Event Info

Please click for updated Rider Guide for all participants.

Anyone who’s ridden the gravel roads of the Comox Valley know how good it is. A group of gravel enthusiasts have put together, for your riding pleasure, a challenging adventure ride linking some of the best routes and climbs around. Starting and finishing in the historic village of Cumberland, the Forbidden Gravel Experience will take you through lush forests, around beautiful Comox lake and up into the Beaufort mountain range. We’ve linked together an adventure ride that is a true gravel cycling test. We’ve added in some sections of singletrack and doubletrack to keep things interesting. 

The event is part of a newly formed Vancouver Island Gravel Series which features 3 pillar events that showcase some of the most beautiful and challenging terrain on the Island. Kicking off the series is MIVA unpaved on August 29 followed by the Forbidden Gravel Experience on September 11 with the Burnt Bridge Classic closing out the series on September 25th

Proceeds from the event proudly support Trail Bicycles youth cycling team, UROC, Cumberland Community Schools society, Vanier High School mountain bike team, and Cumberland Community Forest Society

Covid protocol for FGE

We strongly recommend that all participants are fully vaccinated in accordance with public health guidance. As organizers we take on a tremendous risk and need to make sure the safety of our event volunteers and participants is prioritized. We also ask you to abide by the following protocols during the event:

  • Please wear a mask during check-in and maintain social distancing where possible
  • Carry a mask with you during the race in case you require assistance

If you or any member of your household have been outside of Canada in the past 14 days or if you or anyone in your household experienced any cold or flu-like symptoms in the last 14 days, enjoy a ride on your own and please don’t participate in the event.


The Route - 2 distance options

Epic 87 km long course for Intermediate and Expert categories will be an adventurous and memorable experience. This is the full distance and don't let the seemingly short distance fool you. The first 40km of the route consist of steep and unrelenting hills before moving onto more sustained climbing in the second half of the course.

Long Course GPX
Long Course Strava Route

Short course for Beginner categories - New to gravel and new to riding yet still want a challenge. This category is for you. The main difference between the short course and the Epic course is that you won't be doing the long climb up the Davis Lake Main.

Short Course GPX
Short Course Strava Route

*The course is subject to change based on landowners, hazards and all other factors. The race route may be changed by the organizers at any time without notice. We will provide a GPX file for the finalized route prior to the event.


Epic Long Course - 1,920m of climbing, most of which will take place over 2 long, sustained climbs with shorter sections approaching 20% gradient.

Short Course - 1,400m of climbing split up between the initial 40km and the final climb through the Cumberland trail network.


Given that this route will be mainly off-road and include steeper climbing gearing and tire choice will be important considerations. Organizers recommend a CX or gravel bike capable of 1:1 gear ratios and tire widths of at least 35mm. 40-45mm tires may be the best choice for this route

Recommended gear list:

  • 2 spare tubes
  • 1 flat repair kit
  • tire boots
  • pump
  • CO2
  • multitool with allen keys


  • Friday September 10th 7:30pm to 9pm at BMX parking lot package/race plate pickup and checkin
  • Saturday September 11th 7:30 - 9am: race plate pickup and check-in
  • 9:15am: Pre-race mandatory briefing
  • 9:30am: Race start (all categories)
  • 2pm: Cut-off #1 for Intermediate and Expert Full Course Aid Station #2
  • 3:30pm: Cut off #2 for Intermediate and Expert Full Course Aid Staton #2
  • 4pm: Awards

Short Course
Long Course
*Note that a significant portion of the route is on private forestry land and that participants are discouraged from pre-riding the route without land owner permission and do so at their own risk.

We respectfully acknowledge that the Forbidden Gravel Experience will take place on the unceded traditional territory of the Puntledge, Iekson, Sathloot and Sasitla​


Registration is now open:  https://raceroster.com/events/2021/47010/forbidden-gravel-experience

Registration closes Wednesday September 8th at 11:59pm.

  • $85 registration
  • Registration limited to the first 200 riders
  • Team of 4 is $300 ($10 discount per rider)
Categories – Beginner category riders complete the short course. Intermediate and Expert riders complete the epic long course
  • Beginner- You’re new to riding and want a challenge then this category is for you. Riders who register in Beginner will complete the short course
  • Intermediate – This category is for you if you plan on riding the course and having a fun day out with friends. Riders who register in Intermediate will complete the epic long course
  • Expert – You’ve done gravel events and want to go fast and race the route. Riders who register in Expert will complete the epic long course
  • Team of 4 – All 4 registered riders must be completing the same course distance. 
In partnership with Mosaic Forest Management