If there’s one thing us cyclists unanimously absolutely love – it has to be Strava art.
And riding-your-bike-in-circles-until-your-GPS-markings-create-a-picture is even better at Christmas, when veteran GPS artist Anthony Hoyte comes out to play and impress us all.
Having already drew a snowman and a reindeer in recent years, this year he has snubbed the seasonal characters in favour of simple messaging: Merry Christmas.
Well, we say simple, we can only imagine the 127km route took a lot more preparation than such a distance normally takes. There was no standard route or following your map to the said destination this time.
Hoyte chose to deliver the greeting in London, starting in Islington in the north of capital with the outline of the Y in Merry, before completing the rest of the opening word.
He then rode south towards Hoxton, Bloomsbury and Paddington to write Christmas, with the outing taking nine hours and ten minutes to complete.
As suspected, it wasn’t all easy work. Telling the BBC that he had to amend the route “on the fly”, he said: “There are many road closures for Crossrail and there were a couple of gated estates that I hadn’t anticipated.
“Also, the ‘r’ in Christmas was supposed to take in a bit of Regent’s Park, but it was closed by the time I got there.
“For most of the obstacles, I managed to find an alternative route. But for Crossrail at Euston, I had to ‘cheat’ – pause my recording, navigate to other side of the works and then set it going again. This creates a straight line between the two points.”
He added that “I love that my drawings – especially the Christmas ones – seem to be appreciated.”
The big question is: what will he draw next Christmas? A Nativity scene isn’t much to ask for, is it?
Chris first started writing for Cycling Weekly in 2013 on work experience and has since become a regular name in the magazine and on the website. Reporting from races, long interviews with riders from the peloton and riding features drive his love of writing about all things two wheels.
Probably a bit too obsessed with mountains, he was previously found playing and guiding in the Canadian Rockies, and now mostly lives in the Val d’Aran in the Spanish Pyrenees where he’s a ski instructor in the winter and cycling guide in the summer. He almost certainly holds the record for the most number of interviews conducted from snowy mountains.
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