Part long-distance audax, part multi-day stage race; half cross course, half hill-climb, the Pennine Rally is a mud-spattered mongrel of a ride. But for those brave enough to enter, all manner of rewards lie in wait on this self-supported off-road adventure along Britain’s mountainous backbone.
500 kilometres, five days, off-road. Edinburgh to Manchester. June 21-25. Back for more on our beautiful ride down Britain’s backbone.17 February 2021
Riding from Edinburgh to Manchester is no mean feat, so only the hardy need apply. To keep the crowd varied we will be replicating our inaugural event's inclusive gender split. But whoever you are, with over 8,000 metres of ascent on the route, you best bring your climbing legs. Fear not though, five days is a long time and there are plenty of pubs along the way providing welcome respite and a well-earned pint.
All riders on the Pennine Rally are expected to be self-sufficient but one thing you’ll never have to think about is the route. This winding mix of ancient highways and gravel byways was created by the bikepacking advocates over at Outdoor Provisions, who produce a fine range of all natural energy bars and nut butters in compostable wrappers, for exactly this kind of venture.
Starting out in Edinburgh, the route gets off the roads almost immediately in the Pentland Hills before winding its way south to take in some of the finest gravel roads, byways, drovers’ roads and bridleways that the Pennines have to offer. There’s only the occasional tarmac interruption and, trust us, you'll be glad of those.
It's not a ride by bike
if you don't go for a hike
Expect stunning scenery and remote riding as you navigate the length of the Pennine range, passing through the Scottish Borders, the North Pennines, the Yorkshire Dales and the Forest of Bowland before the final approach to Manchester and the safe haven of the Rapha Clubhouse.
This is a self-supported ride, with participants expected to arrange their own food and accommodation according to their pace and schedule. You’ll want to carry anything that you might need. We’ll signpost good options for accommodation along the route, though wild camping is encouraged where legal.
There will be three mandatory controls along the route, providing a chance to top up on supplies, have a coffee and steel yourself for the next section. The controls will be open at set times which will be shared with participants nearer the time.
Five days may seem generous, but this is a rally not a race. Riders are encouraged to enter with the spirit of adventure in mind, not a fast finishing time. The going will be tough at points so you might travel slower than expected on some sections. We’ll split the route in five sections as a guide, though riders will be free to adapt this according to their plans and circumstances.
That said, for those determined to deprive themselves of sleep, we will be offering a limited number of ‘express option’ places. Leaving a day later than the rest of the field, you’ll have just four days to make it to Manchester. All we ask is that you say a friendly hello to any fellow riders you pass on your way through.
However you choose to break down the route, we remind riders to respect the challenge and look after themselves. Sleep is encouraged, rather than penalised. As we said, this is a rally, not a race.
- June 21-25
- Riders must follow the GPX route provided
- Enter solo or as a pair
- All riders will be spot tracked, included in the price.
- All forward travel must be self-powered. If you take another form of transport (due to an emergency for example), you must return to where you left the route to continue
- Wild camping is encouraged, but only where it is legal
- Riders must obtain their own insurance
- Leave no trace
How to apply
Places on the Pennine Rally are extremely limited and available by application only. Tickets for the event cost £130 and include a donation to the Great North Air Ambulance – we hope nobody will need them but it’s nice to know they’re there.
The ballot will be open from Monday, 24th January.