Our Smiles & Miles 2023 challenge has come to an end and we are celebrating the incredible acheivements of the nearly 170 women who took part. Collectively our riders clocked up 28,539 miles during the 4 week challenge which aimed to encourage people to keep cycling through the winter.
For each of the 4 weeks there was a different theme including 'Meet the Neighbours' challenging participants to cycle to a landmark in a different Cycle Sisters borough, and 'Inspire a Sister' where each person had to encourage one other woman to take up cycling.
Wonderful stories of courage and determination emerged over the course of the challenge with our riders achieving many personal milestones including riding by themselves for the first time, doing their longest rides, first rides at night and completely exceeding their own expectations of how many miles they could do.
"Smiles and Miles this year has been a huge milestone in my cycling journey. The confidence I built on all the rides I went on made me believe in my abilities and I've broken my personal mental barriers and overcame fear. I'm really proud of the miles I've cycled and all the places I've visited on my bike." Imsal, Redbridge
We're so proud of everyone who took part and particularly of the beautiful sisterhood and community spirit which was present throughout the whole event, with sisters going out of their way to support each other to cycle.
Most Inspiring Cycling Story
Shameem Dukandar (Newham)
Shameem received numerous nominations with many sisters asking for her to be recognised. Shameem’s cycling journey over the last 12 months has been incredible - from beginner to training as a Ride Leader to Smiles and Miles inspiration. Shameem was a huge motivator within the Newham team - organising numerous rides within the group, joining other groups' rides and encouraging newer members to take part and cycle more. Her passion for cycling and the positivity she brought to the challenge did not go unnoticed and we think she is an incredible ambassador for cycling.
Ravinder Bassi (Waltham Forest & Redbridge)
Ravinder was nominated multiple times for tirelessly encouraging and supporting others during Smiles & Miles and bringing together sisters from different boroughs for fun and sociable rides. Ravinder has embodied the true spirit of Cycle Sisters with her infectious positive and can-do attitude, organising multiple informal rides throughout the challenge, lifting up others around her to do their best as well as achieving inspiring personal milestones ending up in the top 5 and completing over 700 miles!
Sharmila Mariam (Redbridge)
Not long ago Sharmila joined Cycle Sisters as a hesitant beginner on a ride around the park. On the first day of Smiles & Miles she did her longest ride to date cycling to Clissold Park with the Redbridge team and went on to achieve numerous cycling milestones during the challenge including going on her first night ride, cycling to Hyde Park and starting to ride independently on her own bike! Sharmila’s determination and bravery in taking on new challenges was noticed by many of the sisters who were inspired and moved by what she has achieved in such a short time!
Winner: Zameera Khan (Redbridge) - 1434.8 miles
Runner up: Myra Mughal (Hounslow) - 1308.8 miles
Yet again Zameera proved herself to be an unstoppable force this year winning the title for the third year in a row! Zameera was also nominated for the “Most Inspiring Cycling Story” for giving huge amounts of time and energy to support newer and less confident riders in Team Redbridge to take part in rides, herself organising and leading multiple rides throughout the challenge.
We have to also recognise the incredible efforts of Myra who was a fierce competitor throughout the challenge, cycling day and night around her work and other commitments to finish a close second. As someone rightly said, these two amazing ladies are our “Queens of the East and the West” and a huge inspiration to us all that we can achieve great things!
Winner: Teams Redbridge, Waltham Forest & Newham joining forces to go for a night ride during ‘Meet the Neighbours’ challenge. This amazing photo taken by Wajida Khan captures the essence of Cycle Sisters - sisterhood, adventures and making beautiful memories.
Runner up: Team Hounslow’s Valentines Day ride where they were joined by sisters from Ealing, Hackney, Lambeth/Wandsworth, Newham, Waltham Forest and Haringey to spread the Cycle Sisters love! This lovely photo was taken by Samra Said.
Winner: Yusra Nayyar (Haringey) for her beautiful video showing her teaching a sister called Nabila how to cycle for the ‘Inspire a Sister’ challenge. Nabila was inspired by Yusra to finally get the courage to learn to ride during Smiles & Miles and is at the start of what we hope will be a wonderful cycling journey.
Runner up: Nuzla Thanzeel (Lambeth/Wandsworth) having so much fun on the river swing at Morden Hall Park filmed by Rukhsana Wahab. This is what bike rides should be all about!
Highest Indoor Miles
Neema Begum (Hackney) - 435.84 miles
Neema clocked up an incredible number of indoor miles throughout the challenge using the Zwift platform. Indoor cycling isn’t as easy as it sounds - you may avoid the elements but it can be relentless on your muscles and takes a lot of motivation and dedication to cycle this many miles.
Parajmit Kang (Hounslow) - £230
Well done Paramjit for raising a fantastic amount! A huge thank you to all our sisters who raised vital funds which will help us to keep Cycle Sisters rides free and create opportunities for more Muslim women to discover cycling! Together we raised an amazing £2400!
Group with highest miles
Redbridge - 8798.01 miles
Hounslow & Ealing - 6181.2 miles
Waltham Forest - 5215.04 miles
Newham - 3109.19 miles
Hackney - 2706.04 miles
Lambeth/Wandsworth - 1237.40 miles
Haringey - 1165.30 miles
Tower Hamlets - 127 miles
Redbridge are once again the Queens of Smiles and Miles and winner of the group prize for 2023. Congratulations Redbridge! From day one their determination to take every opportunity to clock up the miles, cycle together and enjoy themselves was evident and there was no stopping them! They encouraged newer members of the team to cycle further, squeezed in some epic 100 mile rides and were out there day and night enjoying the beautiful city we live in and the countryside around us. What an incredible group of cycling ambassadors!