If you enjoy watching sports on two wheels you’ll find that Scotland offers some of the most thrilling mountain biking and cycling events around. Boasting rough downhill tracks that only the bravest of riders would tackle and long, sweeping roads, our landscapes provide some of the most incredible natural arenas for pedal-powered competitions.
Getting the cycling season into full swing is TweedLove, a two-week festival of cycling in the Scottish Borders, which usually runs between the end of May and early June. Organised by bike riders, there’s a packed programme of events during this family-friendly festival; from downhill races through the trails of Glentress Forest to road cycles through the picturesque countryside around the River Tweed. Watch visual spectacles of mass ride outs in Peebles, Innerleithen and Selkirk, get involved yourself, or take advantage of the busy social events calendar. In 2014, the first UK round of the Enduro World Series will also be part of the TweedLove programme.
One of the highlights of the MTB calendar has to be the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup, which has been held every year in Fort William in the Highlands for over a decade. Top mountain bike riders from across the globe compete here at the Nevis Range, taking on the treacherous downhill course which runs a length of almost 3 km with a descent of 555 m. The event usually takes place over a weekend in early June and Fort William, known as the Outdoor Capital of the UK, becomes a hive of activity with around 20,000 spectators flocking to see the pros in action.
Take a look at the course yourself - see the track from rider Greg Minnaar's perspective in this video:
If you’ve enjoyed watching Danny MacAskill's stunts on YouTube – the professional trials rider from the Isle of Skye whose videos have been watched by millions worldwide – then you might want to check out trials riding first hand in Scotland. This highly-skilled sport requires balance and control to negotiate difficult, often rocky and slippery, terrains. Competitions have been held in a range of stunning locations, from the Falls of Dochart at Killin, Perthshire, to Kirkliston near Edinburgh. Watching a rider balance on a boulder is a truly impressive sight; why not find out more about upcoming fixtures?
Get a flavour for trials in Scotland and watch Danny in action.
For road race fans, you can often take in some of the most spectacular stages of the Tour of Britain, the UK’s premier road race event, in Scotland. Since its relaunch in 2004, a Scottish stage has been featured most years as part of this annual race and usually takes place in September. The routes have weaved through the roads of Scotland’s southern regions, Dumfries & Galloway and the Scottish Borders, and on one occasion, the Tour of Britain started in Glasgow. In May, you can also watch the Scottish Road Race Championships, which take place in a different region around the country each year.
If Olympic champion Sir Chris Hoy’s incredible victories have got you interested in track cycling, why not find an event at one of Scotland’s newest sports centres, Glasgow’s Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome? In July 2014, the venue was filled with thousands of fans who watched competitive events during the XX Commonwealth Games. The new home of Scottish Cycling also hosts competitive events at other points in the year, so be sure to check out upcoming track events and watch cyclists achieve unbelievable speeds around the velodrome.