Cyclist creates festive art by riding reindeer route

Anthony Hoyte cycled nearly 80 miles to trace out the route on the streets of London.

Anthony Hoyte and his reindeer Strava art
Anthony Hoyte and his reindeer Strava art

A cyclist has brought some festive cheer to the streets of London by pedalling an image of a reindeer.

Anthony Hoyte, from Cheltenham, creates art by planning intricate routes that form images on maps, then recording his rides using the Strava fitness tracker app.

And his latest effort – his third annual Christmas image – may be his most impressive yet.

“I’m pretty happy with it,” the 51-year-old told the PA news agency. “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.”

Mr Hoyte’s impressive 79-mile route started in Hammersmith in west London, went north as far as Edgware before heading south again and east through Hampstead Heath and Wood Green.

Finally he returned south through Kilburn and Maida Vale before finishing along Euston Road in central London.

An image of Santa on Strava cycled by Anthony Hoyte
Last year Anthony Hoyte cycled the image of Santa in Birmingham (Anthony Hoyt/PA)

At nine hours, it pushed him about as far as he can go, even as a regular club cyclist.

“I live in the countryside and it’s very different to coming into London,” he said. “Particularly around Neasden and Wembley, it’s not the most pleasant cycling.

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

Mr Hoyte, a heritage consultant, has produced around a dozen pieces of art on his bike, and believes his training as a product designer helps in the creative process of planning the routes.

Anthony Hoyte
Anthony Hoyte studies maps to find potential routes for his art (Anthony Hoyte/PA)

“I just spend a lot of time looking at maps and it’s waiting for things to jump out at you,” he said. “Normally I look at maps until I see something – ‘That looks a bit like a nose’ – so I think ‘Where can I find eyes near that?’

“It’s like looking at patterns in clouds and seeing pictures.

“With these ones it’s a bit more tricky because I’m trying to do something festive so it’s harder, but it’s the same process really.”

An image of a Yorkshire terrier cycled in Leeds
Previous routes have included a Yorkshire terrier cycled on the streets of Leeds (Anthony Hoyte/PA)

Other routes Mr Hoyte has cycled include a Yorkshire terrier in Leeds, two elephants in Birmingham, and a flock of birds in Bristol.

In 2017 he produced his first festive work by cycling a snowman in London and he followed it up last year with Santa in Birmingham.

He said: “In a sense I’ve made a rod for my own back in that it’s become a tradition and everyone was saying ‘So what’s it going to be this year?'”

But in the end, the reindeer turned out almost exactly as planned.

A snowman route cycled by Anthony Hoyte
Anthony Hoyte’s first festive effort was a snowman in 2017 (Anthony Hoyte/PA)

“There’s a little glitch in there near Shepherd’s Bush where I obviously lost the GPS signal and it creates a straight line that cuts through a couple of street blocks, but that’s minor,” he said.

“I made a couple of mistakes but they’re so small that nobody’s going to notice really. I’m happy. It looks how I wanted it to look.”

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