20-12-2021 | Frank Jansen

The Festive 500 is about to begin

It's starting to become a tradition: the Festive 500. More and more cyclists are participating. If you have no idea what it's about, read on.

What is the Festive 500?

The Festive 500 is so called challenge. The aim is to ride 500 km between Christmas Eve and New Year. The phenomenon was conceived in 2009 by Graeme Raeburn, a designer for a well-known British bicycle clothing brand. The original challenge, by the way, was 1000 km, but Raeburn thought that 500 was actually good enough. In the beginning only a handful of cyclists participated, this year probably more than 100,000.

How does it work?

  • 500 km cycling between 24-12 and New Year's Eve. If you wish you may start as early as 00:01 on Friday 24-12.
  • The number of rides is up to you. 
  • On what kind of bike(s) you ride you may also decide.
  • Riding in groups is allowed.
  • You can participate in the Challenge on Strava, but that is of course not obligatory.

And what about indoor kilometers?

Originally the rules were clear on that: you have to cycle outdoors, because it's all about the fight against the elements. But when 2 years ago French, Italians and Spaniards, among others, were not allowed to leave their homes because of lockdowns, the organizer decided to allow indoor kilometers as well. And that is unchanged until now.

This sometimes leads to fierce discussions. As far as we are concerned, indoor kilometers should only count if you are not allowed to leave your house, for example because you are in quarantine. But that is our opinion, and you may feel free to disagree.

How are the weather forecasts?

After all these years we now know that the Festive 500 is doable in good weather and can be very tough in bad weather. The long-term forecasts are still uncertain at this time, so it can still go either way. However, it looks as though I will get colder in most parts of Europe next week. We'll have to wait and see.

Poll: Are you up for the Festive 500 challenge?


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