Gravel Culture: North London Dirt

Posted By Gravel Union On 10 May 2021

Image @Joe Harper/Pas Normal Studios

Those of you who have been avid followers of Gravel Union over the past couple of years, will know we’re big fans of the “ride everything” style of gravel riding. Although the last year for many of us has meant enforced local-area-only riding, we’ve been totally addicted to this for years and years anyway. While hopping in a car (or on a plane), travelling somewhere stunning and doing an ace ride in beautiful scenery will always have a moth-to-a-lightbulb type attraction for us, there’s something brilliant about staying local and seeing what you can find right on your doorstep.

It’s arguably their biggest USP that every trail becomes fun on a gravel bike, so why not make the most of those abilities! Narrow alleyways between houses? Perfect. Scraps of woodland full of tracks made by dog walkers? Count us in. Sets of concrete steps covered in graffiti? Hell yes. Tiny wodges of singletrack running around the edge of fields? ¡Si Señor!

So, an event like the North London Dirt really ticks all our boxes. The entire premise of the event is that it takes in all the scraps of gravel riding that most (sensible?) people would ignore, but it does the trail alchemist’s trick of making them into something better than their component parts.

Image @Joe Harper/Pas Normal Studios

The two event founders, brothers Philip and Andrew Diprose, seem to spend 99% of their riding time searching for new trails for each addition of the event and that fact that it sells out each year, tells us that they’ve identified an über-popular niche in the gravel riding event market. The event has been designed to make it as Covid19-safe as possible – everyone will be riding in self-supporting mode (with GPX files of the route sent out a few days before the event). There will be an appropriately socially-distanced food stop half way through, but riders are requested to bring everything they need with them to safely finish the ride.

Image @Joe Harper/Pas Normal Studios

For the 2021 edition of the event, which takes place on the 11th September, all the proceeds go to a local charity, which provides accommodation for migrants and a food bank among other things. We’re pleased to announce that Gravel Union will be one of the supporters of the event and we will be heading along to the event to take part - we hope to see as many of you as possible there.

So, we’ve waxed lyrical about the event and hopefully got you all excited about entering it, but there’s a catch! The event is deliberately kept small – they only allow 200 participants, and even without significant publicity or marketing, its already sold out.

You might wonder why we’re bothering to tell you about the event, when you can’t actually enter it. The answer to that is because Gravel Union are one of the event supporters this year, we’ve got two places for the event to give away to one lucky Gravel Union reader. We’re going to publish details of what you need to do to be in with a chance of winning the tickets in early June, so keep an eye on the Gravel Union website and our social media channels.

Image @Joe Harper/Pas Normal Studios

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