Biking Bonanza – Cycling Events 2023

by Sara Barton, 29th March 2023
Cyclists on the Border Loop | Tweedsmuir
Biking Bonanza – Cycling Events 2023

This is THE year for cycling across the south of Scotland. There’s the UCI World Cycling Championships taking place at Glentress and in Dumfries in August, a brand new world class gravel event at Gatehouse of Fleet in May plus the much anticipated launch of the Kirkpatrick C2C South of Scotland cycling route in early July. Whether you want to take part, go along for the atmosphere, or just experience a day out in the fresh air with some exciting rides taking place in front of you, the South of Scotland is the place to be. Cycling Starts Here!

Where: Peebles

The Tweedlove Bike Festival has moved to the spring and is set to take place from 29-30th April and as always promises something for everyone. Ride the best trails the Tweed Valley has to offer, demo a new bike, find your favourite brands, have a beer with your mates or soak up the festival vibes – it’s up to you! Expect twists, turns and stunning scenery at Tweedlove this spring.

Tweedlove Family Ride
Feel the Love! Tweedlove Bike Festival 29-30 April

Where: Traquair House

This sounds intriguing – what is the Muck N’ Mac Fest? It’s a weekend of Gravel Riding, live music, beer, yoga and family friendly activities. Staged for the second time at Traquair House – Scotland’s oldest inhabited house, which happens to based next to the finest gravel trails the Tweed Valley has to offer!

It’s still an odd name, what does it mean? The Muck stands for the mucky, gritty, gravelly roads while Mac accounts for the Tarmac sections of the routes. It’s about 65% Muck and 35% Mac, so you get a bit of everything on these courses.

Once the riding is done there is live music entertainment in the evening and if your friends or family want something other than cycling there is a variety of activities on offer including yoga classes.

Traquair House will play host to the Muck N’ Mac Fest 2022 from 5-7th May.

Where: Gatehouse of Fleet

The Gralloch is the first and only top level international gravel cycle race in the UK. And, as part of the TREK UCI Gravel World Series, The Gralloch is also a qualifying event for the World Gravel Championships. Riders will tackle a hilly 110km (68 mile) route through the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere, racing in age and gender groups with the fastest 25% in each group qualifying for the worlds. This brand new event will add to the growing cycling buzz around Gatehouse of Fleet and will attract a huge variety of cyclists, from keen amateurs all the way through to professionals, all experiencing the beauty and wilderness of the Scottish countryside.

The Gralloch is a brand new world class gravel event taking place in late May 2023.

Kirkpatrick C2C, South of Scotland’s Coast to Coast

The launch of the Kirkpatrick C2C road cycle route is set for early July with information on the specific route and town stops starting to be announced from early May. The route will start in the southwestern town Stranraer, and head all the way to Eyemouth on Scotland’s east coast. Are you ready to tackle the 250mile-long route?

Where: Kirkcudbright

This volunteer-run fundraising cycling event aims to raise money for charities and offers cyclists the chance to hone their racing skills. Starting and finishing in Kirkcudbright, three amazing routes (30 miles, 67 miles and 80 miles) cater for different levels of fitness and stamina. All routes take riders through a variety of quiet, beautiful scenery along the coast, beside lochs, through woodland and up and down some fantastic hills. And there are the necessary ammenities on hand on all routes – so why don’t you challenge yourself to take part and raise money for a good cause this summer?

Have fun and raise some money for charity at Galloway ReCycle Sportive this July.

UCI World Championships

During the UCI World cycling championships there will be 13 championships with the world’s greatest riders getting together across Scotland to compete at the highest level, make history, and show the world the power of the bike. First up in the south of Scotland is the Mountain Bike Cross Country Marathon at the legendary Glentress Forest. Next up at Glentress Forest is the Mountain Bike Cross Country Race where the startline is a crowded mass of riders pouring out on the rough terrain and steep slopes that will challenge them as they jostle for position, bide their time and then attack in a sprint finishes for medal glory. Then it is Dumfrie’ turn to play host to the Para cycling road races which pits the world’s fast and most fearless para-cyclists in this contest of speed and stamina with smart tactics crucial for a golden finish.

Paracyclists will battle it out this August on the roads around Dumfries.

Where: Gatehouse of Fleet

From the word gravel you can probably guess what this one is all about. Indeed, the Raiders Gravel is a Scottish gravel adventure ride, held over four days in the heart of the Galloway Forest Park in South-West Scotland.

Over three stunning routes riders will explore the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere, witnessing its stunning beauty and wildlife. Accompanying the competition is a festival with an expo mixing global partners with local businesses showing their wares. Each evening, events including presentations and talks, musicians, poets and dancers will add a truly local taste of Scottish culture.

This competition sets out a mix of adventure, exertion, culture and relaxation making for an unforgettable cycling event in one of Scotland’s most beautiful areas.

Raiders Gravel will take place at the end of August based in Gatehouse of Fleet.

Where: Lanercross Priory

Fancy trying your first cycle event? Then consider signing up for the Cross Border Sportive set to take place on 3rd September. Early bird sign ups until the end of May qualify for a discount. You’ll start out from Lanercross Priory and have a choice of three routes of differing abilities on quiet roads. First time? Then the Recce is for you – a 30 mile route with a 600m ascent, complete with snack stop! The pressure is off here, ride with friends, enjoy the countryside and have a natter! Or perhaps you’ve done a few and want more of a challenge? Then the 50 mile Raid route should be on your agenda. This ascent of 1100m will take you along sections of Hadrian’s Wall and along the quiet roads of the Borders river country. The hardened cyclists among you will be hankering to try the 80 mile, 2000m Invasion route. Not for the faint of heart, but definitely rewarding at the finish line.

Are you up for the Cross Border Sportive – will it be the 80m Invasion route that captures your imagination?

Where: Peebles

The Touro, as it’s known in these parts, is a closed road cycle race and its back for its tenth edition – and it’s going to be a special one. For the first time, a new long route (120km) will encompass parts of eastern Dumfries & Galloway as well as the Borders, taking in some of the South of Scotland’s most iconic landscapes, including the Devil’s Beeftub, Grey Mare’s Tail and St Mary’s Loch. It’s 88km Challenge route remains unchanged from previous years, with the mighty Wall of Talla – with its challenging gradient that reachs 20% in places – the centrepiece to this classic loop. Both routes start and finish in the historic town of Peebles, which offers warm hospitality to riders and watchers alike.

Tour O Borders will head to Dumfries & Galloway for the first time in this its 10th year. Photo: Blair Kemp.