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

Wednesday night Riding


As I am working full time on this TV show it means daytime weekday rides aren’t happening so I have gotten into the habit of Wednesday Night Rides, Thursday and Friday a.m. swims and thursday pm 5-a-side footie. Then as much as i can cram into the other days of the weekend or nights.

So tonight out on the canal to Dumbarton and took a detour up the Kilpatrick hills

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there are some seriously steep hills – this one makes me use the bottom of my 1×11 SRAM gears – that 50chainring to 36tooth large cassette ….

i am not sure the mapping on Strava is accurate – it feels like a steady 18-20% hill – that false flat before the very steep isn’t there – it is just all steep.

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Went over the back to the reservoir – its over flint forestry road then suddenly the rear tyre felt softer. Sidewall had a slight tear and sealant was oozing out. Luckily with a shake it sealed again and I put some more air into the tyre.

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And then retraced my route. Pretty impressed with this bike and abilities so far. Sonder Camino ti gravel bike ….

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Running Dynamo hub driving USE Exposure Revo light – trying to link up battery recharge with the port out but not sure it works – more experimentation required.

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and the view looking down from the top of the wee hill is very pretty too

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5 Ferries Spring


This weekend seem to go past quite quickly. Saturday morning I was up early to get the first train from Glasgow down to the ferry at Ardrossan.

 Getting tickets i was advised that I MAY NOT get on the ferry it was that full.  I hurried to join the queue going onto the ferry and I was greeted by possibly 60 to 70 other cyclists also enjoying the good weather we’ve been having and planning either a circuit of Arran or a loop of some sort.

As I strap my bike to the side of the hold I have a tap on the shoulder to turn round to see my friend stuart who is dragging some friends around on the charity ride –  he was also doing the five ferry challenge.


I did this ride last September at that time I was on my steel Mercian touring bike this time I had my Ti bride with me Lynskey Cooper – today was going to be quicker

First off I wasn’t sure if it would make the 2nd ferry which leaves from the Lochranza and goes across to the Argyll peninsula 11:50am so I bomb off head down I arrived with time to kill as ferry is only 12:05. Had a chance to see a campervan a large Winnebago type trying to exit the ferry and scraping half of the tail off on the ramp.

Stuart and the rest of his colleagues had caught up at this time so we all joined the 2nd ferry together. On the other side I noticed that one of his colleagues had his saddle about 3 inches too low – hideous leg angle and I was worried about the knee pain that he was sure to have a week later so I just had to adjust his saddle for him. We then proceeded to catch up the rest who were a stint up the road.

The weather was pretty incredible (for Scotland at least) 9-15C –  it seemed to be a type S europe enjoy for most of the year but for us it was rare I stayed with the group for all of the ferries and all the chat. Fore some uphills and sections I would occasionally shoot off ahead just to burn off some steam or to stay warm.

Sad it is over 

 By the time I got back to Glasgow it was evening but what a great day out on the bike.

my 3rd etape Caledonia


I feel like i have done this event now – my first year was 2014 and the weather was fine and last year was in the pouring rain and howling wind and yet I was finished in nearly the same time.

This year I trained more and went on more rides and with good weather forecast I was hoping to smash my time.

But it my girlfriends mums 60th and a big house was rented and fine food booze and food was consumed. To top this off I left late in the morning to drive up and was stuck in traffic going to event parking when i should have been at the start line getting ready to head off.

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the course is a good one with 130km of riding around a pretty loch and then a wee ascent (about 1200m in all over the course)

6:30am and the elite and VIP’s head off. I should have started in Wave A with the faster boys but by the time I made the start wave C was heading off so for the first 20mile I was completely solo hoping to find a small group that was going faster and I could work with.

NO SUCH LUCK

Until a man caught up – he had punctured at mile 2 and had lost everyone so we worked together for a good hour. At one stage 4/5 people were tagged on behind but only we two were taking turns at the front so he drifted back and I heard him yell ‘I don’t mind you guys taking the wheel but take a f***** turn a the front’ 

That caused all but one to drop off and that person definitely took his turn from then on in.

Just before the climb I recognised my friend Carla who had started on time (8min in front of me) and we said hello and then the climb up Schiehallion started. I took this easy as I had been working pretty hard up to this point (in fact my slowest ascent of the 3 times)

The downhill was as lovely as ever …. and then into the back of a big group around Fortingall on the narrow singletrack road. The wind was unseasonal and Easterly so the last leg was into the wind but i was quite sheltered in a large group of 30 – never really making it up through the bunch to make a turn at the front.

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The thing about groups like this is that my speed is so much higher than normal with the massive slipstream benefit and after all my solo rides this year the time (miles) passed quickly.

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Average speed 33.6kmh (imperial says nearly 21mph) average.

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so my best time but not the sub 3h50/3h45 i was hoping for.

At the end a medal and a text with my finish time according to the tag on the bike ….FcertA4.tmpl-347-YRNJ

Etape Royale next – 100miles ….

 

Veloviewer gets better and better (if you use Strava)


VeloViewer has always been able to show you comprehensive views of your past rides and runs but plenty of people had asked to see similar views of routes they are planning to do. Fortunately Strava have just opened up their Routing API so now Veloviewer can display all the routes you have created and allow you to see their full details including the interactive 3D profiles.

Head there NOW …

Here is one example ….

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really helps visualize routes and see potential problems (gradients)

My first time …… at Parkrun


Parkrun (styled as parkrun) is the name given to a collection of five-kilometre running events that take place every Saturday morning in several countries. All are free to take part in and require runners to register online in advance for a unique athlete number and to print their own identification barcode for use when taking part.

I had registered years back but have never got around to taking part in one. Yesterday I changed that – I printed out my barcode Friday night chose one of the 3 in glasgow to take part in and off I went. I cycled down and locked the bike up – the run was due to start 9:30am and with 40min to kill I decided to run the course before the event slowly. A bit of stretching and warming up. Listened to the briefing and applauded a man on his 50th run. Then boom off we went. Victoria park in glasgow has the Parkrun go 3x round the lake so on the 2nd lap we started hitting back markers. Still pretty doable and my pace was pretty high (competition you see)

Came in and stopped the Garmin 19min59sec and 4.8something km.

I queried distance with runner next to me – his Garmin had 5.05km so it must be fine – I hadn’t cut corners into the lake that was for sure.


First lap quickest then got my breath back regretting start then upped it on final lap …..

Runners’ results in each event are processed and uploaded online after the run by volunteers. Each registered runner has an individual page cataloguing the details of each event in which they have participated.

So checked my time later 20min 00sec

Pretty happy with that so will try make next week for no2 before I try other courses.