Meet the Strava user who turns Melbourne’s streets into his own canvas

It’s the app that has played a role in Australia’s recent running boom. A social media-like platform for fitness fanatics to track their workouts with remarkable precision. Strava offers you a world of ‘Local Legends’ and compliment giving that is surprisingly addictive. And while the fixation on improving your partner’s 5K time can sometimes become toxic, one Melburnian is doing his best to bring some light-hearted fun back to the app.

Pravin Xeona is one of the few Strava artists who use the app to create drawings with GPS. Starting with the pandemic, the cyclist was inspired by a video from Great Britain and soon started working on his own masterpieces.

“I thought to myself, why can’t I try it myself here? That’s how it started and my first drawing was the Batman logo,” he told Yahoo News Australia.

Pravin says Strava has had a positive impact on his life.  Source: suppliedPravin says Strava has had a positive impact on his life.  Source: supplied

Pravin says Strava has had a positive impact on his life. Source: supplied

Australian icons soon arrived in the form of a kangaroo and a koala in a tree. In more recent times, more complex works of art have been created, including an old-fashioned television set and the YT-1300 light freighter from Star Wars.

“It’s fun to plan and execute the drawings. Sometimes I have to start the planning again and do several iterations, but it’s worth it. Being someone who loves cycling and loves places, I find the execution of it is the most enjoyable.” he explained.

“Strava art helps keep me creative, healthy and happy.”

Not only do the drawings bring him joy, but he is also overwhelmed by the reactions of others. “The response I get is so beneficial. People are curious about how it’s done, appreciate the effort and tell me I stopped by their house while I was drawing,” he said.

Some of his more detailed pieces can last up to five hours and he revealed he has ambitious plans for more artworks in the future.

Speaking about Strava’s success in recent years, he said it was a “huge win” for the app to engage runners, cyclists and swimmers of all levels with performance and staying fit and healthy.

“Strava has played a huge role in helping me get off the couch, get out there, cycle, train and explore this beautiful country.”

Pravin isn’t the only Strava artist getting attention in Australia. Pete Rabbit is known for his intricate designs in Adelaide, including a giant artwork by Bluey, and last month he was the man behind a moving Lion King tribute to seven-year-old Zack Lush, who recently died from a rare neurological childhood disease.

And in Sydney earlier this year, Gareth Bishop impressed on Australia Day with his satisfying map of Australia.

Strava has grown to more than 125 million users around the world, with CEO Michael Martin saying this week that growth has accelerated again in 2024. He told Bloomberg that they see people “getting tired of social media networks and looking for real connections.” “And I think Strava helps with that,” he said.

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