Hoyte doesn’t ride decked out as Santa or pull a sleigh behind his bike. Instead, every December, Hoyte uses his Strava fitness tracker‘s GPS to map out an impressively detailed shape on the roads that is inevitably holiday-themed.
In the past, Hoyte has pedaled his bike to create a snowman and Santa. On this year’s 9-hour ride with 3,500 feet of elevation gain, Hoyte followed a complicated 79-mile route to create a reindeer on the streets just northwest of London.
He tweeted a screengrab from his Strava account of his elaborately made reindeer, which has long antlers — no wonder he had to ride for nine hours!
It's that time of the year again when I cycle round congested streets in the rain looking for some festive cheer!: https://t.co/4u80fR8eNt@Strava @cyclingweekly #stravaart #stravart #gpsdoodle #gpsart #cycling #Christmas #reindeer #Rudolph pic.twitter.com/Nzm3Rch9nJ
— Anthony Hoyte (@anthoyte) December 9, 2019
How does Hoyte come up with his routes?
“I study Google and other online maps and look for shapes in the existing roads — a bit like spotting pictures in clouds,” he told Bicycling magazine. “If something jumps out at me — like perhaps a road that looks like a nose — then I’ll try and find eyes and so on. If nothing jumps out, I’ll try somewhere else, but I’ll keep coming back to places to see what I see.”
Hoyte travels to make his “Strava art.”
“I live just outside Cheltenham, which isn’t a huge place,” he told Bicycling. “I’ve done a couple of drawings here, but it’s much easier with a heavy concentration of roads. So, I’ve ended up visiting other cities in the U.K. — Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Leeds, London and Sheffield so far — some of which I’ve managed to combine with visits for work or to see friends and family.”
Here’s the 41-mile route he took in 2018, around Birmingham, England, which was shaped like Santa:
— Anthony Hoyte (@anthoyte) December 10, 2018
And in 2017, he rode his bike into a shape that really takes the Christmas fruitcake — an 88-mile track of a snowman. This one was a 10-hour ride!
— Anthony Hoyte (@anthoyte) December 20, 2017
But not all of his art is holiday-themed. He also pedaled a Yorkshire terrier around Leeds:
— Anthony Hoyte (@anthoyte) July 21, 2018
Hoyte isn’t the only athlete who has created designs with the GPS mapping capabilities of a fitness tracker. In 2016, The Guardian reported on a runner who made holiday-themed tracks, like a 1.2-mile ornament, a 2.7-mile Christmas tree and a 7.1-mile Santa face.
Talk about a good way to work off those Christmas cookies!