The number of self-supported, ultra-distance bikepacking races is growing rapidly. Many races are listed below and the differences between various categories of races is summarized.
Please Contact Me if you know about a major event that should be added or if you notice any errors.
The following table contains most of the major self-supported bike races that are at least 700 km long and the clock never stops. There are also good lists at Apidura, Bikepacking.com and Bikepacking.net.
The events are classified as to whether the terrain is generally (paved) roads, gravel (unpaved roads), MTB (off-road trails), or snow. Be aware that this classification only gives a very rough idea. Some road events may include some gravel, most gravel events also involve a lot of paved roads, some MTB events may be possible on a gravel bike, etc. Please do your own research on the event that you’re interested in and choose which style of bike you think you’ll be most comfortable with.
You can re-organize the table by clicking an arrow in the column heading to sort based on that column.
|2019 start date||Event||Region||Distance
|27/12/2018||The 03||New Zealand||4,000||Road||Complete tour of New Zealand’s South Island.|
|24/02/2019||BikingMan Oman||Oman||1,000||Road||Became the first event of this nature in the Middle East in 2018.|
|24/02/2019||Iditarod Trail Invitational||Alaska, USA||1,600||Snow||The original bikepacking race and still the longest fat-bike race in the world. Started in 1987 using a much shorter route, but has used the current format since 2000.|
|1,300||Gravel||Starts and finishes near Hamburg and visits the northern tip of Denmark.|
|16/03/2019||Indian Pacific Wheel Ride
Official, Ride Far
|Australia||5,500||Road||Goes across the southern part of Australia between the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It started as an organized race in 2017, but became an unofficial “Ride” in 2018.|
|13/04/2019||Iberica Traversa||Spain||1,900||Gravel||Crosses Spain using unpaved roads and trails. 1200 km version also possible.|
|18/04/2019||Arizona Trail Race||Arizona, USA||1,200||MTB||The race started in 2006 using a much shorter route, but has used the current format since 2010.|
|19/04/2019||Monaro Cloudride 1000||Australia||1,000||MTB||Traverses the ridgetops of the Great Dividing Range in south-eastern Australia.|
|25/04/2019||Italy Divide||Italy||900||Gravel||From Rome, central Italy, to the Alps.|
|700||Road||Short race with non-stop climbing on the Mediterranean island.|
|01/05/2019||Race Around The Netherlands||Netherlands||1,600||Road||It would be difficult to find a flatter route than this.|
|05/05/2019||Gravel Tro Breizh||France||1,400||Gravel||Mixed surface route over the hills and along the coast of Brittany.|
|11/05/2019||Race Through Poland||Poland||1,200||Road||Free choice of route between various checkpoints.|
|24/05/2019||All Points North||England||900||Road||Free choice of route between 10 checkpoints.|
|25/05/2019||Highland Trail 550||Scotland||900||MTB||The main bikepacking race in the UK, started in 2013.|
|26/05/2019||Bike NonStop US||USA||5,500||Gravel||Portland, OR to Washington, DC on mixed surfaces including a lot of gravel rail-trails.|
|29/05/2019||Normandicat||France||900||Road||A relatively short race around NW France.|
|??/05/2019||BikingMan Laos||Laos||800||Road||“A mountainous race course through the tropical jungle.”|
|01/06/2019||American Trail Race||USA||8,000||MTB||Sort of an east-west version of the Tour Divide (instead of north-south), but far longer.|
|01/06/2019||Tuscany Trail||Italy||500||MTB||The most popular MTB bikepacking race in Europe is around central Italy and started in 2014.|
|02/06/2019||Trans Am Bike Race
Official, Ride Far
|USA||6,900||Road||First run in 2014, it goes from Oregon to Virginia along the TransAmerica Bicycle Trail.|
|06/06/2019||TransAtlantic Way||Ireland||2,500||Road||Generally follows Ireland’s Atlantic coast; 2019 will be the 4th edition.|
|08/06/2019||Portugal Divide||Portugal||?||Gravel||Checkpoints at the extreme N, E, W, and S points of the country.|
|Canada-USA||4,400||MTB||Race along the Rocky Mountains from Canada through the USA to the Mexican border. It started in 2008 and had evolved from the slightly shorter Great Divide Race, which ran from 2004-10.|
|15/06/2019||The 1000 Miler||South Africa||1,600||Gravel||Including “as much dirt as possible” over challenging South African terrain.|
|17/06/2019||Grenzsteintrophy||Germany||1,250||MTB||Runs along the former East Germany-West Germany border. Started in 2009; will only be held every 2nd year after 2019.|
|20/06/2019||North Cape Tarifa||Norway-Spain||7,400||Road||The longest self-supported race in Europe. Options to finish in Finland (1700 km), Austria (4100 km) or France (5400 km).|
|22/06/2019||GB Duro||UK||2,000||Gravel||Across the length of Britain, with half of the route off-road.|
|2,900||Gravel||Crosses eastern Europe to the mouth of the great Danube river via several mountain ranges.|
|29/06/2019||BC Epic 1000||B. C., Canada||1,000||MTB||Generally follows the Trans Canada Trail for over 1000 km in the Rocky Mountains of southern British Columbia.|
|29/06/2019||Around Norway||Norway||3,200||Road||Start & finish in Oslo, looping through the southern Norwegian coast, fjords and mountains.|
|29/06/2019||TransPyrenees Ultracycling Race||France &
|1,000||Road||Over the classic Pyrenean passes, from the Mediterranean Sea to the Atlantic Ocean.|
|??/06/2019||Navad 1000||Switzerland||1,000||MTB||The first bikepacking race in Switzerland, started in 2015.|
|01/07/2019||Trans Alba Race||Scotland||1,700||Road||Around Scotland, including a lot of the west coast and a couple of islands.|
|05/07/2019||La Baroudeuse, Unpaved||France||2,700||Gravel||Route information not yet announced.|
|06/07/2019||Vistula 1200||Poland||1,200||Gravel||Mostly follows the Vistula river through Poland.|
|07/07/2019||Bikepacking Trans Germany||Germany||1,600||Gravel||Lots of off-road riding over some of the more mountainous regions of Germany.|
|07/07/2019||Pan Celtic Race||UK &
|2,300||Road||Through Scotland, Ireland and Wales including two ferry crossing of the Irish Sea.|
|10/07/2019||TransDolomitics Way||Italy||1,200||Road||Mountainous route through the Dolomites and Italian Alps.|
|20/07/2019||3 Peaks Bike Race||Austria-Spain||2,000||Road||Traverses the Alps, including 3 checkpoints on classic passes, extended to finish in Barcelona in 2019.|
|21/07/2019||A-cross The 5||Belgium||1,200||Gravel||Mainly around Belgium, but sections in the 4 bordering countries. A-cross The 3 is a shorter, 500 km version.|
|21/07/2019||Round Denmark Bike Race||Denmark||1,900||Road||The route uses a lot of dedicated bike paths and several ferries.|
Official, Ride Far
|Europe||4,000||Road||The most iconic race of this style and one of the first, starting in 2013. Goes from NW Europe to SE Europe via various checkpoints with a free choice of route in between.|
|03/08/2019||20K UltraTrail Road||Italy-
|1,100||Road||20,000 metres of climbing throughout the eastern Alps including 9 passes over 2,000 m elevation.|
|03/08/2019||20K UltraTrail MTB||Italy &
|700||MTB||20,000 metres of climbing on many high-altitude old military roads near the Italian-French border.|
|14/08/2019||BikingMan Inca Divide||Peru||1,700||Gravel||Includes a pass in the Andes mountains at over 4,700 m elevation.|
|19/08/2019||La Baroudeuse, Road||France||2,700||Road||Route information not yet announced.|
|31/08/2019||Terra Australis Bike Epic||Australia||6,500||MTB||Ride from the northern to the southern tip of Australia’s east coast.|
|17/08/2019||Silk Road Mountain Race||Kyrgyzstan||1,700||MTB||Covers many dirt roads and trails in the Tian Shan mountains of Kyrgyzstan (between China and Kazakhstan).|
|01/09/2019||TransIberica Ultracycling Race||Spain &
|3,500||Road||Several checkpoints around the Iberian peninsula, including Europe’s highest road up the Pico del Veleta.|
|16/09/2019||Black Hills Expedition||S. Dakota, USA||700||MTB||South Dakota now has several other bikepacking events, but this was the first in the region in 2014.|
|??/09/2019||BikingMan Portugal||Portugal||900||Road||Includes the Algarve mountains and Atlantic coast.|
|04/10/2019||Trans Pyrenees Race||France &
|1,500||Road||Traversing the Pyrenees mountains between the Atlantic and Mediterranean and back again. Organized by the same team as the TransContinental Race.|
|06/10/2019||Morocco Bike Adventure||Morocco||2,900||Gravel||Cross Morocco via the Atlas mountains. 2,000 km option also possible.|
|17/10/2019||Holyland MTB Challenge||Israel||1,400||MTB||Goes through the historic places and landscapes of Israel.|
|27/10/2019||Across Andes||Chile &
|1,500||Road||Traverses dry deserts and high mountains.|
|23/05/2019||Hydra Epic||Lithuania||800||MTB||Traverses the eastern part of the country, including some singletrack and riding through the capital city.|
|22/06/2019||Taunus Bikepacking||Germany||800||Gravel||Convoluted route through the small Taunus mountain range north of Frankfurt.|
|07/06/2019||Born To Ride||France-Switzerland-Italy||1200||Road||Mountainous root linking ancient citadels across 3 countries.|
|27/07/2019||North Cape 4000||Italy-Norway||4,200||Road||Cross Europe from south to north, with a free choice of route between checkpoints.|
|20/07/2019||Trans South Dakota Race||South Dakota, USA||1,200||MTB||Crosses the state on a mix of trails and roads and includes rafting down a river in the middle.|
2019 event or date not yet announced:
|Alberta Rockies 700||Alberta, Canada||700||MTB||Follows the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.|
|BikingMan Taiwan||Taiwan||1,100||Road||Through the mountains and along the island’s east coast.|
|Colorado Trail Race||Colorado, USA||800||MTB||The third of the three classic races in the Rocky Mountains, started in 2007.|
|Freedom Challenge RASA||South Africa||2,300||Gravel||The main bikepacking event in Africa, which started in 2015.|
|French Divide||France||2,100||MTB||Goes from the Belgian to the Spanish borders on many gravel roads and trails.|
|Hunt 1000||Australia||1,000||MTB||From Canberra to Melbourne via the Australian Alps.|
|Japanese Odyssey||Japan||2,500||Road||Several checkpoints around Japan must be visited, but it’s not a timed race.|
|Race To The Rock||Australia||3,000||MTB||The starting location and route of the race varies each year, but it always finishes at Uluru (aka Ayers Rock) in central Australia.|
|Steens Mazama 1000||Oregon, USA||1,600||Road||The route is primarily on paved roads, but about 10% is on gravel/un-paved roads.|
|Torino-Nice Rally||Italy-France||700||Gravel||Covers many of the gravel, old military roads in the Alps.|
|Mount Magnet 1400||Western Australia||1,400||?||Follows the coast north of Perth then returns via a longer inland route.|
Will not be held in 2019, but expected to be held in 2020:
|Hard-Cro Ultra Race||Croatia||1,400||Road||Visits the 4 corners of Croatia. First held in 2016 but will not be held in 2019.|
|Tour Aotearoa Brevet||New Zealand||3,000||Gravel||Crosses New Zealand on roads and trails. First held in 2016 and held every second year.|
|Andes Divide||S. America||?||Gravel||Planned to be held for the first time in 2020 and to traverse the entire length of South America along the Andes mountains.|
|World By Bike Challenge||World||?||Road||Planned to be held for the first time in 2020 using the rules of the Guinness World Record for global circumnavigation, but fully self-supported. It will be a similar format to the World Cycle Race that was held in 2012 and 2014, but with different organizers.|
Certain ‘ultracycling’ road races where each participant has a dedicated support vehicle also have a category for self-supported riders:
|2019 start date||Event||Region||Distance
|26/04/2019||Race Across Italy||Italy||800|
|28/05/2019||Race Around Denmark||Denmark||1,600|
|29/06/2019||Race ACross Europe||Europe||4,700|
|05/07/2019||Race Across Germany||Germany||1,100|
|28/07/2019||Race Across France||France||1,500|
|23/08/2019||Hoodoo 500||Utah, USA||800|
Typical cyclosportives are designed to take average cyclists about 4-8 hours, and so are challenging and involve long distances but cannot be classified as ultra-distance. Some longer events include more than 300 km of distance and/or 5,000 meters of climbing in a single ride, many of which are listed below. Click on the name to visit the website. In these events, riders receive support from the organizers at certain locations and group riding is normally allowed.
|AlpenBrevet||Switzerland||276 km||7,000 m|
|Audax Alpine Classic||Australia||320 km||5,500 m|
|Dirty Kanza||Kansas, USA||320 km||3,000 m||Mostly gravel/dirt roads|
|Dragon Ride Wales||Wales||305 km||5,200 m|
|Extrême Ride Bike Pyrénéen||France||563 km||12,000m|
|Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge||New Zealand||640 km||6,400 m||640 km = 4 laps of the lake, 2 lap (320 km) option also exists|
|Mallorca 312||Spain||312 km||5,000 m|
|Milan – San Remo||Italy||302 km||2,000 m|
|Liège–Bastogne–Liège||Belgium||273 km||5,200 m|
|Raid Extrême Vosgien||France||550 km||12,000m|
|Sjælland Rundt||Denmark||300 km||2,200 m|
|Styrkeproven Trondheim-Oslo||Norway||543 km||3,600 m|
|Tortour Challenge||Switzerland||550 km||7,000 m||No group riding, many participants have a support vehicle, but riding unsupported is an option. Also 390 km version.|
|Trafalgar Way||England||500 km||6,800 m||320 km and 356 km options also exist|
|TransScotlandRace||Scotland||540 km||5,800 m||More like a mini-TCR than a cyclosportif|
|TransWalesRace||Wales||346 km||6,200 m||More like a mini-TCR than a cyclosportif|
|Tour du Mont Blanc||France, Switzerland, Italy||330 km||8,000 m|
|Tortour Challenge||Switzerland||550 km||? m||Unsupported version of the larger and longer supported (ultracycling) race.|
|Tuscany Road||Italy||560 km||10,000m|
|Vätternrundan||Sweden||300 km||1,500 m|
|Wysam 333||Switzerland||333 km||3,200 m|
Some 12-hour and 24-hour time trials can be done without external support and often involve doing loops around a certain region, so self re-supply can be relatively easy.
The main difference between cyclosportives and audax/randonee/brevet events is that the latter are intended to be non-competitive and non-timed. Often, some support is provided by the organizers at the checkpoints in these events and they range in distance from 200 km up to 1500 km, with a reasonable number of events in the 300-600 km range. The most important events are Paris-Brest-Paris in France and London-Edinburgh-London in the UK.
See the list on Wikipedia for other audax rides. Some such rides are suggested in the comments to this post on the TCR Facebook page. Ciclo Fachiro organizes many rides in Italy, including some that are over 2000 km long.
In the USA, “century rides” (100 miles / 161 km) are common and there are sometimes double centuries (200 miles / 322 km). These have a similar format to many audax rides. The Wikipedia page lists some of the larger and more famous such rides.
Upon first hearing about bikepacking races, many people compare them to the more famous Race Across AMerica (RAAM) or other supported ultracycling races (many of which are listed on the website of the UltraMarathon Cycling Association). The general length and the fact that the clock never stops are similar, but the nature of those races is very different due to needing support/follow cars. This website mainly focuses on unsupported events. Unsupported and supported races typically attract quite different types of people, although some people have done both.
Certain races that are primarily supported also have unsupported categories, these are listed underneath the table in the Bikepacking section above.
Ride Far focuses on self-supported/unsupported races in which support cars and all other forms of organized support are prohibited. This focus is mainly due to cars being quite unnecessary in most people’s everyday lives and the world would be a better place if people used them less – we would be healthier, the planet healthier, and cyclists safer. Cars are definitely not needed to assist someone who is riding a bike, even when they’re riding very far.
Considering the distances that unsupported cyclists can ride per day without a vehicle behind them, I cannot see why support vehicles are needed in ultra-distance cycling. The fact that riders with a support vehicle can stay on their bikes for a few hours extra per day (due to not needing to search for supplies, find somewhere to sleep, or do maintenance on their bike) and ride slightly faster due to carrying no extra equipment doesn’t make the racing any better to watch or more enjoyable to do in my opinion.
The effect that small decisions that are constantly being made by racers in unsupported races (about fueling, rest, navigation, etc.) have on the race outcome is one of the most fascinating aspects of these races. In supported races, the rider’s support team makes most of the decisions and so the differences between racers becomes more physical than mental (even though the mental aspect is still very important). For me, this makes supported races less interesting to follow than unsupported races.
Another reservation about supported races is that the cost of doing them is significantly higher than it is for unsupported races due to the support team and vehicle costs. Supported races are therefore more elitist and less inclusive than unsupported races. In unsupported races, it is possible to compete very competitively on an extremely limited budget (see the section on Race & Equipment Costs).
Some people may try to argue that having a follow vehicle and support team makes ultra-distance cycling safer. However, as reported in a guide for RAAM support crews, support vehicles have hit their own racers on multiple occasions. In addition, the presence of support vehicles has not prevented two racers from being killed during RAAM and others seriously injured when hit by other vehicles (see RAAM’s Wikipedia page). Finally, having the perceived safety net of a support crew may make racers push their physical and mental limits further, thereby endangering themselves more than they would if the crew wasn’t there. Overall, there is no evidence that having a support crew increases a cyclist’s safety.
Having support vehicles does make sense in relatively short, fast-action professional bike races on closed roads. In those situations, the style of racing would be very different without the support vehicles and the sport would probably not be as entertaining or financially viable. It’s only in ultra-distance racing where I see support vehicles as being unnecessary, and so Ride Far focuses on unsupported cycling.
Last minor page modification:
Last significant page update: January, 2018
This page is in Ride Far, Part III: Bikepacking Race Information.