Scotland is quite simply one of the finest places to mountain bike on the planet. Period.
With over 30 dedicated mountain biking centres spread across Scotland and miles-upon-miles of off-road National Cycling Network routes, historic cattle droving roads, tracks and trails, bikers of all abilities are truly spoilt for choice.
Alongside the amazing choice of routes to explore, Scotland also hosts some of the best and most popular mountain biking participation and spectator events in the UK. Here’s just a selection that you won’t want to miss this year and next:
1. Mountain Bike World Cup, Fort William
The UCI Mountain Bike World Cup is a multi-award winning event, that’s been hosted on the slopes of Aonach Mor at Nevis Range near Fort William since 2002. It’s highly regarded by the world-class riders who participate, the thousands of spectators who come along, and by the UCI themselves.
Expect an energetic and electric atmosphere as pro riders defy gravity and tackle the gnarly 2.82 km World Cup Downhill Track, regarded as one of the toughest on the circuit, in under 5 minutes!
There’s also a 4X ProTour competition, which sees four riders go head-to-head on a 200m long course of lumps, bumps, berms and jumps.
In between races, wander through the event village, where you’ll find delicious food and drink, clothing and shiny bike gear to buy. You can also see some of the downhill track action from the mountain gondola.
2. Transcend Festival, Innerleithen
7- 9 June
The Scottish Borders is an historic and romantic region. Set within it and only one hour by car south of Edinburgh, the beautiful Tweed Valley, with its renowned 7stanes centres of Glentress and Innerleithen, is arguably one of the best mountain biking destinations in the UK, if not Europe.
Combine these two into an festival and you have TweedLove – a programme of biking events running in the area from March to October.
The key summer event in the TweedLove calendar is the Transcend Bike Festival – the UK’s friendliest bikefest that’s all about riding bikes and ‘gid’ times. Choose from family-friendly, enduro and gravel rides and races – there’s even a new Bosch eBike/Trek challenge.
Alongside, there’s on site glamping and camping, some fabulous street food, delicious craft beer from the nearby Tempest Brewing Co, bling to buy in the event village, live entertainment and loads to keep the kids occupied.
3. Relentless 24, Fort William
We’re back at Nevis Range for this mammoth 24-hour mountain biking challenge. Relentless 24 is open to solos, pairs and quads looking to ride as many laps of the course within 24 hours. Remember to bring or book powerful lights as you’ll need them as you scoot through the world-class cross-country trails in Leanachan Forest.
4. Fair City Enduro, Perth
Muckmedden Events are back, adding their unique style to celebrating Hallowe’en and all things mountain biking. Taking place in and around the ‘fair city’ of Perth, participants are encouraged to join the Fair City Enduro in fancy dress, so you could find yourself riding alongside a penguin, a Power Ranger or even Evel Knievel! The course is ridden ‘blind’ and although it’s not the toughest enduro around, it’s Muckmedden’s most technical and includes gnarly forest trails and some awesome views.
5. 10 Under the Ben, Nevis Range
April 2020 (final dates TBC)
This long-established event is quite possibly Scotland’s best mountain bike endurance event. Running for 10 hours, competitors must complete as many laps as possible of the 10-mile cross-country course, which was once used by World Championship competitors. 10 Under the Ben takes place in the shadow of the UK’s highest mountain Ben Nevis, in Leanachan Forest and the lower slopes of Aonach Mor, near Fort William.
6. Macavalanche, Glencoe Mountain Resort
May 2020 (final dates TBC)
Macavalanche is a race that features big views, a big demanding descent and ultimately, big smiles. The race begins above the snowline, high up on the Munro of Meall à Bhuiridh. A mass-start sees up to 300 competitors set off together at speed through the snow and sod towards the finish line, many hundreds of metres below. The fastest time for the 2018 event was 21 minutes.
Scotland was made for mountain biking. Why not try some of Scotland’s outstanding mountain biking trails and trail centres, when you visit one of the above events?