For most of us, the off season has well and truly arrived. Getting out on the bike requires military planning to ensure the correct layers are chosen to keep warm, the lights are charged and don’t even mention the post-ride cleanup!

So let get some motivation in the bank and explore some bikepacking goals for 2020. Here is our top ten bikepacking events to enter in 2020.

Atlas Mountain Race February, Morroco

New to the 2020 bike packing calendar from the creators of the SilkRoad mountain race, the Atlas Mountain race takes riders on a challenging off-road route around Morroco. Entries are already closed and the field boasts some of the top names from the bikepacking world so if you are not lucky enough to get in you just have to dot watch!

a winding dusty Moroccan track

Bikingman Oman February 22nd, Oman

Now in its 3rd year, the Bikingman Oman event is a fantastic early season ride. Escape to the warmth of the desert and discover a new culture with this great event. Not the longest ride in the grand scheme of things but plenty enough in the early season Bikingman Oman provides a great warm-up for events to come later in the year. But beware it does have some bite!

a bike propped up against a rock along a desert road

Race Around the Netherlands May 1st, Nederlands

The Race Around the Netherlands is one of the less well known of bikepacking races, however, it does pose its own unique challenges. On paper, it’s not as tough as some as its more mountainous counterparts, however, it's not to be underestimated. If the wind blows then this is a brute of a race with no let-up. The route takes advantage of the vast network of quality traffic-free cycle paths so is ideal for a tarmac based adventure.

Highland trail 550 May 23rd, Scotland

The Highland trail 550 is self-supported route around the Scottish Highlands. The group start is traditionally the last weekend of May. This is an extremely challenging event with technical mountain bike trails, hike a bikes, steep climbs and probably rain. If it’s not raining, then there will be mosquitoes! What more could you want in a ride?

Tour Divide June 12th,  USA

The original bikepacking race, the Tour Divide is a classic. The route is primarily dirt roads and traverses the length of the USA beginning in Banff Canada and finishing at the border of Mexico. The biggest challenge is the distance and the exposure to the elements, but this should be on every aspiring backpackers list of events to do.

a winding road leading into the mountains

The Transcontinental Race – August, Europe

The Transcontinental race defined the modern breed of organised bikepacking events. Traversing Europe by road with a few twists along the way the TCR is a true classic of the bike packing calendar. Entry to the TCR isn’t guaranteed but the rewards are an experience that you will never forget. How often do you get to see 10 countries in a week?

the top of the famed Mount Ventoux climb

Northcape 4000 – July 25th, Europe

The Northcape 4000 was originally set up as an alternative to the TCR but in recent years has grown a solid reputation of its own. Traversing Europe South to North and finish at the most northern point of Europe the NC4000 provides its own challenges. Despite its summer date, the Arctic nights can be cold and the daylight hours almost continuous. This is sure to play mind tricks at the end of the ride. 

Silk Road Mountain Race Aug – 14th,  Kyrgyzstan

The Silk Road Mountain race is fast establishing itself as one of the toughest races on the calendar. The high altitude route through Kyrgyzstan is remote with few supply options and is mostly off-road. The weather is extreme, but the landscapes are beautiful. This is a race that will really push you to the limits, remember to pack knobbly tyres and a dynamo.

Hunt Beyond Rider Jenny riding away from the Silk Road Mountains

Turino-Nice Rally – September, Italy/France

Not a race as such but more an organised tour through the high cols and lost gravel passes of the alps. Turino-Nice is a fantastic ride that really embraces the joy of travelling by bike. Push yourself over the high alpine passes and reward yourself with a beer on the beach on the Cote d’Azur. A must-do social end of season event.

Hunt Rider Claire sitting atop one of the famed cols

Further - September, French Pyrenees

Want a brutally challenging bikepacking route through the Pyrenees? Or maybe just to chill by the pool and chat bikes? Either way, Further has you covered. Enter the Race for a strong dose of Pyrenean hike a bike or attend the Rally to enjoy a long weekend of bikes, beers and swimming pools in the shadow of the mountains. The bikepacking community comes together for Further so don’t miss out.

a gravel single-track leading into the mountains

November 06, 2019 — James Finch
Tags: Beyond