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In ‘Adventures with Esther’, Esther will take us along on her rides in the beautiful region of Dumfries & Galloway, where the Raiders Gravel festival will take place in October. Her writing, sprinkled with local history and folk tales, will surely make you feel as though you’re riding alongside her, and you’ll soon long to explore this region of Scotland yourself. 

But before we get ahead of ourselves, we’ll let Esther introduce herself!

Right up until my husband, Warren, forged my signature on a 200K Audax entry, I was just someone who commuted to work by bike. I was good at commuting but it was just transport until the weekends became bike rides, adventures by bike and exploration. More Audax entries ensued: 200Ks, some 300K and a 400K.

The bikes became lighter and some were ‘house bikes too posh to be put in the shed ‘. My bike kit was more expensive than what I got married in, and I looked like a bar code of cyclist tan lines when I wore posh frocks.

A few sportives and the concept of training, transponders and pinning numbers on jerseys later, I wanted to be Top 10 in Cyclassics in Hamburg and went down the rabbit hole of lactic threshold and training, plus commuting to work. 14th out of the 6,000 women was good enough to be the fastest in my company, so a sporting highlight of my life. I had beaten them at go-karting and this was the sporting double.

Riding around the world for 4 years came next, when I realised that you just have to ride and repeat. I never keep a count of miles, but I think I have done more than 200,000 (though it is probably much more). I have met amazing people all over the world because of the vulnerability of bicycles. There is nowhere to hide, and we are going to make eye contact and chat. I know people are kind and I can prove it: the bicycle has shown me that in every country that I have cycled through.

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Articles

Partners

Our official kit partner: Bioracer

We’re delighted to announce Bioracer as our official kit partner! They are designing the unique, athlete-grade event kits and our official leader jerseys. Find out more here!

Partners

Our presenting partner: Canyon

We’re excited to say that the world-renowned Canyon is Raiders Gravel’s presenting partner. Find out more about them and how they’ll make your Raiders Gravel experience unique!

Itineraries

Where to stay

Thinking of turning your Raiders Gravel adventure into a week-long getaway? First of all, let us say: smart move. The South of Scotland has so much to offer, and we guarantee you’ll find plenty of things to see and do. Here are our favourite accommodation options!

Raiders Tales

The Potato Smugglers

The Edinburgh Road was used by smugglers moving goods that had been landed at the coast, all the way across to the capital to sell. One of the smugglers, Mc Harg, a dealer in contraband tea who regularly stopped off at the Murray’s, was in the habit of obtaining second-hand books of various sorts in the city which he gave to the young Alexander Murray.