Cyclists pedal 4,500 miles across Europe to draw giant GPS bicycle

Daniel Rayneau-Kirkhope, 35, and Arianna Casiraghi, 40, created the striking image to encourage sustainable travel

Rory Sullivan
Friday 19 August 2022 16:20 BST
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(Daniel Rayneau-Kirkhope/Arianna Casiraghi)

A couple has completed a gruelling 4,500-mile bike ride around Europe in the shape of an enormous bicycle, in a creative attempt to promote sustainable travel.

Accompanied by their dog Zola, Daniel Rayneau-Kirkhope, 35, and Arianna Casiraghi, 40, rode through seven countries to create the striking image, motivated by their desire to raise awareness about climate change.

After completing their 7237km journey earlier this week, the pair said they had narrowly beaten the Guinness World Record for the largest GPS drawing made by any mode of transport.

They are also, unsurprisingly, confident that they have traced the biggest ever GPS bicycle, estimating that theirs is roughly 600 miles wide.

“Being able to see it on the map is mainly a relief,” Ms Casiraghi told The Guardian, after recounting the problems they had along the way.

They initially set off in the summer of 2019, armed with a computer-devised route which they had tweaked to avoid cycling through Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport. However, they were forced to stop after Ms Casiraghi sustained a knee injury.

The Anglo-Italian couple tried again that winter, before giving up because it was too cold to camp. The Covid-19 pandemic then delayed the trip’s completion by another two years.

“We had so many obstacles. When we started this time we were thinking – what can go wrong this time? We felt we had let people down by not completing it, and our life felt kind of stuck. So we’re very happy,” Ms Casiraghi said.

Mr Rayneau-Kirkhope built their bikes, one of which had a cargo section for their dog to sit in.

Daniel Rayneau-Kirkhope and Arianna Casiraghi are pictured with their bikes
Daniel Rayneau-Kirkhope and Arianna Casiraghi are pictured with their bikes (Daniel Rayneau-Kirkhope/Arianna Casiraghi)

The pair said they want people who see the GPS image to consider cycling shorter journeys rather than choosing to drive.

“Cycling is cheaper, it’s healthy, it’s fun, and it’s often pretty fast. Please give it a second and consider if there is an alternative to the car - there may not be, but often there is,” Mr Rayneau-Kirkhope told The Independent.

The 35-year-old added that they also hope politicians who come across their GPS bicycle are motivated to improve cycling infrastructure to encourage the public to travel sustainably where possible.

In an Instagram post at the end of their ride, the couple, who both gave up their jobs as researchers to travel, said they did not plan to trace any more GPS shapes.

“Now, we will go home and rest before going for another cycling trip. This time, no drawing, just pedalling in whichever direction we bloody well please!”

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