RCUK photo competition

Today we launch the RCUK photo competition.

Cycling has the glamour, cutting edge technology, and stunning locations to make it one of the most photogenic of all sports.

We’re inviting you to submit your images in one of the ten categories listed below. Simply send your image, one per category, and no larger than 5mb, to [email protected] with “Photo Competition” and the category in the subject line. Tell us a bit about your riding and your picture: where you took it, when, your inspiration etc. Entries close at 5pm on Friday December 21.

We’ll post the best entries in a series of regular updates to RCUK and the RCUK Facebook page and announce winners in each category on Monday December 24.

Have your say on the images we publish on the RCUK Facebook page. Your comments may influence our decision when we come to choose the winners.

Remember, this competition is open to amateurs only, and the images submitted must be your own. We’ll be checking!

Many thanks to the prize givers for their support. Here are the categories and the prizes on offer.

Category one: the rural landscape

Rural landscapes provide an inspiration to cycle all of their own. The thrill of competitive action and the camaraderie of the group ride are well and good, but all that’s needed for a solo ride to equal any of the aforementioned is stunning scenery. Rolling hills, beautiful coastline, seemingly endless greenery: the UK has it all. Further afield, the Alps, the Pyrenees, the Dolomites, and many more of cycling’s great destinations, provide a terrain that can be still more inspiring.

Prize: Southern Sportive, organisers of the Isle of Wight Riviera, and RCUK partners, have pulled out the stops to offer four places in their flagship event and return car crossing from Southampton with Red Funnel Ferries for their return to the Island on Sunday May 19 2013.

Category two: the track

Team GB’s track success was the highlight of the London Olympic Games for the home nation; the Velodrome the chosen venue for A-listers from Prime Ministers to Beatles. Hoy, Pendleton, and Clancy delivered what we’ve come to expect, while a new generation including Trott, Rowsell, King, and Kenny, showed the future is in safe hands.

Prize: Keep your hands safe in Dromarti’s beautiful La Grande track mitts. Designed with a  classic crochet knit back and Nappa leather palm, these premium mitts hark back to a bygone era where style and quality were synonymous.

Category three: the urban landscape

Cyclists braving the urban jungle will appreciate the distinct challenges of riding in town, and how the surroundings are an integral part of the experience. Traffic, kerbs, lights, and pot holes: all form part of the challenge of city riding as well as a distinctive ‘streetscape’ that frequently makes cycling the sport of choice for fashion photographers as well as sports snappers.

PrizeVulpine have swiftly established a reputation for style and function. Their showerproof Harrington cotton jacket is an elegant jacket available in sky blue or sage green and equipped with a drop tail, high collar and reflective cuffs, making this a highly desirable prize.

Category four: ‘cross

The mud, sand, and rain that characterises the world’s toughest cyclo-cross races make this hardest of cycling disciplines one of its most photogenic. Television scarcely does justice to the effort and suffering of the riders; photography, however, rarely fails to.

Prize: Balint Hamvas is  a photographer who has made cyclo-cross his speciality. His images capture the effort of racing, while his ‘incidental’ shots tell the stories behind the scenes of some of cycling’s most iconic ‘cross races. Cyclo-Cross 2011/12 is a photographic record of last season and contains everything we love about this brutual, beautiful discipline.

Category five: the bike

The bicycle has been a subject for photography for as long as there has been bicycles and cameras. The juxtaposition of angular frames and circular wheels, the sheer beauty of painstakingly manufactured  components, and the idiosyncratic details of a machine that may escape the notice of all but its owner help to make bicycle photos some of the most alluring in cycling.

Prize: Muc Off offer many ways to keep your pride and joy in gleaming condition: in short, good enough to be photographed. The winner of this prize will walk away with their Ultimate Bicycle Cleaning Kit, one that includes Muc Off’s Bike Cleaner, Bike Spray, Wet Lube, Drive Train cleaner, Microfibre polishing cloth, three brushes and an expanding sponge.

Category six: the club

Road clubs remain the back bone of the UK cycling scene, the forum in which generations of cyclists have learned their trade. A new generation, inspired by the success of Bradley Wiggins, Mark Cavendish and Great Britain’s track stars, will  be turning to clubs for their first taste of competitive action.

Prize: Prendas Cyclismo is run by two riders schooled in the club traditions: Mick Tarrant and Andy Storey. Their clothing line has been the choice of club riders and the professional elite, with the aforementioned Cavendish and Wiggins among their illustrious customer base. The winner of this category will receive a pair of Prendas Thermolite socks, a Prendas winter hat, and a copy of Prendas’ 2013 calendar, Les mémoires du peloton.

Category seven: the climb

The climb is a part of cycling’s DNA. Everyone has a signature climb, one they’ve ridden, or simply feared from afar. The Mont Ventoux, for example, is a brutal test that will hold a special place in the memory of any who have conquered it; closer to home, Cheshire’s Mow Cop, a mile traversed at an inhuman 25 per cent, will have gained the attention of the thousands who sign up each year for the Wiggle Cheshire Cat sportive.

Prize: Hammer Sports will be providing free entry to their Hammer Sportive to the winner of this category. A new sportive, to be launched on April 14 2013 on the roads of South Hams in Devon, the longer ‘Sledge Hammer’ route will include 21 categorised climbs and 3,600 metres of climbing in 160km; even the shorter, 100km ’Claw Hammer’ route contains 12 categorised climbs and 2089 metres of climbing.

Category eight: the sportive

Few events have changed the landscape of cycling so completely as the sportive. The chance to sample beautiful countryside and to ride with likeminded people with the security of mechanical and medical back-up, as well as the opportunity to refuel at various food stations has proved an irresistible lure to a largely new generation of cyclists seeking a personal challenge rather than a cup for the mantle piece.

Prize: Human Race know exactly what it takes to organise a successful sportive. They’re the company behind two of Britain’s biggest and best-loved events: the Etape Cymru and the Dragon Ride. Some 1,200 riders tackled the Etape Cymru this year, taking on the challenge of the Horseshoe Pass. Human Race have donated two entries to next year’s event, which will be held on closed roads on Sunday September 8 2013.

Category nine: the seasons

Cyclists in the UK will need few reminders of the part climate can play in the enjoyment or otherwise of a ride, but the change of season doesn’t always mean bad weather. The sudden return of colour to the landscape heralded by spring, the clear blue skies of summer, the glorious golden hues of autumn, even the austere appearance of winter can bring an extra pleasure to time on the bike.

Prize: Scottish clothing company, Endura, know more than most about changeable weather, and creating clothing to protect the rider from the harshest conditions. Their Photon jacket is a 2.5 layer garment made from a fabric waterproof to 10,000mm and with a breathability rating of 10,000g. Elasticated at the cuff, hem, and neckline, reflective trim on the shoulders and sleeves, and supplied with its own stuff sack, this is a portable, and versatile jacket.

Category ten: best road race picture

The pinnacle of cycle sport occupied its rightful place at the top of the sporting agenda this year. The combination of physical prowess and mechanical purity makes it a superb subject for the photographer.

Prize: Eddy Merckx remains, by popular consent, the greatest rider of all time. His achievements are likely to remain unrivalled, and are recorded in this new book, Merckx 525 from Velopress, which includes images that even its subject claims not to have seen until work on the book began.

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