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21-12-2022 | Marcel van Herten

CycloWorld’s Xmas Top 6

And so this is Christmas
And what have you done?
Another year over
And a new one just begun

John Lennon's legendary Christmas lyrics are also singing around in cyclists' heads at this time. Looking back on 2022 and making plans for the 2023 season. And when those plans are made, you want to get through the days around Christmas. Preferably on your bike as well. It's starting to become a CycloWorld New Year's tradition: tips on how to get through Christmas as a rider. So here we go again with CycloWorld's Xmas Top 6. Whatever you call it, just read, choose and ride!

#1 Rapha Festive 500

Number #1 on the list and a household name around Christmas for over a decade. Conceived in 2009 and started in 2010, a British clothing brand Rapha organizes the #FESTIVE500 every year from December 24 to 31. The idea is simple: ride five hundred kilometers between Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve. And it may and can be done indoors and outdoors, so don't let the weather be a game breaker.

The first edition had 94 participants and over 500,000 cyclists completed the distance over the past decade. For this year, the counter at Strava Challenge already indicates over 200,000 entries. Including accompanying clothing line, Strava events and prizes. Want to add a twist to the FESTIVE500? The 'RuhrRiders' (one of Germany's largest Zwift communities) organizes a similar event on Zwift at more reasonable times for European time zones. Check out their Facebook page for more info!

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#2 The (A)Social Ride

There are the many traditions of cycling friends, clubs, grupettos and loners around Christmas and New Year's Day. Illustrious names pass by on Strava, such as the Tour of Third Christmas Day, Firework Preparation Ride, Chrismas Pie Ride, Champagne Ride and so on. Just make up a name, it all comes down to the same thing: end the cycling year with a Social Ride and that includes one or more stops for: cake, pastries, coffees, beers and hot chocolate.

Are you trying to avoid all the social obligations, but can't quite escape them? The solution: the (A)Social Ride! Take a bike to your social Christmas obligations. Especially if you live some distance from each other the ideal excuse to miss a lot of the social obligations.... Or just make an extra loop.

#3 Zwift Fondo Series

If the weather is disappointing, you may have to take refuge indoors. For several years now, one of the most popular winter events on Zwift: Zwift Fondo Series. Now launched on the first weekend of December. With a choice of the Gran (approximately ninety kilometers), Medio (seventy kilometers) and Bambino (fifty kilometers) routes. New this year: the preparatory Group Rides and Work Outs during Fondo Friday. Virtual workouts in preparation for the Fondo event. All info has been neatly collected by ZwiftInsider. Great virtual preparation for your 2023 gran fondo season!

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#4 Zwift Pro Camp

December and January are traditionally the months for most pros to work on their Winter Miles, laying the foundation for Spring and/or Summer Smiles. Youdon't have the opportunity to head to the Spanish sun for a few weeks? Then get a taste of the workouts that the pros from Jumbo-Visma, Movistar, BikeExchange or Ineos perform during this period at the Zwift Pro Camp. Until January 15, daily several fun, spirited and definitely effective workouts that will be a great distraction from the endurance workouts during the winter and provide an incentive to keep all systems active.

#5 Virtual Everesting

Since March 19, 2022, the world record vEveresting stands in the name of Michiel Minnaert. Would you like to take a shot? Or half an attempt? Then the winter season might be a great time for that. For tips it is best to let Michiel himself do the talking. Michiel: 'Try to see beforehand how fast you can go at half speed, without lapse. Then you can calculate where you will end up. Keep going, you will always ride up that mountain, only at the end you do it a little slower and it feels much heavier. But the end will come at some point. So mentally try never to think about giving up. Make sure you have everything figured out and set up well in advance. I had access to a Wahoo Kickr and also the 4iii power meter on my bike. You create a duplicate file that you need to send to' If you want to know all about (virtual) Everesting then dive into the rules quietly via the website. Additionally, Zwift has everything neatly laid out on a row, should you wish to conquer the virtual Everest.

#6 Badge Hunt

Highly  popular on Zwift: Badge Hunt. Simply put, riding all the routes and ticking off the challenges. Surely, with the Makuri expansions, there are some more routes to check off. If you're ready, try ZwiftInsider's Rebel Routes, too. Navigate it yourself, though. Not a Zwift fan and prefer real life videos indoors? Try some epic routes via FulGaz or Wahoo x RGT. Try both for free for the first fourteen days! Cycle the Sella Ronda, the virtual Cinglé du Mont Ventoux or that other epic col or route with beautiful and usually even 4K footage. FulGaz has another fun challenge around Christmas with their 12 Bays of Xmas. Fun twist with twelve routes along, according to FulGaz, the most beautiful bays in the world. At least the choice in the virtual world is vast!

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