The Dukes Weekend returns for 2019, with backing from Santa Cruz

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The Dukes Weekender cycling festival was one of our favourite events of last year (read all about it in Antony’s report, here). We are therefore stoked to hear that it’s back for a second year.

It’s back!

The team are opening entries amongst a huge buzz for this unique event. With a new headline partner of Santa Cruz Bicycles, the weekend – which features a closed road hillclimb, a stunning 70km Gravel Enduro plus kids events and a film night – is back for 2019 on the 7th/8th September.

The gravel enduro is the main event. Photo Credit: Andy McCandlish

The brainchild of two local riders, Rob Friel and Stu Thomson, the first edition of the event in Aberfoyle, Scotland, attracted a wide range of cyclists including Graeme Obree and Danny MacAskill. Rob Friel commented, ‘we have been blown away by the response to the event, we managed to capture a special, inclusive and fun vibe and we are ecstatic to see the demand for entries in 2019.’

There’s a hillclimb too. Who’s the famous starter, though? Photo Credit: Phil Crowder

This year the event is backed by Californian based brand Santa Cruz Bicycles which Thomson says bring a huge amount of credibility to the event. ‘We couldn’t be more excited to be working with Santa Cruz, they contacted us following this year’s event and immediately their approach and ambitions for the event were exactly the same as ours.’

Beautiful landscapes

Considered the blue ribbon event of the festival the ‘Full Dukes Weekender’ includes both the unique Hill Climb on Saturday and incredible Gravel Enduro on Sunday. The combined time of the two races will decide the overall Duke and Duchess of the Hill for the weekend.

The headline event the ‘Dukes Gravel Enduro’ brings gravel riding, the latest trend in cycling, to the beautiful backdrop of Aberfoyle and the surrounding Lochs and Glens. It is a socially orientated and takes competitors on a stunning 70km ride along Loch shorelines and the mountains of the Trossachs. Whilst on route riders will compete in several timed stages, racing against the clock on Scotland’s finest gravel and cycle trail riding.

And some rad looking trails. Photo Credit: Andy McCandlish

Arguably the stand-out event for the weekend though is a Hill Climb event on one of the country’s most iconic mountain passes; the Dukes Pass. This event, which will also double as the prologue for the overall Full Dukes Weekender, was hugely popular with both riders and spectators in 2018. The course was lined with supporters, the local school and even included music, a bar and food stalls.

There’s a full festival vibe. Photo credit: Stu Thomson

The Saturday night will once again see a charity film night in the local pub ‘The Forth Inn’, this sell out evening this year saw the likes of the legendary Graeme Obree, Endurance rider Lee Craigie and ex commonwealth mountain biker Rab Wardell present an intimate evening of film and storytelling. The 2019 event will see new speaker’s films and stories in a similar format.

More details about the event will be released in the coming weeks and months. For more information and entries, please visit


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