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Meet the 2023 Summer Photo Contest winners

Freitag, 22. September 2023
After another busy summer, the annual EuroVelo Summer Photo Contest has come to an end. For two months, we invited everyone to join the #MoreCyclingTourism movement and share their best photo from EuroVelo 15 – Rhine Cycle Route or EuroVelo 19 – Meuse Cycle Route to inspire others to go on an unforgettable cycling trip of their own.

We received dozens of submissions from both routes, all of which would have been worthy winners. Of course, only two lucky participants can win the grand prize – we at EuroVelo were glad to leave this tricky decision to our trusted Instagram followers!

The rules for the contest were very simple: the photos had to contain a bicycle, and be taken along one of the two participating EuroVelo routes. Beyond that, we gave you full creative control. Some entries were funny, some were beautiful, some were unexpected, but they all embodied the spirit of EuroVelo! Although only two entries could win, we are grateful for every single participant and hope to see you return in even bigger numbers in the future! Get to know the winners below.

EuroVelo 15 – Rhine Cycle Route

Winner: Ezgi Demiralp (@durmakesfet)

Prize: €1,500 cycle tourist package along a section of EuroVelo 19 (by www.dutch-biketours.com)

SPC Winner 2023 EV15

Tell us a bit about yourself!

My name is Ezgi, I am from Istanbul, and currently live in Paris. I am an engineer. I like travelling and cycling. I love discovering new things: new people, new routes, new food, new country, new experiences.

I have a travel blog - (durmakesfet.com) – it means do not stop, explore. That’s where I share my trips! I love encouraging people to travel and collect many nice memories. I have two mottoes in my life: Do not challenge your limits but challenge your limits and die with memories.

Where/how was the winning photo taken? Is there any interesting story linked to it?

The photo was taken in Cologne. We started our first long cycling tour from Amsterdam and finished it in Cologne. It was a great feeling to reach our final stop! It was really nice to constantly greet, meet and even have lunch with people along the way. When we reached our final destination, it was a victory for us – even if we had some issues during our journey...

At one point we went off the route, just out of curiosity. We didn't take any tools with us (don't do that :)). At one point, my chain came off in a way that it could not be put back. But a miracle happened: a man appeared and he was a mechanic! He fixed my bike!

It was also an amazing trip because we always used Couchsurfing and had very interesting stories. On the first day, we stayed at a host family's home and met wonderful young people. While we were on our way on the second day, we hoped we would stay in a house like this, and when we arrived, we stayed in a house just like that... And even better – at a cyclist's house! The next day, someone opened the door for us, in the house of a disabled person. The person who opened the door was the sister of the cyclist we stayed with the day before. Since the disabled person cannot travel, he decided to open his house to cyclists instead – so I can travel around, he said.

The next day the weather was very rainy and it was a difficult route. We wished there was tomato soup. And our hosts for the evening prepared... tomato soup!

Then, we hit the hills and thought we deserved a dessert. We had a wonderful dessert. The person we stayed with that evening turned out to be someone who specialises in patisserie and made dessert for us. Another day we stayed at a wonderful old biker's house and we forgot a plant we had taken with us. Even though time has passed, he still sends us photos of the flowers growing.

It was an unforgettable trip for us!

Your picture was by far the most popular of the entire contest, how did you mobilised to collect so many likes from the community?

I have a travel Instagram account (@durmakesfet) and I asked my followers and friends to support me. They know I like cycling :) I explained to them that if I win, I will be able to share some more stories from my Instagram account. I think this is what motivated them! After I learned that I won the competition, we already planned two EuroVelo trips with two group of friends for next spring!

What do you think about the EuroVelo initiative?

When I see EuroVelo signs, I have a big smile on my face. EuroVelo beckons with stunning landscapes, cultural immersion, and unique adventures across Europe. You can pedal through historic towns, savour diverse cuisines, and connect with fellow cyclists. It's a healthy, eco-friendly way to explore while creating lasting memories. I hope the initiative becomes more widespread!

EuroVelo 19 – Meuse Cycle Route

Winner: Marta and Pablo (@martate7)

Prize: €1,500 cycle tourist package along a section of EuroVelo 15 (by www.bike-touring.de)

SPC Winner 2023 EV19

Tell us a bit about yourself

We are Marta and Pablo, we live in Zaragoza, in Spain – although Marta is from León. Pablo works as a tax advisor and Marta is a veterinarian, although her work consists of managing EU projects related to health and medicine. We are travel enthusiasts, and especially we love cycling trips, as we think it is a perfect way to combine sport with nature and tourism. We have had the opportunity to do multi-day bike routes through Spain, Portugal, The Netherlands, Belgium and France. We also like many other sports such as basketball and hiking…

Where/how was the winning photo taken? Is there any interesting story linked to it?

This photo has been taken in Liege, at the new train station built by Calatrava. More than 20 years ago I (Marta) arrived in this city for my Erasmus, a year that I’m never going to forget, and I wanted to share this special place with my husband. So we organised a five-day bike tour along the Meuse River, starting from Charleville-Mezieres (France) and ending in Maastricht. As I mentioned, Liege is a special city for me so we made a stop to visit old friends who live there. The truth is that we were very lucky with the weather as the sun shone every day of our trip. We were lucky to get to know very beautiful cities such as Givet, Dinant, Namur, Huy... it has been a beautiful EuroVelo trip that we will always remember.

What do you think about the EuroVelo initiative?

We love the idea of EuroVelo. In Spain, there are greenways (Vías Verdes) that use old railway lines converted into traffic-free paths for pedestrians and bicycles. We think that the different EuroVelo routes should continue growing and investments should be made to maintain and signpost these magnificent routes that allow us to travel Europe by bicycle. For us, it is very important to avoid riding next to motor vehicles: this is why we love greenways. They are ideal to discover and learn about other cultures and territories, always riding with that feeling of freedom of when you ride a bicycle. We want to thank all the people who have voted for our photography on Instagram, as well as EuroVelo for organizing this initiative. Next year we will send another photo of EuroVelo 15 to see if we are lucky again (fingers crossed!)

All photos submitted for the contest can be viewed on our Instagram account. We thank everyone for participating and we hope to see you in our future contests!

Author: Mark Sheridan, with contributions from the contest winners