The fifth year of the Festive 500 saw more riders than ever rise to the challenge of riding 500km on the eight days between 24th and 31st December.
More than 8,000 cyclists successfully completed the challenge and claimed their roundels, many pushing their own limits to ride further than they’d ridden before. Others simply took the opportunity of some time away from work to end their cycling year on a high.
The standard of entries this year was truly outstanding and prizes have been awarded under both new and established categories to recognise the variation and creativity in submissions. From striking photography and imaginative storytelling, to hand-drawn artwork and illustration, cyclists from around the world demonstrated what the Festive 500 means to them.
Grand prize for creativity
John Braynard and Boban Trajkovski – Salzburg 500
John Braynard and Boban Tradjkovski’s purpose-built website, salzburg500.com, was a clear winner for the grand prize this year. Showcasing the breathtaking photography captured on their journey, the website is dedicated to John’s and Boban’s Festive 500 adventures and tells the story of their rides in Austria, and also across the border in Italy, where they travelled to complete the challenge when Austrian weather threatened their plans.
Salzburg 500 wins a custom-built Feather Cycles frame, courtesy of Continental rider and frame builder Ricky Feather.
Best combined on and offline entry – Sera Pickering-Pick
Sera’s entry included a charming hand-illustrated notebook detailing her rides, routes, sustenance, and the clothing she donned each day. An accompanying film documented her ride preparation and what it was like tackling the Festive 500 challenge in the British countryside. Her father provided a birds-eye view of moments from her successful challenge attempt via a drone camera.
Sera’s documentation of her rides, in film and on paper, win her the new Rapha Women’s Brevet Jersey and Women’s Classic Bib Shorts or Classic Shorts
Best video – Ivan Bellaroba
Ivan put a rather romantic spin on cycling 500km in the dead of winter. His film showed off some stunning Scottish landscapes that will no doubt inspire a few to follow in his tracks next year.
As well as documenting his discoveries with beautiful shots, Ivan told a fine story about how and why he chose the long journey from Edinburgh to Dunnet Head, the most northerly point on mainland Britain, to complete his challenge.
Ivan’s ride through Scotland wins him a pair of Rapha GT Gloves.
Most spirited submission – Alexander Kolosov
Alexander documented his 500 kilometres in a subtle, light-hearted film about his rides in Russia. What stood out was a cheerful perseverance, seemingly at odds with the conditions he encountered.
Not only was the weather colder than average but Alexander also had to fit his rides in around work and family commitments. Almost all his mileage was racked up using commutes to and from work, riding on some pretty busy roads, with weather and daylight hours against him. He completed the challenge by topping up his commutes with one 200km ride to Red Square, in Moscow.
For embracing the spirit of the Festive 500, Alexander wins a Pro Team Softshell Jacket
Best photography – Christian Czech
Christian submitted a digital book containing striking black-and-white photography from his journey. Captured on some very snowy miles across stunning Bavarian landscapes, Christian’s rides looked incredibly scenic – especially when admired from the saddle of his 1920s French bicycle – complete with aluminium water bottles on its bars.
Christian’s photo essay of his rides through Bavaria wins him a Rapha Backpack
David journeyed from Colorado to California to complete his first Festive 500 , with his girlfriend Angie acting as support-driver. His blog deserves a mention, not only because it contains some great photography, but because David used the Festive 500 and the roads it took them both on, to propose to Angie and they returned home engaged to be married.
Mikael gets a mention because, as far as we can tell, his rides in Finland were completed in some of the coldest conditions experienced by any rider. Mikael embarked on his rides wrapped in many layers of clothing and took along enough mulled wine to stay warm and keep his spirits high.
Both David and Mikael win a Rapha Essentials Case and Brevet Bidon.