Scotland is perfect for cycle touring - with miles of the national cycling routes to explore.
Cycling is great on quiet country roads, especially in the gentle landscape of the south and east of the country, where you can enjoy riding along the gentle gradients of the rolling hills and stop off at some of the many pubs, cafes or B&Bs. If you do go cycling in Scotland, make sure that you have the correct lights for travelling in the dark and are aware of cycling regulations in the UK.
Increasingly, Scotland's towns and cities have introduced dedicated cycle routes and paths, making it easier to cycle in urban areas.
Mountain biking is popular in the forests in the Highlands, central and southern Scotland. Riders should always keep to tracks where a right to cycle exists, and pass walkers at considerate speeds.
The Forestry Commission has a growing network of excellent off-road waymarked and graded routes all over the country. The routes are best attempted on mountain bikes with multi-gears, although many of the gentler routes may be tackled on hybrid and standard road cycles.
Bike hire is available at shops in most large towns and in many tourist centres, although the range of models there may be limited. Many outlets give good discounts for multi-day rentals.
Travelling with your bike
Transporting your bike by train is a good alternative way of getting to the start of your route if you choose not to cycle there.
Most train operators allow bicycles on trains for free, subject to availability, while some also offer a reservation option to ensure a space. At peak times there can be a lot of competition for places, and it is rare for large groups of cyclists to all find provision for their bikes.
Folding bicycles are carried free of charge and without restriction on all services, subject only to the additional requirements. Check the operator facilities and latest recommendations from National Rail before you plan to tour Scotland by bike.
Bus and coach companies, including National Express and Scottish Citylink, can accept cycles at their own discretion, but rarely do unless they are folding or dismantled and boxed. Please check when booking your travel if this provision is available.
In some regions there are local buses which have bike racks during the high season. To find information on buses which offer this service, visit the local council website for the area you are planning to visit.
VisitScotland operate a Cyclists Welcome accommodation scheme which gives guesthouses and B&Bs around the country a chance to advertise that they're cyclist-friendly, and able to provide such things as an overnight laundry service, a late meal or a packed lunch. Look out for the Cyclists Welcome badge when you're planning your overnight stay.
Find out more about cycling and cycle routes.