London cyclist draws giant reindeer on 79-mile journey using Strava app

Man bikes for nine hours to achieve festive image

The reindeer took Anthony Hoyte nine hours
The reindeer took Anthony Hoyte nine hours

A cyclist got on his bike for an epic nine-hour ride, all in the name of Christmas.

Anthony Hoyte, 51, used the Strava app to record his route, which he’d meticulously planned to create the outline of a reindeer – complete with eyes, nose and elaborate antlers.

The 79-mile journey started in Hammersmith, West London, went north as far Edgware, headed east through Hampstead Heath and up to Wood Green, before finishing up on Euston Road.

This is the Cheltenham-based ​heritage consultant’s third annual Christmas picture, with previous festive images including a snowman and Father Christmas’s face.

“I’m pretty happy with it,” Mr Hoyte said of this year’s effort. “You plan them all out but until you get back and upload it, you’re not quite sure whether it’s going to work or not.”

He added that he’d “made a rod for my own back” by making it an annual event, as now people are eagerly anticipating a new one every year.

The 79.4 mile journey took the cyclist all over London

Mr Hoyte has also dabbled in non-festive Strava artwork around the UK, with stand-out examples including a Yorkshire terrier in Leeds, elephants in Birmingham and a flock of birds in Bristol.

Previous year’s pictures include Father Christmas

Even as a regular club cyclist, Mr Hoyte said doing the reindeer pushed him to his limits.

“That’s about my maximum distance – I wouldn’t want to go too much above that. It’s a long day in the saddle,” he said.

The first festive picture was a snowman

It’s not the first time a transport route has been used to create virtual festive artwork.

In 2017, a pilot brought seasonal joy to the world by drawing a giant Christmas tree in the sky on a flight path over Germany while doing a test flight of an Airbus A380 aircraft for Emirates.

The plane set off from Hamburg’s Finkenwerder airport at 12.47pm local time on 13 December and arrived back into the same airport at 4.35pm, according to Flightradar.

However, instead of simply doing a few laps, the pilot took the decision to use the flight path to introduce a little more festive cheer. The tree even featured baubles by means of regular loops in the flying pattern in between each branch.

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