Pedalling squares: Inside the world of tile-bagging

Set a cyclist a bizarre and near-impossible challenge and they’ll go to any lengths to achieve it. So it is with the intrepid band of tile-baggers seeking to cover the globe in tyre tracks one mile square tile at a time, writes James Shrubsall

(Image credit: Dan Gould)

Northamptonshire-based cyclist Jack Peterson is pressed up against the chainlink fence marking the perimeter of the airforce base. We can only imagine what any sentries on the other side must have made of this attack-by-cuddling. But such is the life of the world’s top tile bagger, he explains, if you want to get that elusive GPS tile you’ve got to go to some extreme ends.

“I sort of tromped across the field and literally hugged the security fence, waiting for somebody to spot me on the cameras,” Peterson recalls. “I sort of went down the side of the fence, literally brushing the fence and hoping, like maybe an inaccuracy in the GPS would allow you to just catch it.

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