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 country lanes that are open to general public, and which we have test ridden many times.

2024 Calendar

The dates for our 2024 rides are below, and will use the same routes as last year, unless we have any last minute changes to make due to forestry activity etc. All of our rides are still free, with the exception of the Blaenau 600, which has moved to a dedicated website of its own >>

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.

From the staff of Epic Cycles, who have been exploring this area by bike for well over a century between them.

21st April 2024

The Spring Challenge is one of our most ridden routes – not too severe, as many of us are still to regain summer fitness levels, but still challenging enough mark the start of the warmer riding season, over tracks and trails that should have dried out a bit after the winter. Starting and finishing in Ludlow, Shropshire, the Spring Challenge takes in a proper mix of forest tracks, bridleways and gritty back roads.

  • Distance: 63Km
  • Total Climbing:  1000m

19th May 2024

Starting and finishing in the Mortimer Forest on the edge of Ludlow, the route links together some stunning stretches of off-road riding using quiet byways and true back lanes.  A challenging ride with some some fairly steep off road sectors, it is not highly technical and it’s pretty weather proof.  The rewards for the climbing are some spectacular views and premium stretches of double track.

  • Distance: 76Km
  • Total Climbing: 1230m

23rd June 2024

This cracking new route takes in two of the ridgeways that make up the natural borders of the Welsh Marches. With stunning views, the route navigates the Kerry Ridgeway and an extended section of Glyndwr’s Way, that will be familiar to some from the Trans Cambrian Way. Starting and finishing in Knighton, there are testing climbs and some of the finest ridgeway riding you’ll find.

  • Distance: 71Km
  • Total Climbing: 1225m

21st July 2024

From one of the team behind the original Rough Ride cross-country MTB event comes the Rough Ride ‘Reborn’. This time around it’s on a new route equally suited to both gravel bikes and cross country MTBs. The route starts and finishes in Kington, Herefordshire, and is as gravelly as it gets – it’s an absolute belter of a ride that explores the wilder parts of Radnorshire on the Welsh border.

  • Distance: 67Km
  • Total Climbing: 1680m

25th August 2024

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. The route 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.

  • Distance: 101Km
  • Total Climbing: 1420m

22nd September 2024

A new route that starts and finishes in central Ludlow, and tackles the two highest peaks in Shropshire – Brown Clee and Titterstone Clee – the hills that domiate the horizon from Ludlow Castle.  The climbing starts as you leave Ludlow and takes in the drama of Tittersone before crossing over to the slightly higher Brown Clee, and one of the most enjoyable descents in the area. A perfect way to round off the 2023 season!

  • Distance: 52Km
  • Total Climbing: 850m


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. Go as fast or as slow as you feel comfortable with!