A Dirty Dozen of the Best Gravel Events in 2023!
If you've not worked it out, we're kind of huge fans of the gravel cycling scene over here at Stohk. The freedom to choose your own path. Those visceral feelings as you combine your skills (or lack of if you're me) with the search for adventure. A community of people we’d want to shoot the shit with at the end of an epic day outside. People who are in it for the heads-up-party-pace good vibes and embracing the rule that photo-stops are mandatory.
The popularity and accessibility of the Gravel cycling scene continues to thrive. And with that, there seems to be sooooo many great events coming onto the scene. 2023 looks set to be the most gravelicious yet!
With so many amazing events to get stoked about this year, we've picked a dirty dozen here that really have us super pumped. Some we've already been lucky enough to ride/beer at...others that are most definitely on our to-do-bucket-list-must-ride-sometime-soon list. All, no doubt, will really nail the good vibes only, no regrets, adventure on spirit of gravel cycling.
1. Battle on the Beach.
When? 25-26 March
Where? Pembrey Country Park, Nr Llanelli
First up, the UK's biggest off-road bike race. With a 3-lap 45km course consisting of a 5km of beach along Pembrey Sands, 5km of wooded doubletrack and 5km of singletrack this iconic event is part cyclocross, part gravel and part MTB. Throw in the 10km time trial night race and you know you're in for 100% good times.
All out gravel? Fat tyre? Monster cross? Single speed? You'll see it all at Battle on the Beach, so choose your weapon! We'll see you there!
2. The Dirty Reiver.
When? 21-23 April
Where? Kielder, Northumberland
Kielder Forest dishes up a 200km route of some of the finest vitamin G(ravel) in the UK. With options for a Dirty One Thirty (130km) and the Dirty Sixty Fiver (65km) all based on the Gravel Grinder format found predominantly in the mid west of America, it's no surprise this classic is considered a must do for so many.
We'll be rocking up with the Stohk bar and a fresh Reiver IPA again this year, so we hope y'all will be more interested in getting in the après-adventure beers than getting in the post-ride zzzzzzzzs!
3. North London Dirt.
When? 6th May
Where? Stoke Newington, London
The grrraveltastic North London Dirt is back for its 6th running in 2023. A self supported event, over a brand new multi-surface 70 mile / 110 km route running out of North East London.
North London Dirt is an event that welcomes everyone. Partnering this year with Ride For Unity and The Steezy Collective, inspiring event organisers Philip and Andrew Diprose are intent on spreading a community message and spirit through North London Dirt that welcomes riders representative of the diverse society that surrounds us. Go you good things!
4. The Gralloch.
When? 20 May
Where? Galloway, Scotland
Top level gravel racing lands in the UK.
The Gralloch is a race, a one-day gravel classic and the first UCI Gravel World Series event ever hosted in Britain.
Almost entirely off road, riders will tackle around 110km across the hills of the Galloway Forest Park on some of the best gravel in the UK.
5. The Mason Wild South Downs Way.
When? 20-21 May
Where? Winchester to Eastbourne
Supported by Wild Cycles, this is a two day self-guided off-road adventure along one of the UK's most spectacular and iconic must-ride routes.
Starting in Winchester traverse the spectacular South Downs National Park, and after an epic day of riding on sublime trails in spectacular coastal countryside - overnight at the Barn at Mason Cycles. Day 2 is equally spectacular - finishing and celebrating your ride at Cadence Café in Eastbourne.
When? 16-18 June
Where? Cambrian Mountains, Wales
Lauf Gritfest is open to all off-road bikes. Featuring a long-weekend of incredible riding within the Cambrian Mountains and includes timed special stages on gravel and over a mixture of terrain.
Gritfest packs in the weekend good vibes, so come for the adventures and campfire stories and we'll look after the refreshments!
7. The Ekoi Stone Circle.
When? 24 June
Where? Nr Salisbury, England
Race the summer solstice on this epic gravel adventure through druid Britain.
Starting at dawn from the historic hilltop fort of Old Sarum, the route will pass the iconic landmark of Stonehenge as you embark on this monumental adventure. The challenge … to race the solstice sun and finish before night falls.
The Ekoi Stone Circle brings the fast rolling feel of iconic US gravel races to the UK in this truly unique 215km event. A 135km route option is also available, where ebikes are also welcome to take part.
8. Wild Wales Gravel Festival.
When? 30 June - 2 July
Where? Radnorshire, Wales
Join Wild Cycles in the Welsh hills in 2023 for a weekend of epic gravel riding, camping, live music, fireside vibes, great food and company. This is definitely not a race, soak up the spectacular mountain views and take it at your own pace on a choice of routes.
Wild Cycles vision is to create an inclusive event atmosphere where everyone is welcome. Their mission is to make nature and the great outdoors accessible through cycling to everyone, regardless of background. We LOVE these guys!
9. Great British Divide.
When? August '23
Where? United Kingdom
Now entering its third year, the Great British Divide is an unsupported MTB bikepacking event from one end of the country to the other.
The Divide is not a race; it is an adventure and reliability test to be completed in a couple of weeks. Travelling from the bottom to nearly the top of Great Britain, at times taking a less obvious route whilst passing through much of the most beautiful, dramatic and testing terrain the country has to offer, including the majority of our National Parks.
The Full Route with a distance of 2000km and 35000m of climbing and the new for 2023 Short(er) Route at 1400km and 27000m are both around 70% off-road and both provide a challenge and experience you will never forget.
In August 2023 the third edition will roll out from the new start location of Dover, finishing in the iconic Nevis Range in Fort William, will you be one of the riders…..?
10. Raiders Gravel.
When? 31 August - 3 September
Where? Galloway, Scotland
Raiders Gravel is a truly Scottish gravel cycling adventure ride held over four days in the heart of the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere, in South-West Scotland.
Stunning trails will take riders on three challenging routes though the Galloway Forest Park, witnessing its stunning beauty and wildlife, with almost every kilometre off road. And while each of the three stages is different, all will touch Raiders Road, a 16km gravel trail running east to west which lends the event its name.
We'll be back this year and once again right alongside Canyon looking after all those post-ride storytelling moments with you.
11. Kings Cup / British Gravel Championships.
When? 23-25 September
Where? Kings Forest, Suffolk
Back for year 2, and set to be bigger, more accessible, and all round even more rad.
Join thousands of riders in the King’s Forest, Suffolk to take part in the ultimate gravel festival. From Gravel Fondo and Gravel Race for the British Gravel Championships to live music and camping, this weekend is the ultimate celebration of all-things gravel.
12. Dunoon Dirt Dash
When? 22-24 September
Where? Cowal Peninsula, Scotland
The Dunoon Dirt Dash offers two different events on the same weekend. The Dunoon Dirt Dash 5050 is a self-supported bikepacking event over two days, while the Dunoon Dirt Dash 100 is the ultimate one day gravel grinder.
Both take you around the amazing scenery on the Cowal Peninsula near Glasgow. Both events are the perfect way to experience the rugged beauty of Scotland’s Adventure Coast with fine gravel riding, camaraderie, camping and castles.
There really are soooo many more beyond these as well. Brother in the Wild, Dorset Dirt Dash, Further East, All Points North, Dukes Weekender, Rapha Pennine Rally and on and on and on...
We hope you find many many good reasons to soak up the vitamin G this year. Cheers! We'll see you out there...
P.S. if this all has made you thirsty too, grab your good selves a fresh pack of adventure-quenchers right here...
Best enjoyed after a while sitting near a