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Posted on 11 January 2016
in Stories

Rapha Festive 500 on a Brompton

Since 2010, the Rapha Festive 500 has challenged cyclists to ride a total of 500km on the eight days between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. This year, I decided to complete the challenge on my Brompton. This is my journey……

So I am fortunate enough to have a very smart white Brompton S6L-X.  For those of you who don’t understand the S6L-X bit, the S represents the type of handlebars (there are other types available, known as M, P and H types), the 6 represents the number of gears (1, 2, 3 and 6 speed are all options), the L represents that I have mudguards (E is without mudguards and R is with mudguards and rack).  Finally, the X means that I have the extralight version with a  titanium rear triangle and forks.  If you want to have some fun building up your own dream Brompton, their  Build A Brompton tool on the website is very cool.  I added some Schwalbe Marathon tyres for maximum puncture protection, a bottle cage and my Garmin 810 to record my rides, and was all set to take on the Festive 500.

I am staggered by how well this bike performed.  You have to remember that this bike is designed for city riding, its small, 16 inch wheels allowing it to be ingeniously folded into something that you can take into cafes, the office, on the train or on a plane.   My experiences over the last few days have proved that it is a very capable contender for long distance cycling.

I completed the Rapha Festive 500 in five rides, finishing on 29 December (still with two days to spare).  If you are interested in the details of my rides, you can follow me on Strava by clicking here.  

Ride #1 – 24 December

A short one to ease myself into the challenge.  Just did 51km (32 miles), after all, it was Christmas Eve.

Ride #2 – 26 December

Decided that a nice round 100km (62 miles) would be a good idea on Boxing Day.  Found some new roads that I hadn’t been on before and generally had a nice explore on my Brompton.

Ride #3 – 27 December

Rode 81km (50 miles) with a buddy.  He was out on his road bike and was amazed that my Brompton had no problem keeping up.  Infact, towards the end of the ride, I dropped my buddy off and then continued for a few extra clicks, just because the Brompton is so much fun to ride.

Ride #4 – 28 December

The big one.  Rode 162km (100 miles) today.  It’s no secret that I like to ride long distances whenever I get the chance.  I rode all the stages of the Tour de France over a 3 week period last summer (admittedly on my road bike) and have written about how to complete a century ride and what to eat during that ride in previous blog posts.  Today was the day that I was going to test out whether my Brompton was up to the task.  And it most certainly was – 100 miles in 5 hours and 40 minutes is a very respectable achievement.  I averaged at 28.5kph (17.7mph).  It was during this ride that I think that my love of the Brompton evolved.  Not only could it do big distances at decent speeds, it was also comfortable for long days in the saddle.  What is not to like?  I also really like the way you can fold the rear wheel to create a stand, very useful for any comfort breaks on long rides!

Ride #5 – 29 December

This was the last ride of my Rapha Festive 500 and all I needed to do was 106km (66 miles) and the challenge was complete.

I planned a lovely route through the Cotswolds and as expected, the little Brompton kept on giving.  I stopped in Bibury, which is a fairly popular tourist spot in the Cotwolds and the bike certainly attracted some attention.  People always want to come and talk to you about the wonderful bike and I had to demonstrate the fold to a number of people.

So there we have it.   My average speed for the 500km was 27.44kph (17mph).  The Rapha Festive 500 completed in style on my Brompton S6L-X.
If you would like to get in touch, please follow me on Twitter (@fitandfortyman).  If I am mentioned in your Tweet, I will always get back to you.  Thank you for taking time out to read my post.