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Join in the ride challenge over the Christmas period

Rapha are again encouraging you to get out on your bike over the Christmas period by running their Festive 500 challenge.

The idea is that you ride 500km (311 miles) between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, and post evidence of your efforts. That’s eight riding days, so you’ll need to average 62.5km (about 39 miles) per day.

You can post photos, video, writing, drawings, or anything else you can think of as your evidence. Get creative. Write a poem if you like. And you need to stick it all on Facebook, Twitter, Strava, YouTube, Instagram, a blog, postcards…

If you complete the 500km you can request a commemorative woven badge from Rapha. There are also prizes for the best three stories submitted, the winner getting a Rapha espresso machine, a set of Rapha espresso cups, a Chris King coffee tamper and a Classic Softshell jacket.

Prizes are also offered for the ‘most epic fail’ and riding in the worst weather conditions.

Nearly 4,000 people worldwide took part last year, the winner being Henrik Öijer who rode his 500km in the snow and ice of Sweden and documented it in photography. Here’s his video…

A notable mention went to Johnny Crash who rode on a stationary bike on a Merchant Navy ship.

Go to Rapha’s website to get involved.

Another opportunity to win Rapha goodies is through their #oneoftheseplease competition which has been running for the past few weeks and continues until 21 December.

It’s pretty simple: you share with Rapha – and the rest of the world – what you’d really like to receive as a gift. You send your thoughts via Twitter and/or Instagram and use the hashtag #oneoftheseplease. Each week Rapha choose their favourites – unique, interesting and desirable gift requests – and award prizes. There’s an overall Grand Prize too, although what it is has yet to be announced.

Last week, for example, people won prizes for requesting a replacement for a dog-chewed Garmin Edge 500 (that’s gotta hurt), a Swiss Caran d’Ache steel pencil sharpener, and a Deering Eagle II 5-string banjo.

For more details go to www.rapha.cc/oneoftheseplease-week-four.

Mat has in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now pushing 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.