The Festive 500

Since 2010, the Festive 500 has challenged cyclists to ride a total of 500km on the eight days between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. Once again we invite you to join tens of thousands of riders in testing yourself on the bike over the holidays as part of this growing festive tradition.

Rapha encourages you to celebrate your commitment to the cause by documenting your Festive 500 with photos, films, letters – whichever way you see fit. The most creative and interesting submissions will be considered for a number of top prizes (see below). As always, all participants who complete their 500km can claim a commemorative woven roundel.

So, skip that glass of afternoon sherry and get off the sofa this holiday. The Festive 500 will end your riding year on a high.

Wishing you a very Festive 500,


A Growing Tradition

The Festive 500 was born of an impulsive idea by Rapha product designer Graeme Raeburn to ride 1,000km in the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. In doing so, he would combine visiting his family with extensive product testing and base miles into one intrepid expedition.

The success of Graeme’s madcap adventuring inspired Rapha to invite friends and customers to match (half of) his feat in 2010, and a total of 94 hardy souls completed the challenge. Since then, the Festive 500 has grown to have 48,000 participants last year, of which 8,398 were successful. Easy it isn’t, but challenges never should be.

How To Participate

Riders are encouraged to use a GPS device or smart phone to track their miles using the Strava app. Those not using Strava can simply document their journey through photos and stories from the road, which can also substitute as proof of completion.

Claims for roundels are now closed. Roundels will begin being posted in February.

Ride With Rapha

Struggling to find ride partners during the holiday period? The Rapha Cycling Club (RCC) will be hosting Festive 500 rides open to anyone wishing to join them. To find a ride near you, please check your nearest Cycle Club’s ride page.

As an early festive gift, Rapha’s expert Ride Leaders have also mapped out a selection of these Festive 500 rides as gpx files for you to download onto a Garmin or Smartphone.

See the routes »

Festive 500 routes

Leave The Oven On - Surrey Hills, UK

Meeting out at Giro in Esher at 9.30 am, the RCCLDN Club Ride heads south to Peaslake through Shere and onto Box Hill for a leisurely coffee-fuelled Festive 500 trophy hunt through the Surrey Hills. Riders will have plenty of opportunities to peel off once their target 500km has been reached, do the whole distance to end in style or add in additional loops and hills to cross the line in the nick of time. From our point of view, New Year's Eve has two stages: the day and the night. Please make sure you celebrate the last day of 2015 on the bike by achieving your 500 km and then look forward to welcoming in 2016 through the night.

View route » / Register »

Cronulla, Sydney

One of Sydney’s best rides, once you get off the Pacific Highway you’re on virtually empty roads with stunning national park scenery. It’s called the 3 Gorges because it includes 3 great descents/climbs into gorges – Bobbin Head, Berowra Waters (including a free 5min ferry trip across the river) and Galston Gorge. You could even extend it out to 5 Gorges and go via Mount White and back again via Bobbin for a solid day in the saddle. If you are going via Mt White, make sure to stop at the Pie in the Sky café for a re-fuel.

View route »

Bear Mountain Challege, Peekskill, NY

One of the region's most scenic and challenging rides through the rolling hills of the Lower Hudson Valley. After our pitstop at the Orchards we'll ascend Lake Kanawauke road to take in the breathtaking azure shores of 7 Lakes Drive, before summiting Bear Mountain, the centrepiece of New York's riding. We'll stop off for a pint at Peekskill Brewery before taking the Metro-North home.

View route » / Register »

Latigo and Piuma, Los Angeles

With nearly 100ft of elevation per mile and two of the most scenic climbs in the Santa Monica Mountains, this loop starts by heading North on the Pacific Coast Highway to Latigo Canyon Road. Once down the backside and into the valley, riders can head South on Mullholland through a series of rollers before heading up Piuma Road and back over to the ocean. This ride encompasses the best of what Southern California has on tap.

View route » / Register »

Cheshire Lanes with the Wizard, UK

This ride takes you south of Manchester, through the flat Cheshire lanes, which are perfect for a wintry spin. This ride takes in "The Wizard" in Alderley Edge, giving you a chance to test you legs on this beautiful climb.

View route » / Register »

The Other side, Amsterdam, NL

Riding the dunes is one of the very few opportunities that people living in the west of the Netherlands have to escape the flats. While many riders are familiar with the dunes between Zandvoort and Den Haag, the dunes of Noord Holland remain fairly untouched by riders. Join us as we explore this beautiful and quiet area.

View route »

The North Coast Ride, Taipei

The scenery along the northern coast of Taiwan is a delight to behold. It is almost entirely flat but after reaching the coast the views never fail to disappoint. Join us on this ride which takes us far from the urbanscapes of the city.

View route »

Festive 500 in Bukit Jelutong, MY

Bukit Jelutong is one of the famous cycling start/finish points in the Klang Valley. There are many different challenging routes for riders to choose, from hilly terrain to flat, fast & furious roads. To stave off the heat, we usually stop by the road side stalls to enjoy an ice cold coconut drink before continuing our journey towards reaching our goal for the Festive 500. Jom!

View route »

URA-Onekan Ride, Tokyo

This is the different aspects of Tokyo. Onekan (arterial road) is one of the famous training course of Cycleist. And We select the back road. You will be able to feel the different of Tokyo. Join us.

View route »

Nara-Okuyoshino Ride, Osaka

This ride will be lead by Ride leader of CCOSK. He lives in Nara (next to both Osaka and Kyoto prefecture). He selected the fantastic road. You will be able to feel the old and geat road in this place. Join us.

View route »

The Prizes

This year, prizes have been arranged into categories, so when submitting your entries, please state which category you would like to be entered into.

Spirit of the Festive 500

Grand Prize
A custom built bike frame by Rapha Continental framebuilder Tom Donhou.

2nd Prize
A Rapha Travel ‘Raid’ trip for one person. The winner can choose from either a weekend or week-long Raid, in any destination offered by Rapha Travel in 2016 (subject to availability). Airfare to destination is not included. Non-transferrable, non-exchangeable for cash or alternative Rapha Travel trips or products.

3rd Prize
A year’s membership to the world’s finest road cycling club, the RCC. For existing RCC members, the prize is RCC Kit of the same value.

Against All Odds 

Rapha will award two prizes for completion of the distance in the face of inclement weather, one for the northern hemisphere (Men’s or Women’s Classic Winter Tights, Deep Winter Gloves, Deep Winter Overshoes) and one for the southern hemisphere (Pro Team Lightweight or Souplesse Bib Shorts, Pro Team Climber’s or Souplesse Jersey, Lightweight Cap).

Greatest Excuse

Rapha will award a special wildcard prize based on the nature of the excuse.

Glorious Failure

Win the Rapha Jersey that was never made: a limited edition sportwool merino jersey inspired by a legendary cycling feat. Jersey only available in size medium.

Entries are now closed. Winners will be announced by 29th January 2016.

On Social

Follow @Rapha and share your progress with the #Festive500 hashtag on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

From the blog

Top of the tree

Cyclists can be a creative bunch. All those hours spent in the saddle and all those beautiful landscapes passing by can prove fertile ground for inspired thinking. Each year Rapha challenges participants of the Festive 500 to document their rides as creatively as possible and each year they outdo themselves. Sifting through the Santa-size sack of submissions, from handwritten journals to pro-grade films, is by far one of the most enjoyable jobs we do.

Read the entire post »

Getting into the Festive (500) Spirit

It’s a time of year renowned for people travelling long distances and bestowing gifts. And, thanks to the Rapha Festive 500, cyclists have been writing their own Christmas stories. For while it might not seem the wisest idea to ride 500km over the festive season, that hasn’t stopped a real sense of adventure and creativity when it comes to participants documenting their rides.

Read the entire post »

Festive 500 Kit Guide

Riding the Festive 500 requires roadwear that is versatile and reliable. For most, the key to completing the challenge is to spread the distance over several days, while still planning for the worst that the weather gods can muster. Many aspiring Festive 500ers fail when the elements conspire to stop them riding, leaving them without enough time to make up the distance before New Year’s Day.

Read the entire post »