Rapha 500 – Prepare for the worst, hope for the best.

Rapha Festive 500 is a challenge/incentive by Rapha to ride 500 kilometres in 8 days. There’s prizes at the end of it for best photography or method of telling people about your journey. If you complete the challenge you receive a nice printed post card with facts about the whole project and also a Festive 500 woven badge.

The most challenging aspects are time and the unpredictability of the weather. I wouldn’t say I approached it with arrogance last year but I certainly had no real idea as to how difficult it would be.

This is why I thought I’d assemble some pre festive 500 suggestions – In honesty they’re all pretty obvious but I needed them spelling out last year!

The weather will be terrible so prepare for the worst.


Layers upon layers.

I’ve never really got my layers right at this time of year to be honest, a skill I have yet to quire. None the less I always wrap up too warm then not enough layers – it’s better to have layers to take off then not enough and get cold.

Plot your route meticulously.

Last year I choose to venture out towards York on my own, with little knowledge of the roads and only my Garmin 510 to rely on. If you’ve got an 810 you won’t have quite the difficulties I did as you can use the map function. I got lost on the out skirts of York and couldn’t find my course so had to abandon the rest of the original plan thus loosing miles.


Don’t forget your essential tools!

I got to day 5 of maybe 6/7 of last years Rapha 500 and thought about how lucky I was that I’d not had a flat tyre… Seconds later, I’m fixing a pretty deep puncture. I never chance not take tools, it’s just not worth the hassle of getting stuck some where.


Finally, set a plan, how many days you want to do it in, commit to those days you choose regardless of the weather. The most difficult aspect is fitting it in between family and friends, trying to explain to them why you want to do 500 KM at this time of year is pointless as those i’ve tried to explain too in the past have not come close to understanding why.

Don’t forget to document your journey, this year Rapha are giving away a Feather Bicycle for the most creative story/photography.