19th March 2021 / Comments (2)

Fasted 500: a world first Ramadan cycling challenge

Fasted 500 roundel

With Ramadan 2021 just around the corner, the holy month in the Muslim calendar, we chatted to Fasted 500 founder Zahir Nayani about his exciting new initiative and what it could mean for the wider cycling community.

In your words, what is the Fasted 500?

It’s a fun cycling challenge which encourages Muslims to remain active during the month of Ramadan by sensibly cycling 500 kms over a period of about 30 days. Those who complete the challenge can purchase a roundel (the universal language of cyclists!) designed by @arafcc with all profits going towards @cyclingsistersbristol: a thriving initiative which encourages women from marginalised communities to ride. Oh, and there are also some cool competitions and prizes donated by a bunch of awesome sponsors. Most Creative Ramadan Limerick, anyone?

How did the idea for the Fasted 500 come about?

Zahir Nayani Fasted 500

Zahir believes that normalising cycling as an everyday activity can help boost participation

Open-source data confirms that most of us aren’t getting enough exercise, and that goes for us Muslims too. We don’t tend to drink or smoke, but boy can we eat.

Augment that with many of us being from BAME backgrounds and our associated predisposition to certain health conditions (e.g. diabetes) and we can begin to see why a targeted challenge of this sort is long overdue.

I’m chuffed and humbled to see this random idea garner so much traction and support.

For those of us that aren’t familiar with Ramadan, can you tell us a little more about this festival and why this makes the Fasted 500 even more of a challenge?

Absolutely. The month of Ramadan, in essence, involves Muslim adults in good health abstaining from food and drink between the hours of sunrise and sunset for a period of about 30 days. We’re also encouraged to continue being good eggs and to treat others with more deference. Fasting as a spiritual practice is a theme shared amongst most major faiths (including the origins of Lent) and, in varied forms, is now becoming in vogue with a wider audience with diets such as the 5:2. That should give the challenge some teeth!

How can we follow the progress of the Fasted 500 through Ramadan?

Our Instagram page! It’s a nice hub to share readers’ rides, showcase our sponsors and also occasional lifestyle content, particularly with Ramadan being just around the corner.

Our website is also worth a visit, and our online shop will go live towards the end of Ramadan for participants to bag their roundels.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Fasted 500 (@fasted500)

What are you hoping that the Fasted 500 will achieve?

I’m hoping it’ll be a catalyst for positive change. To spur folks on their cycling journeys and to encourage personal pep talks such as: “Oh my giddy aunt, I’ve managed to ride 500 kms in Ramadan! What else am I capable of?”

What can we do to support the Fasted 500 initiative, and help more riders of different backgrounds and beliefs enjoy cycling year round?

Those interested in supporting the initiative can, as well as engaging with our content and getting others involved, purchase a rad Fasted 500 “Peloton Print” designed by one of our sponsors @thepedaldancers with all profits being donated to @cyclingsistersbristol. The colours mimic the universally familiar hues of sunrise and sunset.


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A post shared by Fasted 500 (@fasted500)

In terms of helping open up cycling to a wider audience, my personal view is that we need to normalise cycling as something we don’t necessarily need to wear a spandex costume for, and that new doesn’t always mean better.

Last modified: 19th March 2021

2 Responses to :
Fasted 500: a world first Ramadan cycling challenge

  1. Alex Ball says:

    Would it be disrespectful to attempt 500km of riding, fasted?
    I could not ride without water though.

    1. Katherine Moore says:

      Heya Alex. Probably best you check out the FAQ page on Fasted500 here (https://fasted500.bigcartel.com/frequently-asked-questions) if you have any concerns. As Zahir puts it, spread out over the whole of Ramadan the challenge is actually pretty achievable, and worship and exercise aren’t mutually exclusive! Cheers.

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