5 great scottish bike routes


courtesy of Evans

Scotland is famed for its fantastic scenery, islands, hills, mountains and get-away-from it all feel. There are also plenty of roads that offer great routes for quiet cycling. Why not pick one of our favourite cycle routes in Scotland and head off for a day or two of fabulous touring?

Lochs & Glens North

Start: SECC, Glasgow
Finish: Ness Bridge, Inverness
Distance: 214 miles

This route follows the NCN (National Cycle Network) Route 7. It is a mix of roads and traffic-free paths. The ride takes you through both of Scotland’s acclaimed national parks, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs and the Cairngorms, with a huge variety of beautiful countryside and wildlife.

You’ll also pass six lochs, multiple castles and cycle over the famous Glen Ogle viaduct. The route has its fair share of long climbs but equally, there are some great descents.

With more than 200 miles to cover you can split the journey into day-long sections or decide just to ride some of the routes in a day and return to the start by public transport. Be sure to book ahead if you want to reserve a bike space on a train. SeeSustrans

 

Lochs Glens Sunfall Lock Lomond

 

Five Ferries Bike Ride

Start/Finish: CalMac ferry terminal at Ardrossan, Ayrshire.
Distance: 71 miles

A legendary bike ride is this island-hopping route on Scotland’s west coast.

The route, as the name suggests, includes five short ferry crossings and 4 cycle sections across the mainland of Scotland.

Many people ride the route in one day, which is possible if you time the ferries and your cycling carefully. Alternatively, you can take your time and overnight on the islands.

A CalMac ferry takes you from the mainland at Ardrossan to Brodick on the Isle of Arran, where you cycle 15 miles to Lochranza. The next ferry heads to Claonaig on the Kintyre Peninsula.

From Claonaig to Tarbet is 10.5 miles before a ferry to Portavadie on the Cowal Peninsula. The ride to Colintraive is 19 miles and includes a long hill climb with fabulous views over the Kyles of Bute.

Another ferry journeys to Rhubodach on the Isle of Bute and then you ride 8 miles to Rothesay. The last ferry of this trip heads to Wemyss Bay and then a bike ride of 18.5 miles back to Ardrossan. Alternatively, you could take the train from Wemyss to Ardrossan.

More details of the route at Five Ferries Cycle

Five Ferries Cycle Arran

 

Scottish Coast to Coast

Start: Annan, Dumfries & Galloway
Finish: The Forth Bridge, near Edinburgh
Distance: 125 miles

The Scottish C2C was created by the same founders as the popular English C2C this is a new waymarked long-distance route for Scotland.

It takes cyclists through the beautiful rolling countryside of southern Scotland, starting in the small town of Annan on the coast in Dumfries and Galloway and heading north through three valleys, the Annan, Tweed and Esk.

The route then reaches the Scottish capital city of Edinburgh and on to the Forth Bridge, which is one of the great wonders of the engineering world.

You could easily start the route in Edinburgh and head south to the coast of Dumfries and Galloway. See the route guide book, The Ultimate Scottish C2C Guide, priced £11.50 from Bike Ride Maps.

 

Ring of Breadalbane Road Cycle

Start/Finish: Crieff, Perth & Kinross
Distance: 100 miles (160km)

The Breadalbane “High Ground” area of Perthshire boasts breath-taking scenery and lots of lovely quiet roads. The full 100-mile route is a big undertaking in a single day although some riders will be up for the challenge.
For easier days in the saddle, split the route into a few sections over two of three days.

In the summer, an Explorer Bus allows cyclists to access different start and finish points, such as Crieff, Comrie, Killin and Aberfeldy.

See Breadalbane Road Cycling

Breadalbane Cycle Route

 

North Coast 500

Start/Finish: Inverness
Distance: 516 miles

Scotland’s answer to America’s Route 66, the NC500 travels just over 500 miles in the stunning north-west of Scotland. First created for drivers, the route has become a popular goal for cyclists.
Most cyclists take a week to ride it, although others will be keen to cover it in less time.

The circular route can be completed clockwise or anti-clockwise and meanders through the counties of Caithness, Sutherland and Ross-shire. Be prepared for long hill climbs and fabulous landscapes.

See NC500

NC500 Route View

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Dream Bike: Ti Carbon Bastion Beastie


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The technology is there and a few builders are utilizing it for sure, but you don’t often see a 3D printed frame with elegance like Bastion Cycles‘ titanium and carbon road bike.

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This thing is a beauty and for me, was a pleasure to photograph. I love the contrast of materials, the 3d-printed NAHBS insignia on the driveside dropout and the mean fuckin’ stance of this road bike.

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VÉLOSOPHY: Swedish Bike Brand that gives back


Clean minimal bikes in an array of bright colors, where each purchase means a new bike for a young school girl in Ghana? Sign us up.

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This is the mission behind Vélosophy bikes, the latest brand to hit the bicycle market. For them, the bikes are striking yet simple, stylish and functional. With clean, aluminum frames accented by bold colors, the bikes are meant to lift your spirits, much like a bouquet of tulips.

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With a modern frame, the Vélosophy bikes still have a touch of days gone by, with their updated take on a luggage carrier. The bike comes in two different editions — the Comfort Edition and the Sport Edition. As its name suggests, the Comfort Edition is a little more comfortable, with a wider saddle and more upright seat. The Sport Edition has a forward leaning seat, light chain guard, and narrower saddle.

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Lastly, they are the only bicycle brand to have a One for One promise in collaboration with UNICEF. With every bike that is purchased, Vélosophy will create and donate a bike to Ghanaian school girls.

Fred Whitton Training Ride


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Now the Fred Whitton Challenge is CRAZY ….

110 miles with over 3200m of climbing …. The Fred Whitton Challenge is a gruelling 112 mile sportive challenge ride for charity around the Lake District, run in memory of Fred Whitton. From 2014 it starts & finishes in Grasmere, and the route includes the climbs of Kirkstone, Honister, Newlands, Whinlatter, Hardknott & Wrynose passes. MORE HERE

So someone from the meetup group is doing the ride and wanted to do a ride where she could practise some hills ….. so Sunday morning is cold and sunny and COLD …. did I mention cold.

We head off and temp on the Garmin already says -3.4C ouch – my face is feeling battered from the cold. The plan is to do the tak-ma-doon and Crow road loop

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but as we get to the Tak we encounter the climb and a lot of Black Ice on the road. Downhill could be deadly … so we climb to the top grab a breather then decide to descend to the golf course where the black ice patches thin out … and ascend again. At the top of the tak we could look down for miles at the clearing mist and freezing fog.

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then on for a slow descent to the north side a river ford where one person took a tumble on ice at the edge, stood up and fell over again …

Down the long bumpy carron valley road to the Crow – again a puncture halted proceedings ….

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i got to admire the road (still bumpy)

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and also find the puncture that Andy couldn’t and look at my nice clean tights … IMG_8872.JPG

Bike filthy man filthy ….

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then the weather is so cold that the Edge 510 dies closer to home …. legs tired ….good spring ride.

 

Friday Bike Poster: Pirelli Tyres


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Pirelli

The history of Pirelli coincides with the history of the tyre industry. Founded in Milan in 1872, Pirelli & C – the original name of the company founded by Giovanni Battista Pirelli, a 24-year-old engineer – was initially a factory producing rubber articles. But the process of product diversification began immediately, introducing those elements of innovation and quality that still characterise the company today.

So Pirelli started to produce insulated wire for telegraphy, submarine telegraph cables and, eventually, the first bicycle tyre. The first car tyre, the “Ercole” was made in 1901.