Invented in 1839, by Dumfries-shire raised Kirkpatrick Macmillan, Scotland is the spiritual home of the bicycle which makes perfect sense given pedal-powered two wheels is undeniably the best way to explore this lovely country!
Don’t just take our word for it though. A round of the Mountain Bike World Cup has been coming to Fort William since 2002. And in 2023, Scotland will be the first ever nation to host all 13 Cycling World Championships at the same time – they usually happen at different times of the year and in different places. So clearly, there’s something special about cycling in Scotland.
There are wonderful routes to explore any day of the year and also a great selection of fantastic cycling events to join or for spectators. Here are just a few, you won’t want to miss.
*Please note that due to the current COVID-19 advice, any large events are subject to cancellation. If you are planning to visit in 2020, please check the event website for the latest information.*
1. Etape Loch Ness
13 September 2020
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Over the last six years @TeamMacmillan riders at the Etape Loch Ness have helped us raise an amazing £1.28m for Macmillan Cancer Support ⠀ ⠀ A massive achievement but we can’t stop there! Macmillan needs your help to be able to provide their services in the Highlands, across Scotland and the rest of the UK, and to help people living with cancer live life as fully as they can. ⠀ ⠀ Last few places remaining! Sign up now: www.etapelochness.com (link in bio)⠀ ⠀ #ridelochness #etapelochness #TeamMacmillan
Test your fitness, boost your wellness and achieve greatness by participating in this brilliant cycling sportive in the Scottish wilderness! This closed road event runs for 66 miles (106 km) around Loch Ness on traffic free roads and starts and finishes in Inverness. Not many cycling events take place in scenery as stunning as you’ll find around Loch Ness and of course, there’s always a chance you might spot ‘Nessie’ on your way round too.
2. Let’s Ride – Glasgow
Let’s Ride are brilliant and free cycling festivals for everyone and take place in cities across the UK. We’re waiting for confirmation but this year, these safe, closed-road events, should be taking place in Glasgow and Edinburgh. The events usually include loads of fun activities and challenges for all, entertainment and local street food and sometimes a few surprises. You don’t even have to be an experienced cyclist to take part. Keep looking back on this page for updates.
3. Edinburgh Festival of Cycling
TBC – usually June 2020
Edinburgh is rightly renowned as a city of festivals, so it seems fitting that the capital should also have a Festival of Cycling. Celebrating all things bicycle and now heading into its eighth year, this is one of the UK’s best two-wheel events. Over the course of the festival, the programme includes a great selection of participation and competitive rides, themed talks, have-a-go sessions, workshops and family events and rides – plus some events are free. What better way to explore Scotland’s capital than by bike during this friendly summer festival?
4. Bealach Mor
5 September 2020
Although the Bealach Mor includes arguably the toughest hill climb in the UK, there is amazing scenery to distract, delight and energise riders all along the route. Running for 144 km from Kinlochewe by stunning Loch Maree, this challenging event also includes 2,100 metres of climbing. It takes riders through beautiful glens Docherty and Carron and on to a mighty 626 m ascent of the legendary Bealach na Bà (Pass of the Cattle), before descending, with jaw-dropping views of the Isle of Skye, into Applecross. The route then takes riders through the Applecross peninsula and breath-taking Glen Torridon, before returning to Kinlochewe.
5. Dukes Weekender
12 – 13 September 2020
Here’s an event that’s just a wee bit different. The Dukes Weekender centres on the Dukes Pass near Aberfoyle in the lovely Trossachs. It includes three biking events and the friendly Dukes Gathering hosted at Aberfoyle’s Forth Inn. The first event, taking place on Saturday evening, is a closed-road hill climb up the Dukes Pass running 1.9 km and rising 150 m – bring your cowbells to cheer on the competitors! Then on Sunday, there’s a 70km gravel and trail enduro through Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park that’s perfect for gravel bikers and cross-country mountain bikers. Choose your event or opt for the ‘Full Dukes’ and do both! There’s even a mini-enduro for the kids!
6. Tour of Britain
13 September 2020
Scotland is set to host the final stage of the Tour of Britain in Stonehaven and Aberdeen in what will be an amazing weekend of cycling. Starting in the historic town of Stonehaven, the challenging route will head west for a steep ascent of the Cairn o’ Mount, which climbs to 454 m above sea level, before finishing in Aberdeen city centre, passing through stunning countryside along the way. Not only will the 2020 stage mark the first time the Tour of Britain has visited the region, it will also be the furthest point north the modern edition of the race has ever reached.
7. Let’s Ride Edinburgh
Let’s Ride is set to return (we’re awaiting confirmation) to Scotland in September, this time to the east of the country and the nation’s capital. Once confirmed, the Edinburgh event will again promise the same great atmosphere as last year and should again take place on closed roads, so it’s safe, friendly and fun for all the family. You don’t need to be an experienced cyclist to take part either. Do as much, or as little of the route as you want and stop as often as you like! Keep checking back on this page for updates.
Get along to one of these great events and enjoy a summer of cycling in Scotland. And why not take a look at the Sustrans National Cycling Network map and visit our cycling section, if these events have sparked your desire to explore more of Scotland on two wheels?