WIN a piece of cycling art by Jen Lewis

Jen Lewis inspired by the Stelvio pass cycling in Italy
Jen Lewis creates beautiful cycling artwork for women
Jen Lewis is a UK-based artist whose work is inspired by her cycling, and whose cycling is quite frequently inspired by her art. Cycling UK spoke to her about her inspiration and passion for both, and why she’s keen to see more women riding

What is your relationship to cycling and art?

I’ve always ridden bikes of some description on and off, but I bought my first proper road bike in 2013. I was fed up of sweating in the gym and fancied trying something new to keep fit. My husband was a keen cyclist and I saw him out having fun so decided to have a look on eBay for a road bike.

I bought a second-hand Felt road bike and soon got the cycling bug! Since then I’ve upgraded to a Liv Langma road bike and also bought a cyclo-cross bike and competed for my age group (50+) in the Central Cyclo-cross League for three seasons. Cyclo-cross racing is tough but the community is so welcoming and the emphasis is on having fun...which it really is!

As for my art, I’ve worked as a graphic designer all my life and done the odd bit of illustrating for various projects along the way. I’ve always loved illustrating, though, and had a keen interest in art and going to exhibitions.

Lucina Brand cycling art by Jen Lewis

Are there any female cyclists who inspire you?

I love watching the pro women’s cyclo-cross and learning from them. I have recently drawn Lucinda Brand, who became world champion this year. Amazingly, about a year ago she messaged me on Instagram to say I was making “cool art” and I’d been meaning to draw her since that moment, so her win was the kick up the bum I needed!

On a local level, there are lots of riders I look up to and just getting out and riding with faster or better riders can really teach you a lot. Getting out of your comfort zone can be scary, but you feel great afterwards having achieved that skill or ridden that section faster, whatever your goal may be.

There’s a lady in the cyclo-cross league I race in called Brenda who is in her 70s. When I feel like I’m getting ‘too old for all this’ I think of her – she is such an inspiration!

What would you say to your non-cycling mates?

Some of my mates think I’m crazy when I show them pictures of the mud, or the shocking weather I’ve cycled in, or the mountains I’ve climbed! It’s hard to explain the thrill you get from cycling, but for me it can vary depending on what sort of cycling I’m doing.

The other stuff – like the mountain or distance challenges – are more for self-fulfilment and feeling like I’ve achieved something amazing. I’d encourage others to take up cycling for many reasons: fitness, making friends, challenging yourself, losing weight, mindfulness, but most of all FUN!

Jen Lewis Cycling Art. I ride like a girl

Why did you choose to combine your cycling and art?

In 2017, I went on a women’s cycling trip to Italy and took on the Stelvio Pass. The scenery was just amazing and as I was struggling round those (48) hairpins I thought to myself I really must draw this, so I really got my inspiration from that mountain!

At first, it was more for myself than making a business of it. I had some postcards made which I gave out to the women I’d been on the trip with and had some incredible reactions to my work, so I decided to bite the bullet and set up an Etsy store.

I’ve not looked back really! It’s gone from strength to strength and it’s just so lovely that people are buying my work for their homes. It’s so rewarding and I’m grateful for each sale!

I’m passionate about getting more women into cycling, so if my art is inspiring women to ride then that’s fantastic

Jen Lewis, artist

Do you ever get stuck for inspiration?

Yes of course! Especially at the moment. In December, my shop was manic with the run-up to Christmas and I was so looking forward to the new year to start on some new work. Well, it’s been a slow process to find motivation to be honest. I know what I want to do – it’s just getting it done that is the problem!

I think the pandemic and lockdown are causing similar problems for a lot of people. I think we all need some good news and good weather to ignite that spark again, but I often find that if you kick yourself up the bum and begin working on something anyway, that inspiration returns naturally.

Jen Lewis artwork for cyclists

What reaction do you get when your art features female empowerment statements?

I’ve had a lot of women say how much they love those prints. I actually first drew one for a friend’s 50th birthday as it features her and myself riding up a local climb. The quote seemed to fit the illustration so I added it to my collection and it’s proved quite popular.

I’m passionate about getting more women into cycling, so if my art is inspiring women to ride then that’s fantastic.

Does art have the power to inspire people to ride?

Well that’s what I hope for, yes! Lots of people buy my work for their homes but also for their pain caves or turbo rooms to give them inspiration. I always have this in mind when I’m creating, what inspires me to ride and what I’d like to see on my walls.

Some people even commission me to create bespoke pieces to remind them of challenges or special moments on their bikes. I think it’s great to reflect your love of cycling in your home and I hope that’s what I’m achieving.

Jen Lewis is passionate about seeing more women on bikes

Besides your artwork, how have you helped to get other women onto a bike?

Well, anyone who knows me well has probably been encouraged to buy a bike and come out riding with me. Quite a few friends have been inspired and continue to cycle which is great!

I got my niece Jodie into cycling a few years ago and she now rides my old hand-me-down road bike. I recently bought a new cyclo-cross bike and today I took Jodie out for her first off-road adventure – she was on my old cyclo-cross bike. She had great fun and says she probably wouldn’t have got into cycling if it wasn’t for me, so that is a great feeling!

Our women’s club Ampthill Cycling Elles (ACE) is always encouraging women to get into cycling. Our founder, Nicole, set up the club about six years ago and has been inspiring women to ride bikes ever since.

A few of us trained to become British Cycling ride leaders so we could take out groups of women on rides. We have lots of women of different levels but the group rides are all about encouragement and having fun, riding, smiling and a good café stop of course!

I’ve missed these social rides so much and can’t wait until they start up again.

Win an original Jen Lewis piece

How do you fancy your own beautiful artwork to remind you of your favourite cycling memories and inspire you to keep getting out there? To be in with a chance to win a special artwork by Jen Lewis, simply send in your favourite cycling photo that captures a special cycling moment, and make sure that you are either a subscriber to Cycling UK’s women’s newsletter or a member of our women’s Facebook group.

You’ll need to enter by 29 April 2021, via Facebook or by sending us an email.

The winner will be chosen by Jen Lewis and contacted 30 April 2021.

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Terms and conditions

  1. The promoter is: Cycling UK (company no. 25185) whose registered office is at Parklands, Railton Road, Guildford, Surrey GU2 9JX.
  2. The competition is open to residents of the United Kingdom aged 18 years or over except employees of Cycling UK and their close relatives and anyone otherwise connected with the organisation or judging of the competition.
  3. There is no entry fee and no purchase necessary to enter this competition.
  4. By entering this competition, an entrant is indicating his/her agreement to be bound by these terms and conditions.
  5. Details of how to enter the competition will be shared via email and Facebook. The promoter may also share via Twitter and Instagram.
  6. Closing date for entry will be 29 April 2021. After this date no further entries to the competition will be permitted.
  7. No responsibility can be accepted for entries not received for whatever reason.
  8. The rules of the competition and how to enter are as follows:
  9. Send the promoter photo via email or Facebook that shows a special cycling memory.
  10. The promoter reserves the right to cancel or amend the competition and these terms and conditions without notice in the event of a catastrophe, war, civil or military disturbance, act of God or any actual or anticipated breach of any applicable law or regulation or any other event outside of the promoter’s control. Any changes to the competition will be notified to entrants as soon as possible by the promoter.
  11. The promoter is not responsible for inaccurate prize details supplied to any entrant by any third party connected with this competition.
  12. The prize will be revealed via social media.
  13. The winner contacted via email or Facebook no later than 2 May 2021.
  14. No cash or other alternatives will be offered. The prizes are not transferable. Prizes are subject to availability and we reserve the right to substitute any prize with another of equivalent value without giving notice.
  15. If the winners cannot be contacted or do not claim the prize within 14 days of notification, we reserve the right to withdraw the prize from the winner and pick a replacement winner.
  16. The promoter will notify the winner when and where the prize can be collected/is delivered.
  17. The promoter’s decision in respect of all matters to do with the competition will be final and no correspondence will be entered into.
  18. By entering this competition, an entrant is indicating his/her agreement to be bound by these terms and conditions.
  19. The competition and these terms and conditions will be governed by English law and any disputes will be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England.
  20. The winner agrees to the use of his/her name and image in any publicity material, as well as their entry. Any personal data relating to the winner or any other entrants will be used solely in accordance with current UK data protection legislation and will not be disclosed to a third party without the entrant’s prior consent.
  21. The winner’s name will be available 28 days after closing date by writing to the following address: Parklands, Railton Road, Guildford, Surrey GU2 9JX.
  22. Entry into the competition will be deemed as acceptance of these terms and conditions.
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