NEW FOR 2021: Our existing routes are suitable for either gravel bikes or MTBs, but picking up on rider feedback for 2021 we have added a ‘Back Lane Bash’ that is also be rideable on road bikes with sensible tyres (think 28-30mm minimum with decent puncture protection). It’ll be gritty and rough in places, and there may even be a brief hard packed dirt lane thrown in, so it won’t be fast – sticking to true back lanes, it should lend itself nicely to a chilled day out on the bike in true Cross Cartel style.

We’ve routed it around the very North of Worcestershire, taking in the original location of Epic Cycles at Kyre Park, then crossed into South Shropshire, edging up towards the Clees for a very different sort of landscape.  There’s a couple of gated roads, a cafe stop opportunity or two, and a nice fast ridge ride with stunning views running into final descent to the outskirts of Ludlow.

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 current government rules and guidance on social distancing.

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 outside the entrance to the castle in central Ludlow, so just remember to press start/stop as you ride past the canon. There is NO official start time!

The final route for the 2021 Back Lane Bash is above – either click on ‘Send to Device‘ above and select your GPS device type from the list (this is the recommended method for most devices), or click here to download a standard GPX file.

Sunday 23rd May 2021

  • Distance: 93Km
  • Off Road/Paved Split: 0% / 100% ‘paved’
  • Total Climbing: 1345m
  • Max Gradient (up): 11%
  • Max Gradient (down): 17%
  • Suitable for:  Any bike with decent tyre clearance (28-30mm + recommended)
  • Registration:  open now – see below

How to Register

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 Back Lane Bash 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)

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.