GRAVEL RIDING IN THE WELSH MARCHES
Cross Cartel rides are not traditional “events” or mass start rides – they are open to everyone, free of charge and aren’t on private courses or in private venues. They simply offer a carefully mapped route and a named date on which to ride and record your route completion – starting at any time of the day. All rides are on tracks, trails and lanes that are open to general public, and which we have test ridden many times.
All of our rides take place over a single day, and start on or close to the England/Wales border. The idea is to provide a self-sufficient riding challenge, but not one that is super-human or that needs unusual specialist equipment. The rides follow fixed routes on gravel, dirt and back lanes, and are fully self-supported with no event team or infrastructure, and no course direction arrows or check points – simply download and follow the route on your GPS or smartphone app, then upload your ride file after you finish.
Planned by staff from Epic Cycles, who have been exploring this area by bike for over a century between them.
Government guidance has changed significantly over the last 24 hours, with a particular emphasis on non-essential travel. As many riders were planning to travel some distance to take part in the Spring Challenge, we have decided to cancel the ride on 29th March as it would not be responsible for us to actively encourage non-essential journeys. There is currently no government advice to avoid riding outdoors as an individual – in fact it is, in common with most European countries, actively encouraging outdoor exercise such as cycling – so we have published the route on Komoot for local riders. If we are able to reschedule the ride for later in the year this is the route we will use.
Sunday March 29th 2020 – cancelled (Komoot route for individual use is here)
Previously a road ride, the Spring Challenge has switched to gravel. Starting and finishing in Ludlow, Shropshire the Spring Challenge takes in a mix of forest tracks, bridleway and back roads. It’s our shortest ride, and ideal for shaking off the last of the winter cobwebs.
Sunday 17th May 2020
From one of the team behind the original Rough Ride cross-country MTB event comes a new event – the Rough Ride Reborn. This time, it’s back as a gravel ride on a new route equally suited to both gravel bikes and cross country MTBs. Starts and finishes in Kington, Herefordshire, and is as gravelly as it gets – it’s an absolute belter of a ride!
Sunday 19th July 2020
Don’t be fooled by the proportions of off to on-road with this one. The time will be well over 50%, and some of the paved roads are barely surfaced. Includes some of the finest and most varied ridge riding you’ll find anywhere, with both Wenlock Edge and Long Mynd among the highlights. Be prepared for a couple of short hike-a-bike climbs too, unless the going is especially dry – which it might be in July…
More Info Coming Soon …
Sunday 27th September 2020 (Provisional Date)
Exploring the varied terrain of the ancient estates of the Earl of Mortimer, starting and finishing in the Mortimer Forest on the very edge of Ludlow, the route links together some lovely stretches of off-road riding using quiet byways and true back lanes. A great way to round off a summer of riding, the Mortimer Loop is a challenging ride, as it is lumpy, but is not too technical and is pretty weather proof in case Autumn comes early.
More Info Coming Soon …
You will need to be fully self sufficient – these are self-supported rides on routes that are open to the general public, with no emergency back up or mechanical support of any kind. You need to take spares and supplies with you. There will be no rescue vehicle to collect you if you have a mechanical. Make sure you take a mobile phone for any emergencies. Call a friend to collect you or the emergency services in the event of a medical incident. And it is sensible to be insured – you don’t need race insurance, as our rides aren’t races, but general cycle/travel insurance is highly recommended.
The Cross Cartel, Epic Cycles Ltd and any other supporters or associates bear no responsibility for any incidents that occur during your ride – you are solely responsible for your own actions and safety while riding our routes, whatever day you choose to ride them.
Please follow the Highway Code at all times when on the roads, and the Countryside Code when off road – and PLEASE close all gates and take litter home with you.
About Cross Cartel Rides
Cross Cartel rides neither races nor traditional organised leisure rides. They are are similar to what were traditionally called “reliability trials”, where the objective or challenge is to complete a pre-determined route on a particular date within a time limit – but in our case the limit is all day and we have no set start time. The challenge is simply to ride a mapped route on a given day, at a time of your choosing. We will publish completion names and times for your interest, but there is no podium and no prizes. Go as fast or as slow as you feel comfortable with!