The Spring Challenge provides an ideal return to warmer weather, with tracks and trails that should have dried out a bit after what is usually a sticky mud winter in these parts. Starting and finishing in Ludlow, Shropshire, the Spring Challenge takes in a mix of forest tracks, bridleway and gritty back roads.

The route is around 50% off-road in distance, but more like two thirds in time. Coming fairly soon after the winter some bits of the route are likely to be 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 if there’s been recent r ain, and you should expect to get quite dirty, but you will not need advanced off-road riding skills.

Sunday 21st April 2024

  • Distance: 63Km
  • Off Road/Paved Split: 50%/50%
  • Total Climbing:  1000m
  • Max Gradient (up): 18% (off road)
  • Max Gradient (down): 18% (on road)
  • Suitable for: Gravel/Cross Bike (33mm+ tyres) or MTB
  • Start/Finish Location: Epic Cycles, Tower St, Ludlow, Shropshire, SY8 1RL
  • Registration: Open – See Below
  • GPX download is available here (right click and ‘save link as’)

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 Spring Challenge 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 and the biggest car park in central Ludlow is only 100m from the start at Epic Cycles in Tower Street. 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.

The 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 near one village (Leintwardine) 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, ready for downloading, a few 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. Go as fast or as slow as you feel comfortable with!


You will need to be fully self sufficient – Cross Cartel rides are all self-supported 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 public 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 do not provide ride support or event venues (with the exception of the Blaenau 600). Our routes are on public trails, tracks and paved roads. 

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.  We are huge supporters of #leavenotrace.