“Plague doctor” Venetian mask

Plague doctor (Medico Della Peste) Venetian masks at a Venetian mask shop in Venice, ItalyI’ve just returned from a holiday in Venice, where I saw, on every narrow strada I wandered, a crowded shop selling ornate Venetian masks.

Typically worn during the Carnival of Venice, these masks have a colourful history. One of their uses: to obscure the wearer’s identity and social status, allowing social interaction outside the bounds of everyday convention…and, in many cases, outside the bounds of propriety and morality!

After I completed my doodle, my 13-year-old pointed out that I’d drawn a “plague doctor” mask. With a long beak that makes it one of the most recognizable and bizarre of the Venetian masks, the Medico Della Peste mask’s macabre history originates with 17th century French physician Charles de Lorme, who adopted the mask while treating victims of the Italian Plague. To protect from airborne diseases, plague doctors filled the mask’s bird-like beak with herbs and scented substances like lavender.

“Cool,” I said. “You learned that it school, did you?” “No,” he said. “On a video game. Assassin’s Creed.” And all this time I thought those games were just turning his brain to mush.

Plague doctor Venetian mask by GPS artist Stephen Lund in Victoria, BC, Canada GPS Garmin Strava art cyclist cycling creativity Venice Italy Venezia Carnival plague doctor mask Medico Della Peste

I completed my “plague doctor” Venetian mask doodle on my birthday. Total distance: 41 kilometres – one kilometre for each year of the age I wish I still was.

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Two doodles in one: Gandalf the Grey and Gandalf the White

Gandalf the Grey Wizard by GPS artist Stephen Lund in Victoria, BC, Canada GPS Garmin Strava art cyclist cycling creativity Gandalf wizard JRR Tolkien fantasy

Daily Planet’s feature on “Cycleangelo” aired April 21, 2016. Kudos to segment producer Sean McShane for putting together a fantastic feature. • CLICK TO VIEW

On March 19, I spent the day with Sean McShane to shoot a segment for Discovery Channel’s Daily Planet.

I wanted to doodle something truly magical for the Daily Planet segment, so I was delighted to find – as I pored over my ‘inspirations’ map of Victoria – a hat that looked remarkably like a certain Tolkien wizard’s. From there, I worked my way down to flesh out the rest of the details.

Completing my GPS doodle of Gandalf required 168 kilometres (105 miles) of cycling – 88 km (55 mi) on roads and pathways directly in the doodle, and another 80 km (50 mi) of pedalling to “connect the dots” for the straight lines of Gandalf’s staff and a few other details for which suitable roads simply didn’t exist.

Gandalf the Grey Wizard by GPS artist Stephen Lund in Victoria, BC, Canada GPS Garmin Strava art cyclist cycling creativity Gandalf wizard JRR Tolkien fantasy

My city-sized portrait of Gandalf the Grey Wizard from The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings all began with a simple inspiration – a wizard’s hat – that I found in the city map

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“It’s all connected” • A doodle for the CAO

For the past few days, I’ve been cycling about in the nation’s capital – Ottawa, Canada – creating a doodle on behalf of the Canadian Association of Optometrists, or CAO.

Inspired by Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man, the doodle underscores a key message of CAO’s new campaign, “It’s All Connected” – namely, that an eye exam by an optometrist can reveal health issues elsewhere in the body, like brain tumours, hypertension and diabetes.

Da Vinci's Vitruvian Man by GPS artist Stephen Lund in Victoria, BC, Canada GPS Garmin Strava art cyclist cycling creativity eyes vision health optometrists Canadian Association of Optometrists CAO

In other words, an eye exam can reveal heath conditions that aren’t readily visible…in much the same way that I reveal images in the map that aren’t readily visible. And for me, as for the CAO, it’s all about seeing the big picture.

It was loads of fun to doodle once again on a brand new canvas. Total tracked distance of the CAO doodle was 41.4 kilometres (25.7 miles), though some extra mileage required to “connect the dots” where the map didn’t cooperate brought the total to 81.7 km (50.8 mi).

The doodle culminated with a short ride with some Ottawa dignitaries, including Mayor Jim Watson, Senator Nancy Green and Liberal MP Steve MacKinnon as well as CAO President Dr. Barry Thienes and CEO Laurie Clement.

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Great big seahorse

This huge Hippocampus, which I doodled nine days ago, isn’t so much a lesson in marine biology as it is a lesson in paying attention while you’re GPS-doodling.

I’d actually set out to do my seahorse doodle a day earlier, but I abandoned the effort after 30-some kilometres because I missed some details in the pectoral fin, overshot a turn on one of the trunk rings and disastrously lost my way at the back of the coronet.

The lesson bears repeating: a GPS tracking device doesn’t come with an eraser. Plan well and pedal carefully!

Seahorse by GPS artist Stephen Lund in Victoria, BC, Canada GPS Garmin Strava art cyclist cycling creativity animals wildlife marine life sea life Hippocampus ocean

Doodling this enormous seahorse required just over 100 kilometres (62 miles) of cycling…not including the 30-some km I spent on a failed effort the day before

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Hoppy Easter 2016…and a very big bunny

Calgary’s a big city. And since I happen to be in Calgary for the Easter weekend, I figured I ought to do a big Easter doodle.

100 kilometres (62 miles)…I guess that’s pretty big.

Hoppy Easter 2016 by GPS artist Stephen Lund in Victoria, BC, Canada GPS Garmin Strava art cyclist cycling creativity Easter 2016 Happy Easter greetings Easter bunny rabbit

Hoppy Easter!

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GPS Doodling Shenanigans with Shaw TV

On March 3, I spent a sunshiny and fun-filled afternoon with Shaw TV‘s Lisa Pysmenny, who put together a fantastic four-minute segment that aired yesterday. Have a look:

To commemorate the occasion, I doodled the words from the program’s logo – all pretty straightforward road riding except for the final stroke of the V in ‘TV’, which called for a slippy spin across a soggy field and some bobbing and weaving between town homes (see inset image below).

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* Note: The GPS points will render correctly only if you are logged in at Strava.com. For ease of viewing, I’ve rotated the map 180 degrees.

GO! Shaw TV by GPS artist Stephen Lund in Victoria, BC, Canada GPS Garmin Strava art cyclist cycling creativity media television Shaw TV South Vancouver Island Lisa Pysmenny

A memento from an enjoyable afternoon with Shaw TV South Vancouver Island

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A GPS Nod to a Worthy Adversary

Ostrich by GPS artist Stephen Lund in Victoria, BC, Canada GPS Garmin Strava art cyclist cycling creativity animals birds wildlife ostrich

Cyclists: beware the territorial ostrich!

As a long-time cyclist, I’ve had my fair share of run-ins and close-calls with critters both wild and domestic. I’ve had bees in my helmet and wasps in my jersey; I’ve been swooped by hawks and harassed by ravens; I’ve narrowly avoided deer, and I’ve had to bunny-hop over raccoons and prairie dogs.

But it all pales in comparison to this: Cyclists chased by an ostrich…

While that rampaging ostrich didn’t have the legs to win the sprint, it has proven to be a worthy adversary in other ways. You see, for a couple weeks before he trotted along, GPSdoodles.com seemed to be the hottest thing on the Internet. Then along came a flightless bird with an appetite for Spandex…

How’s a GPS doodler supposed to compete with that?

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