Meet the Strava user turning the streets of Melbourne into his own canvas

Pravin Xeona is an avid cyclist, but he's a bit different to your average Lycra-clad Strava user.

Two of Pravin's more Australian designs.
Two of Pravin's more Australian designs.

It's the app that's played its part in Australia's recent running boom. A social media-like platform for fitness fanatics to track their workouts with remarkable precision, Strava brings you a world of 'Local Legends' and kudos giving that's surprisingly addictive. And while the fixation on beating your mate's 5km time can at times turn toxic, one Melburnian is doing his bit to bring a bit of light-hearted fun back to the app.

Pravin Xeona is one of a handful of Strava artists who use the app to create drawings with GPS. Starting during the pandemic, the cyclist was inspired by a video from the UK and he soon got to work on his own masterpieces.

"I thought to myself, why can't I try it here myself? Thats 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: Supplied
Pravin says Strava has had a positive impact on his life. Source: Supplied

Soon came Australian icons in the form of a kangaroo and a koala in a tree. In more recent times more complex artworks have been created including an old-school television set and Star Wars' YT-1300 light freighter.

"It's fun planning and executing the drawings. Sometimes I have to start over the planning and do several iterations, but it is worth the effort. Being someone who loves cycling and exploring places, the execution part of it what I enjoy the most," he explained.

"Strava art helps keep me creative, healthy and happy."

Not only do the drawings bring him joy, but he has been overwhelmed with the response from others. "The reaction I get is so wholesome. People are curious how its done, appreciate the effort and tell me that I passed their home while doing the drawing," he said.

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

Speaking of the success of Strava in recent years, he said it was a "huge win" for the app to get runners, cyclists and swimmers of all levels fascinated with performance and keeping fit and healthy.

"Strava has played an immense role in helping me get off the couch, go out, ride, train and explore this beautiful country."

Pravin is not the only Strava artist getting attention in Australia. Pete Rabbit is known for his intricate designs across Adelaide including a giant artwork of Bluey and just last month was the man behind a touching Lion King tribute to seven-year-old Zack Lush who recently died from a rare childhood neurological disorder.

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

Strava has ballooned to more than 125 million users around the world, with CEO Michael Martin saying this week its growth has accelerated once again in 2024, telling Bloomberg they are seeing that people are becoming "tired of social media networks and they're looking for real connections". "And I do think Strava helps with that," he said.

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