In an effort to promote cycling as a climate-friendly means of transportation, a couple travelled more than 7,000 kilometres to draw a giant GPS bicycle.

Faced with the urge to combat climate change, certain people decide to recycle more or lower the temperature on the thermostat more often. Others, such as Daniel Rayneau-Kirkhope and Arianna Casiraghi, choose to go through greater lengths to draw attention to the problem.

The English-Italian couple, accompanied by their dog, recently went on a 7,242-km-long bicycle trip across seven European countries to encourage the use of bikes. To achieve this goal, they designed the route so that the GPS map would be marked with a giant bicycle.

Both stepped back from their work as physics researchers to conduct the meticulously planned journey. Speaking with the Guardian while travelling back home to Piedmont, the couple expressed hopes that their activities would draw attention to the severity of the climate crisis and persuade more people to think about taking the bike instead of the car more often.

Aside from contributing to climate activism, the bike trip also earned the couple three rather niche world records: the biggest GPS image ever created, the biggest GPS image ever created only with the help of a bicycle, and the biggest ever drawn bicycle.

There were many points in the journey when it looked as though it could not be finished successfully. The couple first started in summer 2019, but had to interrupt after 40-year-old Casiraghi suffered a knee injury. Back on track in November that same year, they were soon forced to stop again as the low temperatures made camping impossible. The goal of finishing in March 2020 was abandoned after the pandemic created too many figurative roadblocks.

"The fact of being able to see the final result on the map is a big relief", declared Mrs Casiraghi. "We encountered so many obstacles. When we started, we wondered whether we could finish and not disappoint people. ... We are therefore happy to have completed the trip."

France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg

35-year-old Rayneau-Kirkhope constructed their bikes himself. One of them includes a basket in the front in which their dog Zola travelled along. "She loved the cargo bike, she jumped in and out with pleasure", ensured Mr Rayneau-Kirkhope.

Drawing a perfect GPS bicycle across France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg was not an easy task. The initial route would have taken the couple across Charles de Gaulle airport, but luckily, the image is big enough to forgive small yet necessary detours.

The final image extends over a distance of 900 kilometres on the virtual map.

"When people see the image, we want them to remember that that they probably have a bike standing around somewhere that they could use more often, in particular for short trips", explained Mrs Casiraghi.