We can all debate cycling consumerism & elitism, but there is no arguing that getting out to ride more is a good thing. Since 2009 Rapha has been encouraging cyclists to fight the excesses & consumption of the holidays. And instead use our bikes to get out, clear our heads, and hopefully shed a few winter pounds in the meantime.

Annual Rapha Festive 500 challenge

Over the previous six winters, I have personally used the #Festive500 as motivation to ride a bit more at the end of the year, and to top off my annual odometer. Only half of those attempts have seen me finish the entire 500km. Some holiday flu got me one year. And I do actually prioritize spending time with my wife & kids, so it doesn’t always make sense to put in the time on the bike.

ride 500km on the 8 days between Christmas Eve & New Year’s Eve

But in any case, a little Strava peer pressure is good for me. And it doesn’t hurt that Rapha puts up some decent prizes that will go to those who best document their 500. It’s about creative expression, not how fast or even how far you ride.

Last year’s winner sent in seven hand painted postcards documenting her rides. This year’s winner’s will have a Rapha Travel trip (not confined to winter thankfully) and a Leica D-Lux camera up for grabs as first prize.

Second place is a not too shabby consolation prize of a 3T Exploro Team gravel/all road bike. Rapha even has a Wahoo Kickr Snap trainer for whoever tells the most woeful story of their failure to log 500km. Plus, everyone who finishes & documents their Festive 500 gets a commemorative patch to stitch on a winter riding jacket.

#Festive500 gear

Rapha didn’t forget the consumerism here either though. Sure it is free to join in the challenge and ride. #OutsideIsFree! But if you want to buy some shiny gear, they have a range of Festive 500 products to celebrate the challenge. Everything gets the same color gradient graphics. There’s a $20/17.50€ cotton cap or cotton musette, $20/17.50€ pair of synthetic socks or not-Buff buff, and a $50/40€ cotton tee. See consumerism is safe.



  1. Tom on

    These Rapha guys are smart. Incentivize a bunch of people to tell their own epic story, take the pick of the litter and fold it into the Rapha marketing narrative. All for about $20K – brilliant.

      • Tom on

        maybe I should have said less than $20K. I assume they have to buy all the prizes, and there is overhead/admin associated with collating all this stuff, and editing it into a professional multimedia presentation. In any case, they get their money’s worth.


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