The Dragon Ride is an event that needs no introduction to cycling enthusiasts. The oldest and most iconic sportive in the UK, the Dragon Ride is renowned for being one of the toughest and most legendary rides in the British Isles. The event will return to Margam Park in 2023 for its 19th edition, and once again, amateur cyclists from around the world will have the opportunity to take on this grueling challenge. Strambecco rates the event as one of the best cycling events in the UK.
The first Dragon Ride was birthed in 2004 by Lou Lusardi, who was inspired by the popularity of Italian Gran Fondo’s in his home country. Back then, there were only a handful of sportives in the UK, but Lou saw an opportunity to bring this type of event to the Bannau Brycheiniog, better known as the Brecon Beacons. It was an insight that has proven correct and stood the test of time, with thousands of cyclists now slaying the grueling Dragon Ride each year.
There are four route options to choose from. The infamous Devil has been made even harder! With 4614m of ascent, and the distance coming in at a monstrous 296km. The most popular Dragon Route comes in at 213km with just under 3500m of ascent. Don’t be fooled; this may not be the hardest of the Dragon Ride routes. However, it is still a major challenge requiring high levels of fitness, strength, and fortitude. Anybody who manages to slay this beast has completed an amazing achievement. The “Medio” Fondo is still considerably tougher than most other sportives’ longest routes, coming in at 157km and 2396m of climbing. You’ll take on some of the most famous climbs the Dragon Ride has to offer and the sweeping scenery and quiet roads of Bannau Brycheiniog (the Brecon Beacons). The “short” route of Dragon Ride, the Macmillan 100 – gets its name from our long-standing charity partner Macmillan. It used to be bang on 100km but is now 98km with 1314m of climbing. Still, a feat to be proud of.
Human Race took over the organization of the Dragon Ride in 2012 when the start/finish moved to the current venue, the picturesque Margam Park located near Port Talbot. The Dragon Ride has always been an event at the forefront of cycling innovation, being the first to use online entries and disposable timing chips. In 2014, the mammoth 300km Dragon Devil was introduced, further challenging cyclists to push their limits.
The event has always retained the spirit of Wales at its heart, showcasing the true passion for cycling and taking advantage of the intoxicating beauty of Brycheiniog, the Brecons. The four different route options showcase this incredible scenery and allow riders to experience the wild and rugged beauty of the Welsh landscapes, from sweeping descents to challenging climbs.
The Dragon Ride attracts thousands of amateur cyclists from around the world and is known for its friendly and supportive atmosphere. The event is open to cyclists of all abilities and provides a great opportunity for riders to challenge themselves and push their limits. In addition to the cycling routes, the Dragon Ride also features a festival atmosphere, with live music, food and drink stalls, and other activities for participants and spectators alike.