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When it comes to cycling, Scottish-born Sherlock Holmes creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had the right idea: “When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking.” With that in mind, discover our guide to Scotland’s most spectacular cycling spots.
Everything about the Scottish Borders makes it a magnet for bike lovers. Between the hilly terrain, bucolic scenery and top notch signage, there’s just something about it that instils an urge to get on a bike and investigate. Although each route is as magical as the next, it helps to narrow down your path depending on interests. Those set on soaking up history should try the 4 Abbeys or the Coast and Castles routes. For a strong cycle, perhaps try one of the Borderloop options. Real cycle enthusiasts should glide on into the outstanding Tweedlove, the UK’s largest cycle festival.
The Speyside Way is a chance to mix fitness with pleasure. Hop on this famous route from Craigellachie to Ballindalloch and soak up the sights, which include some of Scotland’s renowned whisky distilleries. Those that feel inclined to celebrate a pit stop with a dram in hand can do so! Bear in mind that not all parts are cycle friendly, however the route between Aviemore and Boat of Garten actually covers a portion of the renowned Sustrans millennium cycle way. Flat and free from traffic, this is the way to go!
A most joyous jolly, the Forth and Clyde Canal comes complete with a 35-mile towpath designed to accommodate cyclists. Hop on the trail from Bowling to Edinburgh to catch that desirable Sustrans Route 754. Recommended for those who like to shake things up, try heading from Glasgow to the must-visit Falkirk Wheel and enjoy the selection of urban and country sights. If starting from Glasgow, bike hire is available at Next Bike.
If mountain biking is your mantra and exploring is your aim then Glentress Forest is your calling. Made for mountain biking, this mystical tree-lined land basks deep in the Tweed Valley and boasts multiple graded trails. Those enamoured with this jewel can raise the bar and check out the Red Bull cross country and down-hill trails at the iconic Innerleithen.
This route should not be surpassed, especially if you’re around Aviemore. Take your pick from paths in and around the Rothimurchas Forest and embrace the beauty that surrounds. Perhaps the most popular route is the Loch An Eilein trail, with its welcomed flat surfaces and sympathetic tame hills. Loch An Eilein herself is an absolute gem and has one of the most breathtaking lochs in Scotland — take note of the ruined 15th century castle in the middle. Wildlife lovers can revel in some epic nature and bird spotting.