Love Strava Art? How to Create Your Own Masterpiece


Rose, by Lenny Maughan.

Roses are red, Violets are blue, would you like to be a Strava Artist too?

Love is in the air this Valentine's Day, which got us thinking about one of the things that we truly adore in this world: Strava Art. From record-breaking efforts to intricate creations, Strava Artists the world over use everything from city streets to barren deserts as their canvas.

And Strava Art is not just limited to pictures. Some use it to send a message, others to make up for the Valentine's gift they may have forgotten to buy.

But how does someone even begin the process of creating a piece of Strava Art, let alone producing something in time for Valentine's Day? Well, to answer that question we've been in touch with one of the best Strava Artists we know, and he's shared some of his tips for anyone interested in using the world as their canvas - and getting some miles in at the same time.

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Anyone who follows the Strava Art movement will be familiar with Lenny Maughan. The San Francisco resident has built a formidable reputation for being one of the most creative - and best - artists on the platform. Alongside truly impressive works like Dragon and Bigfoot, Lenny has produced numerous thematic works of Strava Art - plenty of them linked to love.

How to create Strava Art

How does someone begin to create a work of Strava Art? "Keep it simple," Lenny explains. "Review your 'canvas' by looking at a map of your activity area. Do you see any shapes in the grid of streets and trails? There you go! If you don't see anything, start with a predetermined image, and try to make it fit on your canvas.

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"Inspiration can come from text - just a few letters or a word. Another inspiration source is an emoji from your keyboard. Also look at tattoos, icons, symbols, advertisements, signs, etc. ... art is all around you. Again, if you're just starting out, keep it simple for your first piece. Complexity can follow later!"

Plan for success

Once you have found your inspiration, the next thing to do is plan. Meticulously. The best Strava Artists will analyze and construct their route, ensuring their best chance of success.

"With a paper map and a highlighter, or a digital map image and digital drawing tools (it's the same concept), start sketching your design," Lenny suggests. "Remember that this is one long single line, and it's OK to cross over and double back if needed. Take your time and work through many drafts until it's good, or good enough.

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"Remember that part of the charm of Strava Art is the 'chaos' of the imperfections of the GPS signal, which means your finished piece will always be slightly different from your original vision. You'll also want to review your final design and figure out the most efficient Start/Finish points to minimize double-backs."

Overcoming obstacles to your art

From inspiration to execution. Needless to say hopefully some planning makes this final stage relatively plain sailing. However, that is often not the case. "Sometimes you may encounter an obstacle (fence, wall, cliff, highway, etc.) that prevents you from 'drawing a line' through it," Lenny continues.

Fortunately, there is a way of dealing with unforeseen interruptions during the creative process: Pause and Resume. "Go as far as you can to the obstacle. Pause your recording. Go around the obstacle to the reconnection point. Resume. Strava will "draw" a straight line between these points, preserving your shape.

"You can Pause/Resume anytime along the way; for a quick bathroom break or even overnight if you want to continue from that point the next day. Take your time. This isn't a race.

"Have fun and think like a sculptor - you are, after all, sculpting your own art!"

So there you have it - the world is now your canvas. And if you're still looking for a 'special' Valentine's Day gift then why not go with an imperfectly formed heart? After all, nothing says love like a GPS line drawn on Strava.

Make sure you follow Lenny on Strava:

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