The best cycling routes in Scotland (top 5)

We've written about a number of cycle routes across the UK, and the more we write about cycling routes, the more we realise that some of the absolute best of them are in Scotland. When you think of the rugged Scottish landscape, you maybe don't think of terrain which is ideal for cycling along. But you might be surprised at how many excellent cycling routes there are in Scotland. We wanted to round-up the best of them, let's get into it:

Loch Leven Heritage Trail

Loch Leven is one of the most underrated lochs to visit in Scotland, and cycling along the Loch Leven Heritage Trail is a great way to see the loch. It's 21km in length and there are a few sections where you might have to jump off the bike and walk a little bit, but that is all part of the fun we think. The main things to look out for along the route are all of the wonderful animals found here (Kingfisher Hide is a great place to stop to try and spot a Kingfisher), as well as the famous Castle Island. Read our guide about Loch Leven Heritage Trail here.
FireShot Capture 1793 - loch leven heritage trail - Google Search -

Southern Upland Way

The Southern Upland Way is definitely best known as a walking route, but you can actually cycle along large parts of it, which is a great way to explore the route and the area. The route is split into 10 sections and some are more cycle friendly than others - for example, the start of the route will require you to carry your bike a bit, but the section after Killantringan Lighthouse to Castle Kennedy is excellent for riding. It'll definitely require a mountain bike, and you'll want it to be light for the sections where you might need to carry it! Read our guide about the Southern Upland Way here.

Fraserburgh to Banff (23 miles)

There are a number of cycling routes in the Banffshire Coast area, and we think the route between Fraserburgh to Banff (23 miles in length) is probably the best. With climbs of more than 1800 feet it isn't straightforward, but if you are feeling up to the challenge of this cycle route then you'll be rewarded with some amazing sea views and trips to some of the best beaches in Scotland. Read our guide about the Banffshire Coast here.

The Speyside Way

This route from from Spey Bay to Aviemore doesn't allow bikes along the whole way, but the route can be followed on 2 wheels for a few sections. Between Fochabers and Ballindalloch you can cycle freely, and also between Nethybridge and Aviemore, so if you want to do the whole Speyside Way you'll need to carry your bike for certain sections. This is an ideal route to take if you're wanting to stop at any Whiskey DistilleriesLearn more about the Speyside Way in our Greater Speyside guide.

North Loop on Arran

The Isle of Arran is probably the best Scottish island for cycling, so it was hard to choose just one cycling route to highlight in this guide, but the North Loop seemed like the obvious choice. This 40-mile cycle route takes you from Brodick Head North to Lochranza, and then down the West coast to Machrie. This isn't a straightforward route and includes 2 big climbs, so it'll probably take you about 3 hours, but it is well worth it for the views. Read our guide about the Isle of Arran here.

What should you be aware of before heading on these cycle routes?

As with all of the cycle routes in the UK, you can never be overprepared for tackling the cycle routes we've mentioned above. You should always bring a small tent with you for the longer trips, and plenty of snacks and water, as well as planning for stops and looking out accommodation options along the route which you can stop at if you need to. Consider taking some supplements to help with recovery during the longer trips - we've had success with CBD oils for easing the muscles and helping with recovery, and if you get the chance to do a sauna or steam at any of the hotels along the routes, the heat can really help with recovery after the longer trips. Also, in terms of snacks to bring we're big fans of protein bars, as they'll give you a sustained boost of energy which is exactly what you need for these longer rides.
We cover all kinds of topics, whether that be supplementation or recovery. So if you're interested in other supplements which could aid recovery after a long cycle, we have guides about Shilajit, Lions Mane, Tongkat Ali, NMN and to make sure you get a good sleep we have a guide about the best pillows you can buy & the best mattresses you can buy 

If you're looking for other places to visit in Scotland, we've got guides about North Berwick, Gullane, St Andrews, and the best beaches near Edinburgh.

Finn is the editor of You Well and has been writing about travel, health, and more for over 10 years.

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