How to… Finish the Festive 500

Get by with a little help from our friends

Completing the Rapha Festive 500 takes commitment, creativity and a dash of holiday madness. Only 13,000 of the 72,000 participants were successful last year so to help you prepare for the challenge, we have collected advice from cyclists who have ridden it between 2010 and 2015.

Be inspired by their stories and use the words of wisdom to help plan your eight days of festive riding.



Frank van der Sman, Rapha Ambassador

Netherlands. Finisher 2011-2015

Knock out a huge chunk on the first day, recover over Christmas, then ride some more. Bourbon bidons also help.


Dan Morris, Rapha Ambassador

United Kingdom. Finisher 2013, 2015

This is a mega challenge if you have kids. Planning a ride can be hard when there are so many family events to tick off. However, use those events as the excuse to ride, especially if you have multiple places to go. My bike allowed me to fit a child seat, so I got some miles in with my daughter onboard - she loved it!


Sylvie Uyttendaele, Rapha Ambassador

Belgium. Finisher 2014, 2015

Complete the Festive 500 to build up a huge appetite - you'll earn credit from your mother-in-law!


Catriona Forrest, Rapha Ambassador

United Kingdom. Finisher 2015

Like an advent calendar counting down until Christmas, write down your mileage and cross it off at the end of each ride.


Emil Holt, Rapha Ambassador

Sweden. Finisher 2015

Warm toes and warm fingers will keep you riding so protect those digits! Also, pace yourself so that you won’t end up cold from perspiration, and let the winter landscape distract you.


Mieke Kröger, CANYON//SRAM cyclist

Germany. First time riding this year

Let the Christmas cookies be your fuel… And to make them more healthy, take over the Christmas baking yourself!


Rasmus Helt Poulsen, Rapha Ambassador

Denmark. Finisher 2015

Always bring a flask to the task.


Harry Dowdney, Rapha Copywriter

United Kingdom. Finisher 2015

Turn the challenge into an adventure by doing an A-to-B ride over a few days. Stop off at the houses of friends and family, then get the train home. The sense of a journey, seeing friendly faces, and having an end goal, all make it very special.


Grace Lambert-Smith, Rapha Ambassador

United Kingdom. Finisher 2014, 2015

It's never about speed this time of year. Find some friends, stick to roads you know well and enjoy the ride.


James Fairbank, Rapha Head of Brand

United Kingdom. Finisher 2011, 2012, 2014

If you have a Cross bike, keep it handy. If it snows then you'll need a plan B.


Beth Duryea, CANYON//SRAM Directeur Sportif

Australia. Finisher 2015

Get your kilometres in early. Challenge your cycling friends to do it with you (even if they're not in the same country!).


Patch Hofweber, Rapha Ambassador

Sweden. Finisher 2011, 2013

Don’t short change yourself on gear. Fenders, studs, and a frame bag. Bar mitts and winter boots if you’re in northern Europe.


Barbara Guarischi, CANYON//SRAM Cyclist

Italy. First time riding in 2016

Plan your training and your routes all before 24th December. It’ll be something to keep you on track and focused.


Gem Atkinson, Rapha Ambassador

United Kingdom. Finisher 2012

Use the opportunity to do a huge, mega-mileage ride. Taking a big chunk out of the target in one go makes things easier & will also have you pushing your limits nicely.


John Braynard, Rapha Ambassador

Austria/USA. Finisher 2014, 2015

If you are truly riding in the winter, make sure your bike is in good shape. You never know when problems might come up in the freezing conditions!


Abi Williams, Rapha Customer Service Advisor

United Kingdom. Finisher 2015

Explore those areas you've always wanted to go. There’s no better opportunity than with 500 kilometres to explore new routes and find secret climbs.


Dirk Maertins, Rapha Ambassador

Germany. Finisher 2010-2015

Night rides are the most socially acceptable way to finish.