Cyclist spends 30 hours on 500km Veloviewer tile challenge only for his GPS to fail

Elmar Hogenboom said the ride was the toughest of his life, but things didn’t go according to plan

Elmar Hogenboom completed a monster ride, but things didn't go according to plan (Picture: Strava/ Elmar Hogenboom)

Most of us have suffered the dreaded GPS failure on a ride.

I once made it to the summit of Alpe d’Huez (my first and only ascent) only to check my Strava that evening and discover none of the ride had correctly recorded.

Often you miss a short section of a segment or maybe lose the mileage of a weekday ride, but one rider recently faced a more devastating data loss.

Elmar Hogenboom, a rider based in the Netherlands, like many had planned to use the longest day of the year for an epic adventure.

Hogenboom wanted to take on the Veloviewer Max Square challenge – covering as many tiles on a map as possible in one ride to create a huge square.

After one rider check of 18x18 tiles in one activity, Hogenboom set off at 4.16am on Saturday (June 20) to try and beat that record.

More than 30 hours after setting off, 23 hours of that in the saddle, Hogenboom finished his mission having racked up 537km around North West Germany.

Elmar Hogenboom completed a monster ride, but things didn't go according to plan (Picture: Strava/ Elmar Hogenboom)

But on inspecting the “toughest ride of his life,” he discovered that eight hours of GPS data was missing

Hogenboom said on Strava: “Unfortunately it seems eight hours of data is actually missing, even though the distance is accurate.

“It’s disappointing for sure, but there’s I can do about it anymore. I went the distance and crossed the tile.

“They say if it’s not on Strava it didn’t happen. Believe me, it happened.”

The aim of the Max Square challenge is to ride into as many map tiles as possible to tick them off, with riders aiming to make the biggest square on the map.

Hogenboom had planned out his route to tick of 21x21 tiles and he cycled through the night (stopping for power naps) to complete the cult challenge.

Battling through multiple punctures, 80km of unpaved roads and tiredness, Hogenboom put in a phenomenal effort for his ride.

But losing the data he said he will probably try again, only with a few lessons learned the hard way.

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Next time Hogenboom said he will sleep more in the week before the challenge, will go tubeless, get gravel tyres, and take an extra GPS device for back-up.

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.