There be Dragon Rallies... - Roadskin®

We enjoyed our jaunt to the Elephant Rally, the historic motorcycle meet held every year in Germany in the depths of winter, and it gave us a taste for more. We didn’t have to go far to find something similarly hardcore. Snowdonia is home to the Dragon Rally, started up in 1962 by the Conwy and District Motorcycle Club, which has run the rally ever since. It is similar in many respects to the Elefantentreffen  – endurance camping, trophies, beer, cold, damp. It takes place annually, with the date deliberately chosen to deliver what is reliably the worst weather of the year.

This Dragon Rally story starts last year with monkey bike rider extraordinaire Dean Lambert. Dean has been riding since 1983 - everything from a Honda ST70 to a BMW GSA1200 and most bikes in between. But in 2019 he hopped on a Honda monkey bike and didn’t look back. Dean’s YouTube channel, Monkey Dix Adventures, celebrates the big fun to be had on this small bike.

Dean explains, ‘Just prior to the Covid lockdowns, I was looking to replace my C90 with a Honda 125 Supercub, with the intention of doing Land’s End to John O’Groats for my 50th. It was then that I saw the Honda 125 Monkey and I ended up swapping the big bike for it instead of the C90.’

Dean, tell us your tale of two Dragon rallies.

‘In the middle of February 2022, I attended the Dragon Rally on my Honda monkey bike. It was my first Dragon and I was totally unprepared for the atrocious weather. By 7pm on Saturday night, I was soaked to the skin and on Sunday had a cold, wet and miserable ride home from Llyn Gwynant to Manchester. 

I was determined to be better prepared for 2023 and had a pull-along trailer designed and built by Billy Mack, the Fred Dibnah of small bikes. The additional storage this afforded allowed me to safely carry an abundance of wet gear. Plus, Roadskin and Gerbing, hearing of my drenching during the 2022 Dragon, sent me a pair of Gerbing XRL Xtreme Heated gloves and a pair of Roadskin kevlar jeans to help me out.

As is normally the case when you plan for the worst, it doesn’t happen. The weather was phenomenal. But the unseasonably warm weather didn’t lessen the event. The myriad bikes and characters made it an unforgettable experience. Every year, the campsite is different; the destination is a secret until the day of the event. The location this year, Anglesey Showground, had the facilities that the 2022 site lacked, namely shelter, in the form of a large hangar-type building. Beer and food were served in the building while bands played on stage.

How did your Honda monkey bike get on at the Dragon?

The Honda Monkey is a versatile and very customisable bike. It was perfect for the Dragon Rally, going down a storm with the bespoke trailer and winning a trophy for ‘Special Bike.’

What was your highlight?

After an eventful night moshing (where hairy bikers playfully throw each other to the ground or push and bump into each other), I retired to my tent, only to be woken at 1:30 in the early hours of Sunday by eight or so fellow Dragons plus a piper playing Men of Harlech on the bagpipes, urging me to sing the words to a ditty I had written specially for the Dragon, Men of Conwy.

Picture above by Steve Salmon Photography

How did you get on with the Roadskin bike jeans?

I wore Roadskin jeans to the Dragon Rally and they are the only motorbike jeans I have worn since. I had heard from a fellow YouTuber and monkey bike fan Helmet Head that the Taranis jeans were comfortable, but they were so comfortable that I forgot to take them off with the rest of my biking gear, only realising that I was still wearing kevlar jeans when I was getting undressed for bed. They have been a revelation. I’ve been wearing them through winter with a pair of long johns on underneath, and they’ll be the jeans I grab as we move into spring.

And how about the Gerbing heated bike gloves?

In the past, I have always worn short gloves as I’ve found it difficult to find long gloves that don’t make my thumbs go numb (I have a habit of gripping the handlebars too tightly). However, the Gerbing gloves, the XRLs, have been comfortable in this respect, and warm even without the heat turned on. I tested them in the run-up to the Dragon. The heat was more than adequate, and the push-button controls were easy to use. One feature that blew me away was the built-in windscreen wiper on the left-hand glove. The toggles to pull in the gloves against the wind were also a winner.

What motorbike clothing would you recommend packing for the Dragon?

I’d say Roadskin armoured jeans along with waterproof over trousers if it rains. This would be comfortable and keep you dry. If the weather is looking particularly bad, I would pack all-in-one waterproofs. As for gloves, in 2022 I rode home with freezing cold wet hands; I would have loved to have had the Gerbing heated gloves back then.

Will you return to the Dragon Rally?

So, I already went back to the Dragon Rally in 2023 following a drenching in 2022. Would I go again? In a heartbeat. I can’t imagine not doing the Dragon Rally every year. I’m hooked. The other Dragons [fellow attendees] are what make the event so special. They become like family. I would whole-heartedly recommend it to others. Come along - you will have a ball! VIVA THE DRAGON RALLY!

Dean’s Dragon Rally kit list included:

Roadskin Taranis jeans Taranis AAA-rated single layer motorcycle jeans for men – Roadskin® as comfortable as pyjamas!

Gerbing heated gloves: Gerbing XRL Xtreme Heated Motorcycle Gloves – Gerbing Heated Motorcycle Clothing heat at the touch of a button

Our top picks for wannabe Dragons:

Waterproof over trousers to keep you dry during the downpours: Motorcycle Waterproof Over Trousers - Roadskin® Rainskins

The top-of-the-range Gerbing Premium Heated Jacket Liner - Free Shipping UK – Gerbing Heated Motorcycle Clothing powered by a Gerbing 9Ah Battery Kit – Gerbing Heated Motorcycle Clothing


Follow Dean’s Monkey Dix Adventures on YouTube and find Facebook's friendly, worldwide monkey bike community here: The Monkey Revolution.

Men of Conwy, a song for the Dragon Rally

In a field in middle of February

Dragon Men arrive from Conwy

Pitching tents whilst rain goes sideways

Dragon Men are brave.


See their bikes and see their passion

Two-wheeled, three-wheeled, every fashion

Luggage strapped, surprised it stayed on

Dragon Men are brave.


As the wind is blowing

Dragon Men are growing

Other chaps have got their goody bags

They’ve turned around and left

They’re bloody going.

What’s the point in collecting badges

If you don’t stay to face the hardships.

Might as well have gone to Pontins

Dragon Men are brave.


Late at night with bagpipes playing

No surprises it’s still raining

Marines should use it as their training

Dragon Men are brave.


As the wind is blowing

Dragon Men are growing.

Other chaps have got their goody bags

They’ve turned around and left

They’re bloody going.

What’s the point in collecting badges

If you don’t stay to face the hardships

Might as well have gone to Pontins

Dragon Men are brave.


Share a beer and share a story

Sixty years of Dragon glory

Some we’ve lost but we know surely

Dragon Men are brave.


Raring to go to the 2024 Dragon Rally? All the information will be at the Conwy Motorcycle Club website from 1 October 2023.

More stories

A Q&A with Zoe Caines aka Classic Bike Girl

Classic Bike Girl lives on top of a mountain in Wales, between Swansea and Caernarfon. Known to her family and friends as Zoe Caines, she is training to be a doctor, bakes award-winning cakes, and documents her biker life on Instagram. We caught up with Zoe on the winding roads of west Wales to chat about her lifelong love affair with motorbikes.  

Five of the best motorbike road trips in England

England ticks all the boxes for magnificent motorcycling, and it can be as quiet or as sociable as you like. If you crave splendid isolation, you can find it; but equally, there's also a lively and friendly biker community to get stuck into.