Tuesday 19 November 2019

Adopted Londoner spends five years cycling every street in the capital’s centre

Davis Vilums, from Latvia, said the achievement makes him feel ‘part of the city’.

By Max McLean and Edd Dracott, PA

A man from Latvia has completed the five-year task of cycling every single street in the centre of London, and said the experience has made him feel “part of the city”.

Davis Vilums mapped his cycle routes over half a decade in a task which also spanned multiple bikes and homes.

“When I came here for the first time I just fell in love with it,” the 32-year-old told the PA news agency.

“Even when I was growing up, following all the British media and shows, I just wanted to be part of this culture and this city, and I think I kind of achieved that – doing this was also kind of becoming a Londoner.”

The computer programmer, who first moved to the UK seven years ago, completed the majority of his journeys on his way to work, tracking his progress with GPS and GoPro footage.

He also highlighted his routes on A to Z maps of London.

“I was doing the same route every day and sometimes I was taking casually different routes just to see something else, to have a look around,” he said.

“I just decided I should log these streets I’ve taken – and the best way to do that was colouring in the streets.

“The first year flew very fast, the map expanded the central area, it was easy to accommodate this journey within my commute, but over time the routes got longer and longer so I ended up spending like two hours in the morning just commuting to the office.

“Sometimes it felt like it takes too much time but the closer I got to the edge of my maps I felt more and more excited.”

Mr Vilums completed his final street near Kilburn High Road in the north-west of the capital as it is furthest from his home in the south-east, finishing his half-decade journey at the end of September.

“I felt a sense of accomplishment, I felt that I’d done something and I don’t know exactly what to do next after this but I felt very proud,” he said.

Mr Vilums has been contacted by people across the world since achieving his goal, having posted a map of his routes to the social media site Reddit.

Among them was someone from Vancouver, Canada, who had completed a similar challenge.

Mr Vilums added that, although he has completed the map, he is still cycling and that in many ways the challenge is continuing.

“Currently my priority is going and revisiting the most enjoyable cycle paths,” he said.

“Like Regent’s Canal – I love that road … I couldn’t even explain it in proper words. Cycling is the best way to get around in central London.”

PA Media

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