Strava – Is it Art?

The answer of course is a resounding YES!

Strava art is a movement that has been gaining ground recently. It involves using the GPS trace during your ride to “sketch” out pictures or words on the roads. The file is then uploaded to Strava where the “artwork” is displayed.

strava-giraffe-flippedStephen Lund has a blog called SKETCHBOOK OF A STRAVA ARTIST featuring his own Strava artworks and how he creates them.

They are nothing short of sublime and I bow down to his creativity, patience and epic Strava artistry. I was most impressed by this rendition of a giraffe! It took around 60 miles of cycling and I’m sure many, many more hours of planning to create this masterpiece. He’s like the Banksy of the digital world!

Over on his blog he also has a post about how he plans out these pieces. It’s an aspect of Strava artistry I’ve often wondered about and has got to be the hardest part. It must take quite the imagination to look at a road map and see such fantastic images. I could stare at Google maps all day and never see anything like this.

There’s a few people here in the UK who have also created some fantastic Strava artworks. This drawing of a bike by David Taylor took over 180 miles to create and is one of my favourites, especially as it’s been “sketched” in the New Forest!

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Cycling Weekly – Five of the Best Strava Art

Sketchbook of a Strava Artist

Monday solo ride for the soul

BsBq-m8IgAA_tVcWhat better way to spend my final work-free Monday than to get on the bike and rack up a few extra miles. Apart from a week’s illness my training has been progressing well, so today I planned to go out and just enjoy the ride without focusing on any numbers.

After waiting for the morning commute traffic to calm down I set out on familiar roads towards Twyford before turning North for the lovely town of Henley-on-Thames (famous for the annual rowing regatta and Wind in the Willows exhibition). Passing through Henley and into the Chilterns it was time for the only climb of the ride, Pishill.

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Pishill is the spike you can see in the middle of the route profile. It’s not a tough climb by any means, just a long one. The full climb is around 6 miles without any breaks, but it’s really only the last two miles that count. There’s plenty more hills throughout the Chilterns, but one will do for today. From the top it was a short stop to admire the view before retracing my steps towards home.

On a side note, if you’re ever cycling through the Chilterns keep your eyes peeled for Wallabies! Rumour has it that many years ago an Estate had a private collection, of which a few managed to escape and survive, now there’s a wild population hopping about the hills!

All in all an enjoyable, if a little windy 55 miles to myself. There’s no doubt that a few hours away from the world – just you and the bike – is good for the soul. You can really take in the journey and appreciate the beauty of life on two wheels.

Wallaby photo courtesy of the Henley Standard online.

A city fit for cycling

I’ve just spend the last week in Amsterdam, it’s a city I’ve wanted to visit for many years now and it was great to finally get over.

Amsterdam is the ultimate cycling city – we’re not talking high end carbon road bikes here – but everyday people on everyday bikes using them as transport. The terrain is flat and there are dedicated cycle lanes almost everywhere.

amsterdam001The wife enjoying a break in Amsterdam’s Flower Market.

In fact if you’re wandering around the streets without paying too much attention you’re more likely to be hit by a bicycle than a car! I’ve never seen so many cargo bikes either, or bikes with all number of boxes and child seats bolted to them. The locals really do use their bikes for everything (and what’s more there is hardly a helmeted head to be seen).

Unsurprisingly then, the best way to see the city is to hire a bike for yourself. Although Amsterdam is easily negotiated on foot or by tram, you can cover far more ground on two wheels and get a much better feel for the city in the process.

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My wife and I hired ours from Mike’s Bike Tours, it cost us a grand total of £12 for two bikes rented for the entire day! That’s money well spent.

The things we do…

…for a little cloth badge from Rapha! :-)

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Finally received  my Rapha Festive 500 celebratory badge. I’ve been waiting for this since I finished that last ride on the 28th of December to cap off six days on the bike.

The badge was accompanied by a postcard full of challenge statistics. One of the more interesting numbers is 1277. That’s the total number of riders in the UK who managed to ride 500km or more and complete the challenge. A nice little elite group I’d say!

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Date with the foam roller

Following a training block of mostly intense turbo sessions, my legs are feeling the build-up of fatigue. They’re especially tight and “achy” this week. Something I tend to neglect is a routine of stretching and foam rolling. Unfortunately I don’t have the budget for my own personal in-house sports masseuse so the next best thing is using a foam roller. This video from Garmin-Sharp outlines a good routine for cyclists:

If you’ve never used a foam roller before it can be a painful experience, but it’s a good type of pain! Or maybe that’s just me? Regular foam rolling is great for loosening stiff muscles and massaging away any knots or tight spots. Make it part of your regular routine and reap the benefits (I should really follow my own advice).

Tannus Aither 1.1 Tyres

Just a quick update on the new Tannus solid tyres. I’ve published an article outlining my initial impressions after chatting with the Tannus rep and fitting a pair. It covers a bit of the science behind the tyres and also the mounting process, which is more complex than regular clincher tyres.

First Look: Tannus Aither 1.1 Solid Tyres

Click on the link above to view the article on Wheelsuckers. Hopefully I’ll be able to get out on the road some time this week to give them a good blast!

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