The Siren of the Salish Sea

Mermaid of the Salish Sea • Strava art by Stephen Lund in Victoria BC garmin gps strava art mermaid siren temptress Salish Sea

This beautiful creature of the deep required more than 200 kilometres of cycling in and around Victoria, BC

Beautiful but dangerous, the Sirens of ancient myth lured sailors with their enchanting music and voices to wreck their ships and meet their doom on the rocky coast of their island.

Well, this beauty of the deep was nearly the ruin of me…and three of my bikes! Lured by the notion of doing a huge yet intricate work of Strava art, I was drawn irresistibly into a punishing 11-plus hours of riding (not including hours spent stopped at the side of the road, poring over my map). I suffered. And my bikes suffered.

Here’s a little write-up about the experience, which I penned before I downloaded my ride…

It’s 11:10 Sunday morning – some 28 hours after I rolled out of bed to start work on my Strava mermaid.

I got up just after 5 am Saturday, eager to get an early start. En route to the starting point, I got a flat – and then another – so I rolled slowly home on a flat rear tire to swap bikes and start anew. On bike #2, I got a puncture at exactly the same bend in the road, so on a flat rear tubular I rolled home again to once again swap bikes.

I was “third time lucky” with bike #3, but it was nearly 9:00 before I clicked “Start” on my Garmin and got underway.

The degree of detail called for a crazy amount of map-checking, dot-connecting and retracing routes, so it was a slow, slow go. In fact, when I called it quits well after dark on Saturday, I was only about three-quarters done.

On Sunday I was back at it by 6:30 am, and it was nearly 11 before I finally rolled up to the end point. (The freewheel bearings on bike #3 made quite a fuss for the last hour, but everything held together to the end. Phew.)

Although the road sections in my mermaid add up to 90 kilometres, she required far more biking back and forth between connecting points where the map didn’t cooperate. My total distance was actually more than 200 km, and my total moving time on the bike was 11.2 hours.

I haven’t downloaded her yet. I’m scared to. After all that time and distance (and all those mechanical issues), if she doesn’t turn out, I’ll go berserk!

See it on Strava

About Stephen

Brand strategist and creative director by day. Hyper-competitive GPS-art obsessed cyclist most of the rest of the time.
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20 Responses to The Siren of the Salish Sea

  1. HOLY CRAP THAT’S INSANE!!! I once again bow down to your uber level artistry.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jean says:

    I kept on seeing your new entries via reader, but lst time I’m looking at a blog post. (I don’t pay attention to strava stuff.)

    Congrats.! I couldn’t get into the Strava link. And how was the weather in Victoria on that day?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Stephen says:

      Hey Jean – to see the ride on Strava, you have to be logged in at It was a tad rainy when I started out on Saturday morning, but it dried up mid-morning. It was a little cloudy and a little windy the rest of the time, with the temperature reaching a balmy 15ºC on Saturday afternoon.


      • Jean says:

        Maybe you’ll do something in celebration of cherry blossom season. 🙂 Vancouver’s bustin’ out with those blooms. Calgary’s weather for past few days has been actually same temps.

        I suppose you’ve done a whale or dolphin already. A bison will taken you further out, but more circular, sort of.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Stephen says:

        I’ve got a whale on my Strava To-Do List. I hadn’t considered a bison – an interesting challenge!


  3. You are a nut! And that’s what I love about you!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Kevin says:

    Chapeau Steve! That siren is amazing! I am drawn to her. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  5. louvic says:

    A wow to your dedication and a further wow to the finished result!! Great stuff!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Stephen says:

      Thanks, louvic! I was SO relieved when I finally downloaded my Garmin data and saw that she turned out pretty much as planned. (I made a couple of minor mistakes along the way, but I’m not in a hurry to redo the whole thing!)


  6. nicolemkurz says:

    That’s a commendable amount of dedication my friend. And she’s lovely. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Stephen says:

    Damn. Even as I wrote my reply I had a sense I might be stepping into a minefield…


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