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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Adventure Easter holidays


Made the most of the easter break and a slight break in the weather to head up the road from Glasgow to see my girls who were on holiday at their grans the other side of Perth.

Planned the route on Strava and off I headed taking the touring bike with a load and choosing some hills so that it was also a sort of training session.

heavy does a tour-3halfway up the Crow road – first time I have stopped and taken pics

heavy does a tour-2

Crow road nice surface – good for 75kmph on a good day

Headed over the crow and the route goes NE and the wind was from the NE so wind in the face all day.

Up to Stirling and then up a really steep wee route up the back of the Wallace monument up Sherrifmuir road past the pub that looked so inviting.

heavy does a tour-6

Onwards into the wind and then greeloaning Gleneagles passed the golfers cursing the wind then past Dunning where i stopped to greet the witch ..

heavy does a tour-12heavy does a tour-13

Got a few niggles with the bike – one is brakes that don’t wrap around the fender enough … and a heavy bar bag that means hands off cycling is hard … but on the plus side shelters the hands from the wind and keeps them warmer.

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Screenshot 2016-04-15 11.10.30Sugar then a night at Grannies with the girls.

heavy does a tour-16

and the weather improved for a different route home.

heavy does a tour-27

One road discovered where i was joined by two very pleasant ladies in their 20’s who were practicing for the eTape as well. This road has great ascent and then smooth downhill … try it if you going anywhere near Perth … HERE

heavy does a tour-38

Down to Falkirk and then an easy ride down the canals home – thinking of cake sped me on and I had some easy PR’s on the canal although I think the other time was a 29er into the wind and this time it was behind me.

Screenshot 2016-04-15 12.46.17

mercian to perth-1

250km over 2 days but the highlight was what I saw – heron, buzzards, lots of future mint sauce baby lambs and that witch monument. the highlight seeing my girls who had made bunting and sewn me a special medal …

2016-04-14 08.08.07

 

 

Dream Bike: Velo cult Ahearne Dirt Tourer


Velocult Ahearne
Velocult Ahearne

From RADAVIST

I can’t help it. I love touring bikes with big, fat, high volume tires and funky stances. This project in particular was born from the mind and abilities of three important individuals, residing in the Portland area under the Velo Cult Customs umbrella.

This Ahearne Dirt Tourer is a collaboration between three people: Sky from Velo Cult, Chris Igleheart and Ahearne. We’ll start with the most obvious hand: Chris Igleheart‘s segmented fork, which is complimented by the Ahearne rack and frameset. These bikes are 100% custom, can be built with 26″ or 27.5″ wheels, have an optional upgrade of Honjo 90mm Fenders and are rugged enough for even the toughest dirt touring and bikepacking expeditions. One of my favorite details are the braze-ons hidden below the top tube for a strapless bag install.

This is the first in a series of Velo Cult Customs, the line will grow to include road, randonneur, cross and a gravel racer in the coming months.

Contact Velo Cult for pricing and availability.

Velo-Cult-Ahearne-and-Igleheart-Dirt-Tourer-10-1335x890

Dream Bike: Purple Elephant


found on radavist …

Golden Saddle Rides: Purple Pachyderm Elephant Tourer

As a bike shop owner, you see a lot of interesting customer projects roll through the doors. For Kyle, Woody, David and Ty at Golden Saddle Cyclery, it’s this steady influx of unique projects that keeps them engaged in the day to day shop routines. Once and a while, however, something rolls through that catches your eye.

How could you miss it? A purple pachyderm. An Elephant in the room…

The customer acquired this bike in a deal from its original owner, who rode it for a few years. It has a bit of beausage after extensive use. Once he acquired the frame, he began buying components piece by piece. Personally, I like the seemingly random parts including: made in the UK Middleburn cranks, a raw Haulin’ Colin rack, SON Edelux, Berthoud saddle, White Industries rear hub and Nitto cockpit.

If you’re thinking this frame looks familiar, John from Elephant used this platform as a beginning for the National Forest Explorer. They’re strikingly similar, save for the use of cantilevers on this bike, versus disc brakes and that color.

Dream Bike: 650b tour custom MAP project


Not much to say other than wow …

Screenshot 2015-06-26 15.45.21

THE S&P RANDONNEUR PROJECT BIKE:

A joint effort between Brent Steelman and Mitch Pryor, the S&P Randonneur Project is a fully-featured, light-weight, event-ready randonneuse that is equally at home on remote gravel roads or your local chip-seal. Built by a factory of two between Redwood City and Chico, California with the finest raw materials available today. Available in 7 stock sizes.

Low-trail front end geometry and custom-fitted racks, optimized for front loading and intuitive handling provide a solid foundation. Provisions for generator wire routing, and ideal clearances for 650B x 42mm tires and fenders ensure supreme comfort over mixed terrain. Optional detachable low-rider racks for light touring. Extreme versatility in a bicycle that sacrifices literally nothing.

Standard features include: 

  • Proven randonneuring geometry optimized for front loading, intuitive handling, and long-distance performance without sacrificing comfort.
  • Brazed 1″ threaded fork utilizing Kaisei Imperial fork blades and Grand Bois fork crown, with low-rider bosses and generator wire path.
  • Headtube tube ring reinforcements for frame longevity.
  • Path in frame for wired tail light.
  • Internal top tube cable routing.
  • Braze-ons for Compass centerpull brakes.
  • Brazed on chain stay slap guard protector.
  • 27.2mm seatpost with brazed on stainless steel collar.
  • 130mm rear end spacing.
  • Optional braze-on for seat tube mounted tail light and frame pump.
  • Top quality wet paint finish in a wide array of colors.

Other People’s Lovely Bike: Surly from NewBikeDay


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Krus

Frame: Surly LHT 58″

Wheels: 700c H Plus Son TB14’s. Schmidt Son 28 front hub. Phill Wood rear hub. 32 DT Swiss spokes. Built by Shifter Bikes

Tyres: Schwalbe Kojak 35

Fenders: Gilles Berthoud 50 (Long) plus Mud flap

Crankset: Shimano XT M770 triple 9speed (170mm 44/32/22)

Front Derailleur: Shimano XT M771 (Duel pull, multi fit)

Rear Derailleur: Shimano XT M772 (Long cage)

Cassette: Shimano XT M770 (11-34T)

Chain: Sram PC991 cross step

Shifters: Shimano Dura Ace 7700 bar end levers

Brake Levers: Sram S500

Brake Calipers: Paul Touring Canti rear. Neo-retro Front

Handlebars: Salsa Cowbell 3 (44cm)

Bar Tape: Fizik MicroTex with Gel Pads

Stem: Thomson Elite X4 (0°/100mm)

Headset: Chris King 1 1/8

Front Cable Stop: Paul Funky Monkey

Saddle: Gilles Berthoud Aravis (Cork)

Seat Post: Thomson Elite Setback

Seat Post Collar: Salsa Lip-lock

Front Rack: Tubus Nova

Rear Rack: Tubus Cosmo

Bottle Cages: King Cage ss

Bidons: Camelbak Podium Chill

Pedals: Time Roc ATAC 4

Working at home – thinking of the bike


Finishing an edit before I disappear to South Africa with my daughters for easter – work to finish so not had time to get out on the bike – but gads this is a cruel reminder ….

Screen Shot 2014-04-01 at 10.13.36