Liyang Wang is a Toronto-based runner and cyclist (also known as a duathlete) who on Sunday decided to get creative with his weekend bike ride. After his morning run, he set out for his ride, but instead of going for a simple out-and-back route or an easy-to-follow loop, he went all around the city in a carefully-planned 83K ride in the shape of a Nike Alphafly. Once complete, he captioned his Strava Art with, “Dear Nike, all I want for xmas is…” The team at Nike might never see Wang’s post, but if they do, maybe they’ll like what they see and give him an early Christmas gift.
Wang’s Strava Art ride was much slower than usual, and he averaged just 21K per hour over the close to four-hour outing. He routinely averages much quicker speeds, but he says he wanted to take care and make sure he nailed the route without any slip-ups and blemishes along the way. This quest for perfection started well before he got on his bike, though, and he says he spent a long time mapping out his route.
“It took about an hour to get a rough draft going, then another two hours to hone out the details,” he says. “Honestly, though, the execution was way more stressful than the planning, especially with how wonky GPS can be in downtown Toronto.” To avoid any potential GPS failures, Wang had his Garmin bike computer tracking the ride, his GPS watch as a backup and the Strava app on his phone following along, just to be extra sure he wouldn’t lose his connection.
He says he originally hoped to go farther by adding in shoe laces, but he couldn’t make it work with the city’s layout that far north. “I contemplated pausing my activity, going to a new place and then resuming it and letting the GPS just draw a straight line, but that seemed like cheating, so I avoided that.”
Wang — who says he was inspired by a recent ride by a fellow cyclist in Toronto who rode 100K in the shape of a moose — has attempted Strava Art once before (he traced out “2016” for a 5K New Years Eve run a few years ago), and he says he’ll definitely give it another shot, but only if one thing happens. “If Nike sends me the shoes, I’ll be sure to run a nice swoosh for them instead of riding it.”