Guest Article: Rule #9 Festivus

Antwerp at night  photo: S.N. Severinghaus
Antwerp at night photo: S.N. Severinghaus

One of the finest things about Velominati is it attracts the crazy bastards. Cyclists are slightly unhinged anyway but there are more than a few out there who have no fear. Crazy is not constrained by nationality. Crazy knows no borders. Sure the Randonneurs would do this just to make sure they were happy with their choice of headlamp strap but @bas is not one of those. 

Rapha and Strava sponsor something called the Festive 500. Ride your 500 km between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve for bragging rights and a stinkin’ badge. If you live up North, this is a noteworthy thing to do. Most don’t try to do it all at once, that would be crazy.

VLVV, Gianni

On December 24th, me and three riding friends embarked on a trip from Paris to our hometown of Haarlem in the Netherlands. The idea was to see if we could ride all of the Festive 500 in one ride and ‘get it over with’. We picked a starting location that was approximately 500 kilometers from home and pretty much rode with it from there.

A friend and documentary maker decided that he wanted to see if he could capture us killing ourselves in front of his camera and shot the whole thing.




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74 Replies to “Guest Article: Rule #9 Festivus”

  1. Absolutely fuck’in BRILLIANT!  The ride to kill all rides!  The area, the weather, the DISTANCE! 

    Man, now this is something that I could wrap my head around. 

    Cheapeau is not a strong enough word for it.  Just amazing!

  2. Inspiring and humbling! What a ride! Even if the weather had been perfect, it would have been awesome, to do it in such shitty conditions is remarkable. The early shots leaving Paris were just beautiful. What an experience that alone must have been. I recommend instant black badge status for the two boys that finished. Kudos to the support team and videographer too. A very, very nice little film.

  3. Chapeau! What       a            ride!

    wonder what their FRB be like?

  4. @TBONE

    Damn, all of the sudden my 240km ride seems insignificant.

    Next time do it twice with a little extra.

    240km is significant. I’m happy if I can do half that!

  5. ‘kin-A, great effort, hardcore cloggies. Makes our piddly wee 100km on the 21st look like a warm up.

  6. I love that one guy has an insane idea and three other guys want to do it with him. And that would be true anywhere in the world. Maybe it speaks to the male reptilian brain: if riding into the unknown might be exciting and testing, then doing it to the extreme would have to be even better, no?

    And having a professional cinematographer there, brilliant. Our self-filmed heroics usually suck because when things get ugly we either need both hands for the bike or we are so fucking shagged out that filming is not going to happen.

  7. Amazing ride – chapeau guys! I was shivering watching you guys in that door-way.

  8. Bloody show offs!

    Seriously, awesome ride guys, hope you have recovered by now.

  9. OUTstanding!

    And another data point that chocolate croissants and an appropriate fuel for epic Rule #9 undertakings!

  10. New rule proposal… (I’ll leave it to the smart guys to give it a title)… Any ride of 500k and above automatically gains exemption from “the rules”, apart from #80 (This can NEVER be broken)My 100k Sunday ride has now become pathetic – must apply more #5… Ho hum…

  11. These dudes are crazy…but hat’s off to them.  Made even more impressive by the one guy riding with a sleeping bag under his saddle!!

  12. Awesome ride… hard men for sure.  Coming from SoCal, Christmas is not as much of a hard man move.

  13. @Rom

    I’m thinking his magnitude 10 EPMS had magical powers.

    Yes, definitely.  In this rider’s opinion, the ONLY time that an EPMS may be employed is on self-supported rides of 300km or greater.  Even so, EPMS usage is to be greeted with suspicion if the ride is undertaken in fair weather, and/or in a location that allows for easy resupply.  A credit is issued if the rider is using tubular tires and is obliged to carry a second spare.

  14. Great ride, and great inspiration for riding beyond the home town loops! Thank you for sharing us those moments!

    BTW: Good choice of music!

  15. This one day, I rode 330km. In perfect weather. On the flats. In a paceline. I thought it was a long day.


  16. Fucking stellar effort. I’m pretty fried after 300 km on a sunny day with aid stations. A ‘Cogal 500’, anyone?

  17. There’s a Dutch saying, “Doe maar normaal, dan doe je al gek genoeg” (roughly translated: Just be normal, then  you’re crazy enough.)  @bas and his buddies are supernormaal making them them supercrazy Dutchmen. Way to go guys–that was an awesome achievement!

  18. Can you give a double Chapeau? Chapeaux? Isn’t this longer than the longest TdF stage?!

  19. Mind blowing. That distance in that weather. Fucking bad ass. I always though my 330Km ride (in perfect June daylight weather) was way too much. You’ve set the bar really really high. Chapeau gentlemen, chapeau indeed.

  20. Outstanding, Extreme craziness expertly executed and beautifully recorded. Very, very strong work.

  21. Well, someone is eventually going to be the prick that rains on this parade, so it may as well be me. I don’t understand why riding a certain distance exempts one from the Rules. To my mind it does no such thing. Even self-supported, these chaps stopped along the way to feed themselves, negating any need for a bag. And there was an automobile with them. While I understand that the vehicle was used for filming, not support, it seems to me that the driver would not have been averse to stashing dry clothing and emergency supplies in the trunk/boot. Weather notwithstanding, why a YJA? And what’s with the camelbak? (or was that a backpack?)

    Yes, it was an incredibly long ride. Yes, that is impressive, especially given the conditions. And yes, these men should be congratulated on their fortitude. I will not, however, excuse them their breaches of the Rules.

    On a tangentially related note: for those that want to challenge themselves similarly, in a competitive environment in the U.S., sign up for your nearest Race Across America qualifying event. There are several around the country, all with a 650km event that qualifies finishers to compete in RAAM.

  22. @V-olcano

    No, you just had the stones to say what the rest of us were thinking.  While acknowledging the laudable effort of these riders, as an aspiring Rules Holist I couldn’t overlook the egregious violations.  This is, after all,, not  Yet I remained silent rather than defend the order.  As penance I shall undertake a ride of similar distance and suffering, but in full rules compliance of course.

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