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.
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.
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.
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.