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

Monday bike Style: Rie Coffee Racer


Hunter-Cycles-Char-Ries-Cafe-Touring-Bike1200x800

Rie’s “Super Coffee Bike Tourer” came to be when she decided to tour Europe, after her friend Mortimer from Keirin Berlin urged her to do so. Rie decided she wanted to attend various bike events, make new friends and pour coffee from her bike, something she had been doing since 2010 at her job while working for Circles and Sim Works in Nagoya from a singlespeed city bike. This trip however, would require something more capable, so she contacted Hunter Cycles and began to plan for her trip. RADAVIST.com

La weekend


Friday decided not to work and packed the pouring bike for a ride – a jolly ramble with camera, lunch, spare clothes etc.

Screenshot 2016-03-21 09.32.53

not the nicest day – and weather was close cold and misty BUT I was on the bike and had a good ride. Does pass up from aberfoyle and at the other side decided not to carry on to Callandar and instead returned along my route ….

2016-03-18 11.59.26

One of my longer rides as i rarely go more that 100km and also on the bike which i weighed on my return at 25kg … ouch. Will need to take this into account when planning my touring. Epsom salt bath on my return.

Sunday – my friend Jim called to suggest an early ride Sunday am. He has limited time now after his wife passed away 6months ago and with the two girls watching Sun morning telly he had a gap of 2 hours … so my him at his place 8:30am on what can only be described as a peach of a day. Over the Crow north I thought my fork had too much play – think the shop didn’t quite tighten it enough … so quick change and back to the top heading South

2016-03-20 09.54.26

my legs felt good so gave it some welly both sides of the crow but still 2 min down on my best times …. 2016-03-20 09.58.39

Jim was just happy at being out. Coming down the other side we are pelting along 50kmh+ when i hear jim shout ‘SHEEEEEEEPPPPP’ … brake hard … these most intelligent animals wait until you are 20ft away before dashing across the road. Past the corner speeding up and I see yet more Wooly Jumpers on suicide missions (actually more kamikaze as we would be killed) so descent is much more sedate than normal.

Screenshot 2016-03-21 09.47.50

 

Screenshot 2016-03-21 09.32.24

The perfect front Rando Bag


But sadly pre sale already sold out … from their blog

What is a Demi-Porteur bag?

Ever since moving to a bike optimized for a front load I started to push the envelope of how much went in the upper bag vs. panniers.  The goal being that the upper bag would accommodate 90% of my daily bike trasportational needs, and the panniers only come out for groceries, camping trips, etc.  I keep a regular rotation of tools and clothing layers with me all the time.  Add to that things that vary per ride like camera gear, meals, coffee gear, post office runs, etc.  I needed maximum volume and flexibility.  Starting with the basic form of a traditional randonneuring bag, I pushed some of the dimensions and features without going so far that it became a full porteur bag.

While pushing the boundaries of size and volume I also wanted to shave some weight.  The first place I made the weight cut was with material.  The design is able to use all of the strong points of the Dimension Polyant XPac, and avoid most of the features that are considered the material’s downside.  XPac is a three layer laminate, pack cloth on the outer faces, with a mylar center and a cross weave of polyester fiber on the bias for added load capacity and tear resistance.  XPac does not like to be forced into compound curves or situation with high abrasion.  The boxy shape takes care of the first.  Abrasion is generally minor on the bag as it is surrounded by the bars and rack.  The material is highly water proof and light for the amount of strength.

The bags being made by Swift Industries came the closest to what I was going for.  I reached out to Martina during last year’s trip to Seattle.  We hit it off well, and after a bit of back and forth communication, modifications of the overall dimensions and nailing dow the details, the first production sample hit my door.  Honestly, it was everything I had envisioned.  If the full Docena project never made it off of the ground I would still be using this as my primary bag for years to come.  Soak in the picture set, and then I will hit you with the details:

 

5.28 Docena WP-15.28 Docena WP-25.28 Docena WP-45.28 Docena WP-35.28 Docena WP-55.28 Docena WP-65.28 Docena WP-75.28 Docena WP-85.28 Docena WP-95.28 Docena WP-105.28 Docena WP-115.28 Docena WP-125.28 Docena WP-135.28 Docena WP-145.28 Docena WP-155.28 Docena WP-16By Rando Bag standards this is a huge bag.  It is both tall and wide.  Wide enough to fit 1 dozen eggs, and deep enough front to back to fit a second dozen as needed.  Overall dimensions of the main compartment are 28cm tall x 21cm deep x 30 cm wide.  There is 37cm of space between the inside faces of my break hoods, while I do not have any problems with finger rub, I would not use the bag if yours are any narrower.

The main compartment has a removable partition to keep your loads separate.  Tall bags can quickly become cluttered and challenging to get stuff off the bottom.  The everyday stuff like pumps, warmers and wind breakers stays on the bottom, things I want regular access too is on the top; snacks, camera gear etc.  This could easily split a change of work clothes on the bottom, lunch up top etc.  The partition can be removed much like an old hiking backpack to accommodate bigger items as needed.  There is also a roll closure front for getting to the bottom load without having to enter through the top.  .

Side pockets are standard rando bag style.

The front pocket is full width to fit all your odds and ends including full size road maps (AAA).  The width caries over into the top map pocket, again easily accommodating full size maps and or your electronic device.  Samsung Note 2 and meeting wallet shown for scale.  the vinyl material on the top will also allow for the use of the device touch screen.  The lid has two traditional inner flaps as well as top.  The elastic closures have been moved from the center to corners.  This allows for easier closure while riding.  I generally leave one corner open for quick camera access.

The rear facing part of the bag has two traditional small pockets.  In addition there is an external lock pocket.  No more opening and unloading the bag to find your lock at the bottom.

There are internal stiffeners on the three vertical sides.  The bottom stiffener pocket is external.  In general I have never felt the need for a stiffener there, but use it as a cutting board slot on longer trips.  There are also the four traditional straps Swift uses to secure their bags to a min rack.  I have only needed these for rougher roads.

The bag can be secured to most traditional rando racks with the back stop strap and a decaleur system.  Some type of upper support will be needed for a bag this size.  Working out all of the options in this arena will be a separate post.  My current system of an Ortlieb pannier hook and hacked Nitto lamp mount has been fantastic.  We are refining the design, but it is not yet ready for market.

I may have skipped a couple of details, and there will be some subtle refinements as we move into production.  That said the bag has exceeded all of my expectations, and is 98% perfect.  Delivery time, final cost and total number made are still being worked out over the next week or so.  Much of that will depend on initial interest.  Stay tuned for a presale announcement, Newsletter subscribers will get fist crack at any discounts .