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An MIT administrative assistant recreated the Patriots' logo on his bike


While Nick Jewell was thinking of ways to engage and connect with his MIT students during COVID-19, he wanted to encourage them to go outside and get some exercise while also social distancing.

Jewell, who has served as the administrative assistant for  Club Sports at MIT for over a year now, worked with his colleagues to create a fun competition where they could create images by walking, running, or biking using Strava, a GPS-based running and cycling app.

Jewell decided to join in, and as an avid sports fan who has lived in Boston for the past four years, he wanted to recreate his own image of an iconic Boston-sports logo while biking around the city. He settled on the Patriots’ Flying Elvis logo.

“I really wanted to give Boston something to look at in this time of very little sports,” Jewell said over the phone on Thursday.

He sent a map of Boston to his father, Russell Jewel who is an artist from South Carolina, for his help. After three hours of planning, Jewell then had to plot about thirty-five different points for him to bike to, some of which were tight turns that he knew he’d have to make in order to keep the image intact. He wrote them all down on a piece of paper, and entered two points at a time into his GPS during the trip.

On May 7, Jewell hopped on his bike and set out to recreate the logo. He finished in about 90 minutes.

Nick Jewell biked 12.86 miles to draw the Patriots’ logo. —Nick Jewell

 

Jewell said he started his trip by biking from US-1 to Charlestown, above the Boston Dirt and Gravel Company, to draw the hat. Next, he went down and through Cambridge again to draw the face, nose, and mouth, finishing the eye last.

“There were only a couple of times where I really knew where I was, which was doing the tiny pieces like the star on the hat or doing the mouth and nose. Outside of that it was a lot of small plot points to make sure I didn’t get lost.”

After 12.86 miles, Jewell ended his journey on Cambridge Street. He said he didn’t take any breaks during the entire trip, not wanting to mess up his plan.

“I wanted to get it all done,” he said. “I was worried if I took a break and rethought about some things too much I would try to change it on the fly. I just did it all in one go.”

Along the way, he also passed by places he used to hang out and started having flashbacks of how he would spend time there before the virus. He noticed how few people were outside now, and how empty the roads were.

“I passed by a place I used to play pick-up football in Charlestown, but I didn’t see too many people out and about,” he said. “It was a fairly nice day, but it was very strange because I’m used to biking around Boston a lot and having cars pass closely…and it was honestly very easy to bike because there was such little traffic on the road.”

As soon as he was done, Jewell shared the accomplishment with his dad, and four days later, decided to post the image on Reddit. The reception was fairly positive, despite some fans noticing that he had drawn the logo backwards.

“It exploded there,” Jewell said about the reaction online. “Obviously we had a couple people who were like, ‘it’s facing the wrong way,’ but we did the best with what we had so I was pretty happy with it.”

He had planned on sharing the image with his students on Monday, but then ran the story with Patriots.com.

“I went ahead and told the students yesterday,” he added. “I think they loved it and I know a lot of our faculty and staff also want to try to recreate something via GPS. I’m really just excited that it’s become another way for people to safely get out there, exercise, and create some type of community around MIT students and staff. It’s cool.”

Jewell is already working on another project too, this time recreating the Red Sox’ baseball socks logo. He’s currently trying to find a location large enough to draw a circle that can fit the socks inside of it. He’s considering using the entire Somerville-Cambridge area to try to do it.

He’s also looking forward to having his students create their own images, hopefully ones larger than what he’s attempted so far.

“The cool thing about MIT is I really believe once this gets out, the kids that go [there] are going to be not only competitive enough but they’re going to know how to use the GPS well enough to create something bigger and better than what I’ve created.”


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