Words by Blyth Brentnall
A remarkable deaf cat, Sigrid, and her owner, Travis, have spent the last six weeks highlighting the hard work of charities by taking their ambassadors on cycling adventures.
Sigrid rode to fame when Travis started taking her on cycle rides. He’d just moved to the UK when lockdown started and he lost his job. So he bought a bike and began exploring London’s unfamiliar streets with Sigrid seated comfortably in her basket.
Unlike other cats, Sigrid loves getting out and about on the bike. Travis filmed their adventures and the cat-owner duo quickly went viral before publishing a book about their friendship.
Internet attention is easy enough for cats to gain. But it’s less available to organisations doing vital charitable work. So they decided to invite charity ambassadors to ride with them and share their online fandom.
In each episode, a charity ambassador joins Travis and Sigrid for a cycle ride and a chat about the importance of charity work.
Throughout the series, the guests share insights into a radical cycling campaign, an organisation for children with disabilities and charities improving health and wellbeing.
First they meet the famous cricketer, Monty Panesar, who volunteers for The Felix Project, delivering food to Londoners in need. Later they cycle with Clare Rogers of the London Cycling Campaign, 9-year-old Heidi fundraising for MacMillan Cancer Support and Alzheimer’s Research UK, BBC journalist Ellis Palmer of Stick ‘n Step, paralympian Ben Watson of GAIN and fashion model Alexina Graham of mental health charity Beder.
Watch Travis and Sigrid’s Charity Rides:
In line with Smiley News’ mission to promote the UN goals, the series sheds light on important work to promote good health and wellbeing, sustainable cities and communities and reduced inequalities.
Sigrid admires the view throughout the series. She enjoys much petting and draws in the attention that charities so desperately need, particularly in light of recent societal issues.
Covid-19 dealt a difficult blow to charities, with 90% saying they experienced negative impacts of the pandemic, 60% saying they lost income and a third saying they lost volunteers.
When the cost of living crisis hit, nine in ten charities became worried about an increase in demand for their services alongside falling donations and rising energy bills.
So to offer charities well-needed support, we’re excited to launch a series that draws charities into the spotlight of an internet sensation, the much-loved Sigrid accompanied by her socially-conscious owner, Travis.