Dirty Mayo

The Dirty Mayo is an 85 km route just north of Hwy 50 in Western Quebec. With plenty of gravel and climbing, this route will certainly test your climbing legs.

  • Farmland
  • Tree-lined gravel
  • Remote parks
  • Back-country roads
  • Mountain Bike: For this route a mountain bike is really not necessary. However, if all you have is a mountain bike, then it is the perfect bike for this route.
  • Gravel Bike: If using a gravel/cross bike with 700 wheels, you’ll find the route can be ridden with any type of gravel or cyclocross bike using a minimum of 35mm tires.
  • Starting from the corner of Route 315 and Chemin Mcalendin in the village of Mayo and riding counterclockwise, the route turns right onto Chemin Roy and immediately transitions from pavement to gravel. Just over a kilometer later, turn left onto Chemin Burke where riders will be treated to an extended section of tree-lined gravel, which eventually shifts to exposed farm land before turning right onto Montée Dambremont.
  • Eventually, the route turns left onto Montée Binette and Montée Varin, two wonderfully twisty gravel sections – and where the climbing begins in earnest. This is followed by a left as the route briefly follows Route 317 (while traffic can move fast here, there is a wide paved shoulder), before the route turns right and back onto gravel via Montée du Gore.  
  • The route eventually re-joins Route 317 and for the next 18km or so travels along several stretches of pavement including Montée Guindon, and Chemin de St. André, before entering the village of Ripon. Caution ought to be exercised on this section as there is no paved shoulders and traffic along Route 317 can travel at a high rate of speed.
  • The village of Ripon, little less than halfway along the route, is a convenient stop for hunters headed north and as such includes all the amenities a cyclist could want, including several restaurants, chips stands, grocery stores and dépanneurs. Exiting the village, the route heads west along Chemin de la Montagne before turning left onto Chemin de la Montagne Noire, leaving the pavement behind and beginning the loop’s most difficult climb, quickly followed by a sphincter-clenching descent down the other side of Black Mountain.
  • The road then continues for several kilometers of gravel bliss before returning to pavement for a short stretch, followed by a right onto Chemin Smallian as riders continue on gravel via Chemin Miller and Chemin de la Riviere Blanche. Eventually, the route rejoins Route 315 and heading south all the way back to Mayo.

This is quite a short route and likely won't require the need to find a place to sleep.

  • Fresh water: The route is not particularly long. If you really need, you can use a filter for water purification or get some water in the town of Ripon. It is the only town on the route.
  • Food: As with the water description, the only place to get food along the route will be in Ripon. Make sure to pack enough snacks to get you through the initial 40km.

The Dirty Mayo is not a particularly long route and can be easily tackled in a day. It also doesn’t require too much technical skill to complete the route. This is the perfect gravel ride for a day out or to test out your bikepacking setup.

Average Physical Difficulty – 3

  • 1-2 – Relatively level riding
  • 3-4 – Regular rolling terrain with sustained climbing
  • 5-6 – Rugged terrain with frequent climbs, some of which may be steep and unrelenting.
  • 7-8 – Very rugged terrain with abundant climbing, some of which is very steep and unrideable.
  • 9-10 – Numerous very steep, climbs requiring bike-pushing and/or carrying.

Average Technical Difficulty – 2

  • 1-2 – Smooth riding surface with few obstacles (e.g., graded dirt roads, rail trails); suitable for novice mountain bikers
  • 3-4 – Track has occasional obstacles and steep sections (e.g., maintained forest roads, mellow singletrack), suitable for beginner mountain bikers.
  • 5-6 – Continuous sections of track may be rocky, loose, and steep; (e.g., 4×4 roads or singletrack in rugged/rocky terrain) suitable for intermediate mountain bikers.
  • 7-8 – Narrow trail with regular obstacles, sustained steep grades, suitable for intermediate to advanced mountain bikers.
  • 9-10 – Very challenging riding with frequent large obstacles, exposure, very steep grades; suitable for advanced mountain bikers.

This route was created by:

Grant Burke

You may also like these other routes.

A Day in the Gats


This route was created by:

Chris Panasky, host of the Bikepack Adventures Podcast.

Bikepack the Gats


This route was created by:

Chris Panasky, host of the Bikepack Adventures Podcast.

Blazing Saddles


This route was created by:

Tiago Varella-Cid

Amazing companies that support the Bikepack Adventures Podcast