Credit: Jered Gruber

Gravel cycling festival Dukes Weekender set to return next month

Gravel cycling festival Dukes Weekender, based in the centre of Aberfoyle on the edge of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, is returning for its third outing on Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th September.

The two-day event will include the Gravel Hill Climb, the Gravel Enduro, a 75km gravel loop with six competitive timed stages, and the 10km Kids Enduro.

Local gravel and mountain bike riders Stu Thomson and Rob Friel set up Dukes Weekender in 2018 with the key aim of making a contribution to the community-driven commercial regeneration of Aberfoyle.

The success of the events in 2018 and 2019 have been instrumental in establishing the village of Aberfoyle as a booming year-round cycling destination. The events have also been a driving force for local community interest company, Bike Trossachs, to launch ‘Gravelfoyle’, a cycle tourism brand with the prime objective of promoting Aberfoyle as Scotland’s premier Gravel Cycling destination.

“It’s absolutely fantastic to be able to bring Dukes Weekender back to the community after such a challenging last 18 months,” said Thomson. “The event was established with the aim of bringing people to the village and showcasing the gravel riding on offer in the area and it’s been incredible to see the resulting explosion of Aberfoyle as a cycling hub.”

Friel added: “We’ve always put community right at the heart of the whole event, using only local suppliers, no outside catering and bringing the participants to the centre of the village.”

Phil Crowder, landlord of the Forth Inn in Aberfoyle, said: “Dukes Weekender, ‘Gravelfoyle’ as it is known locally, utilises the great natural resource of the national park, is amazingly well organised, with a fantastic attitude from those riders taking part.

“It’s incredibly well-received by local residents and businesses and has changed Aberfoyle’s future for the better, providing a significant boost to the local economy. It goes on to set us up superbly for the year ahead with returning #Gravelfoylers. Long may it continue. Maybe two next year?!”

Nick Green, owner of Aberfoyle Bike Hire, added: “We are delighted to see the return of the Dukes Weekender. As well as being a great event for our business, it has played a key role in the development of cycling culture in Aberfoyle and we see an effect on the area that continues throughout the year. Visitors from across the UK and beyond have heard of the event and come to the shop to ask how they can ride the routes.”

Read the August issue of BikeBiz below:


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