVelo Houndstooth Wool Cap.

Congratulations to all the winners! We’ll be contacting you shortly about how to collect your prizes. And as always, when the time comes for a purchase, please consider supporting our sponsors; it’s their generous donations that make this possible!

View the Prize List

The Home Stretch

Why I Ride Photo Contest

We’re in the home stretch; the “Why I Ride” Readers’ Choice Award voting closes tonight at midnight. If you haven’t voted yet, do it now. And if you’re in the running, get on the wire and send your friends over here to place their vote before midnight. Good luck!

Readers’ Choice Award

“Why I Ride” Photo Contest Readers’ Choice Award

Why I Ride Photo Contest

Here are the judges’ top 20 picks out of the field of 277 photos entered in the EcoVelo “Why I Ride” Photo Contest. This group has qualified to compete for the Readers’ Choice Award. Congratulations to the finalists! Click on the links below to see their entries.

To participate in selecting the Readers’ Choice, place your vote in the poll below. Please feel free to forward the direct link to this page to anyone you think might like to participate. The poll will be open until Friday, 11/26/10 at 11:59 pm.

Choose your favorite entry!

  • Entry #274 - Mary Bernsen (15%, 205 Votes)
  • Entry #127 - Danette Rivera (12%, 158 Votes)
  • Entry #184 - Boban James (11%, 146 Votes)
  • Entry #95 - Roger Bombardier Jr. (9%, 126 Votes)
  • Entry #50 - Glenn Budak (9%, 118 Votes)
  • Entry #65 - Mitchell Connell (8%, 107 Votes)
  • Entry #36 - Cecily Walker (6%, 81 Votes)
  • Entry #240 - Jake Dean (5%, 74 Votes)
  • Entry #223 - Richard Wezensky (4%, 54 Votes)
  • Entry #25 - Will Millhiser (4%, 49 Votes)
  • Entry #216 - Philip Lengden (4%, 48 Votes)
  • Entry #18 - Patrick McKay (3%, 42 Votes)
  • Entry #128 - Kim Schmidt (3%, 42 Votes)
  • Entry #177 - Sally Hinchcliffe (2%, 25 Votes)
  • Entry #138 - Nelson Ralls (2%, 23 Votes)
  • Entry #212 - Stuart Gimber (2%, 22 Votes)
  • Entry #104 - Matt Chia (1%, 16 Votes)
  • Entry #175 - Steven Starfas (1%, 14 Votes)
  • Entry #186 - Martin Wong (1%, 11 Votes)
  • Entry #39 - Tucker Teague (0%, 10 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,371

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The Readers’ Choice Award winner will receive the “Rickshaw Performance Tweed Collection” including a Zero Messenger Bag, iPad/Computer Sleeve, Moleskine Folio, and Top Tube Sleeve, all courtesy of Rickshaw Bags.

[Note: The winners of the prizes in the main competition are among this group. We’ll announce the final results next weekend, so keep an eye out! —ed.]

“Why I Ride” Photo Contest: It’s a Wrap

We finished posting the photo contest entries this morning; we ended up with 276 entries (phew!). Now it goes to the judges. We hope to have their results by Saturday, November 20th, and once we have those in hand, we’ll incorporate the top 30 into a poll for our “Reader’s Choice” award. The Reader’s Choice voting will be open for one week, and on Wednesday, December 1st, we’ll announce the final contest results right here. Thanks for participating and we hope you enjoyed the show!

View the Photos (in reverse chronological order) →
View the Prize List
View the Call for Entries

We want to extend a heartfelt “thank you” to our generous contest sponsors; their participation made this all possible! Please reciprocate by visiting their websites and sending business their way when the time comes for a purchase. —Alan & Michael

Wai Ling Lam’s Photo Contest Entry

Wai Ling Lam

This picture was taken in Bath, United Kingdom. There was a jam all the way back and out of the blue, this bloke wheels out and ahead. Needless to say, he got to where he wanted while the rest of us were stuck in traffic.

Why ride? It’s clearly a traffic beater!

Wai Ling Lam

[Entry #277]

© 2011 EcoVelo™