For most of us who live here, China's freezing winter months mean hibernating indoors with the heating cranked up full, an extra pair of socks, a blanket and a drawer full of knock-off DVDs. Not so Zhejiang countryside and partake in the worldwide Rapha Festive 500, a challenge to cyclists around the globe to cover 500 kilometers in one week.
Taking place over Christmas (23-30 December), the philosophy is a good one--balance out all the usual over-indulgent eating and drinking by riding everyday and move into the New Year fit and refueled, documenting your experience along the way. Setting out from Hangzhou on a perfectly sunny and crisp winter's day, Daniel was on a mission not only to complete the Rapha 500, but to surpass it. His goal? To get as close to 1000 kilometers as possible, showing off his local region and promoting China as a cycling destination as he went.
The bamboo-clad hills of Moganshan, picturesque Hangzhou and the surrounding Zhejiang villages were the setting for his adventure that sees him battle some steep climbs, sub-zero temperatures, freezing winds and rain and even his first crash on Chinese soil, all of which make for a most entertaining tale, with stunning photography to match.
Does he complete the Rapha Festive 500 challenge? Of course. Does he have fun along the way? Absolutely. Is it in an inspiration to read? Hell yes.
To find out if he reached his target of 1000 kilometers you'll have to go and take a look for yourself, but in the meantime, click through just a little taste of what he saw along the way after the jump:
For Daniel's full Rapha Festive 500 experience, head to his blog Bikedan in Asia where you'll also find practical advice on cycling in China, tips on cycling gear and techniques plus great destination ideas and much, much more!