Postponed from March, the Spring Challenge becomes the Autumn Epic Gravel Ride. Starting and finishing in Ludlow, Shropshire, the Autumn Epic takes in a mix of forest tracks, bridleway and back roads

The route is sightly over 50% off-road in distance, but more like two thirds in time. With all of the rain we’ve had over the winter the surfaces are quite mucky in places, but the ride is not too technical in nature. You may need to put a foot down occasionally on one or two slippery sections, and you should expect to get quite dirty, but you will not need advanced off-road riding skills.

In association with Bombtrack bikes – we will have a number of demo bikes available on the day from Bombtrack for a proper test ride over the entire route. Please contact us in advance if you are interested in booking one for the day.

Social Distancing

As none of the Cross Cartel rides are mass start or group rides they lend themselves well to social distancing – there is no ‘mass gathering’ element at all!  Feel free to start your ride when it suits you. Riders will of course spread out very widely as they get into the ride, but during the Covid-19 pandemic please be careful to observe government rules and guidance on social distancing.

In particular, please do not form groups with people you have not traveled with, and maintain a 2m distance at all times from anyone you are not in a ‘bubble’ with.  This will mainly be of concern at the start – so please just make sure to leave big gaps between yourself and other riders as you set out.

If you wish to appear in the list of riders that complete the route on the day you will simply need to record your ride on a GPS or smart phone, and upload it to Strava by 9am the following day – the route starts and finishes on Dinham Bridge in Ludlow, so just remember to press start/stop as you ride across it.  There is NO official start time!

Sunday 11th October 2020 – NEW DATE

  • Distance: 64Km
  • Off Road/Paved Split: 52%/48%
  • Total Climbing:  1000m
  • Max Gradient (up): 18% (off road)
  • Max Gradient (down): 22% (on road)
  • Suitable for:  Gravel Bike or Cross Country MTB (e.g. Hardtail)
  • Start/Finish Location: Dinham Bridge, Ludlow, Shropshire, SY8 1EJ
  • Registration:  Open Now (see below)
  • Route File (GPX):   CLICK TO DOWNLOAD

How to Register – Official Ride Cancelled

Registering is a pretty simple process:

  1. Set up a free Strava account (if you don’t have one already)
  2. Join the Cross Cartel group (called a club in Strava)
  3. Scroll down to the Autumn Epic event, and click on “I’m In” (you won’t be able to see the event in Strava until you join the Cross Cartel group)

In common with all our rides, this is not an organised mass start event, so there is no HQ or indoor start venue, no support staff or marshals out on course and no participation registration on the day – that’s done via Strava.

Parking is available around the town, but Ludlow is an ancient walled town with narrow streets, so you may need to park on the outskirts and ride to the route start at Dinham Bridge (adjacent to the Millennium Green Cafe). It’s a small place though, so you won’t be far away. See below for more information on what to bring and what to expect.

This is not an organised mass start event – it is a challenge ride on a route that is open to the public along its entire length, that you can begin at any time you like. We will be setting out between 9am and 10am ourselves, but feel free to ride it when it suits you. Riders will soon spread out as we will be heading into off road segments very early on, and we would encourage you to set out as soon as you are ready in bunches smaller than ten in order to avoid congestion on an early single file section.

If you wish to appear in the list of riders that complete the route on the day you will need to record your ride on a GPS or smart phone, and upload it by 9am on 12th October – the route starts on Dinham Bridge, so just remember to press start as you cross it.

This Spring Challenge is virtually gate free as there are no sections that cross field boundaries – there’s just one swing gate on a paved section, as it’s a gated private road that is also a bridleway. The route passes through one village where you could easily pick up supplies if needed – but it’s really intended as a non-stop ride, as the weather is unlikely to be hot enough at this time of year to leave you gasping for water.

The final route will be published on Komoot, ready for downloading, approximately 7-10 days before the ride. We leave it this late so that we can double check there are no last minute access issues.

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!


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, so please make sure you take a mobile phone for any emergencies. You will need to 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/personal liability insurance is highly recommended.

The Cross Cartel has no responsibility for any incidents that occur during or as a result of your ride – you are solely responsible for your own actions and safety while riding our routes, whatever day you choose to ride them. The Cross Cartel is not an “event organiser” – we are route mappers – we do not provide ride support or event venues. Our routes are on public trails, tracks and paved roads. You are free, as we are, to ride them anytime you like, but we only publish the rides completed on a given day

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.