The Festive 500 has now become an annual celebration, a festive cycling phenomenon that brings the year to a close with a warm glow and tired legs. Conditions do, of course, vary depending where you are riding but whether in Scandinavia or South America, you can be proud if you took to the roads in search of those Christmas kilometres. From seven year-olds on touring bikes to crit racers in San Diego, from Tasmanian rouleurs to men riding recumbents through the tundra, we’ve seen all sorts.
Our challenge partner, Strava, had more than 15,000 participants alone. That’s not counting all the other folks who took part. The biggest kilometre count we’ve seen via Strava was Geoff P. who, unsurprisingly, was riding down south in Melbourne Australia. Yes he was riding in his summer (a very hot one we should add) but 1,803 kms is certainly no walk in the bush.
Without further ado, here are our winners, topping the podium for proving their fortitude, hard work and ability to take photos whilst riding… We also include some very honourable mentions. There was so much that we could have awarded prizes to but in the end it came down to a democratic show of hands (and arguing) at Rapha HQ. We’ve had to rejig the categories for prizes somewhat because, as stated, there were so many brilliant stories, we just went on the most eye-catching and impressive examples of riding and creativity.
Oliver Baron is, without doubt, proving that you can have a lot of fun whilst taking part in the Festive 500. Granted you need a good supply of comedy sunglasses, withered tinkers with dead cats on their head, cocktails and wild bears. Different, but very entertaining.
We think this is known as ‘planking’ in some circles. More comedy and some great photos from northern Europe.
Recumbents don’t really get much love from the wider road riding community but this guy, despite lying down on the job, has certainly entered into the spirit of the thing and gone the distance.
Keith Nicolas really impressed us all with his hand drawn diary. You can see the whole thing here on his blog.
Sallyanne English sent us a very nice journal in the post all the way from Australia. It collected every day’s ride with photos and entries including images of her delicious looking meals, the odd haiku and details of the domestiques she employed to help her along the way.
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There were some great films created documenting the Festive 500 and this has been voted the best of the hard-riding bunch.
We’ve mentioned him once, but we shall certainly cry his name again: ‘Minipipps!’ has put a lot of us to shame, particularly those who did not complete the Festive 500. Master Pipps is seven years old and clearly loved every minute of his journey. Chapeau.
Which brings us to Chris C. of Camarillo, CA. Chris, along with a few others, clocked a total of 499km according to Strava… Exasperation!
We can’t accurately describe how cold Finland is in December, but this blog certainly suggests the answer might be: VERY. So for showing true deep winter heroics, the rider and author of pettsson-training.fi wins a pair of Deep Winter Tights.
Adrian Passmore and his brother, Martin, went out on Christmas day to continue their Festive 500. Neither of them completed the Festive 500 because on this ride, Martin suddenly stopped at the side of the road and was subsequently rushed to hospital suffering from a brain haemorrhage. Adrian wrote to us:
After days in intensive care Martin was moved onto a normal ward, he is home now and was given an all clear yesterday. He is the Lazarus rider. He has no visible side-effects other than a heightened sense of his own mortality, and the doctors have told him that it was a one-off fluke occurrence and that he has healed quickly because he rides a bike.
Adrian and his brother win an Umbrella and a Workshop Apron. A small token for a story of epic proportions.
3rd and best photography
Johan Björklund of Wenersborgs Racer Club in Sweden has produced a tumblr with some great shots from the saddle. And that wins him a Classic Jersey and his choice of Classic Bib Shorts or Classic Winter Tights.
Beth Anderson impressed us with the solo riding she did up in the northeast of England where it is always cold, the riding is tough but with some beautiful scenery it made for an excellent blog. Her daily write-ups and iPhone images, plus Strava data made for a very impressive Festive 500 journal. Beth wins a Classic Softshell, Classic Jersey, and her choice of Rapha Shorts or Tights.
The Grand Prize
In the end we went for the hand-drawn maps of WC Studio, an architectural agency in Chicago. Why? Because we love them. It may seem somewhat superficial but it was a simple and well crafted representation of the rides they did in the heart of Illinois, done in an Alfred Wainwright-style, which also inspired the maps in the Rapha publication Great Road Climbs of the Pyrenees. If you know Chicago, you will also realise it isn’t the easiest place to clock the kilometres at this time of the riding season. We’re pretty confident WC Studio will be pleased to receive the Grand Prize of a Rapha Espresso Machine, set of Rapha Espresso Cups, Chris King Tamper, and a Classic Softshell for good measure!
We hope everyone is now suitably recovered and ready for plenty more mileage in 2013.
And if you have yet to register for a Festive 500 roundel, you have until Monday 28th January. You should expect to see it arrive on your doormat by the end of February.