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Cycling Route Guides and Maps

Whether you are looking for new places to ride in your locale or you want to explore further afield, this compilation of route guides is a great starting point.

These route recommendations have came from various sources over the past 15 years. Some were contributions from customers, some from staff, some with permission from cycling magazines.

We would be the first to admit that this list omits thousands of amazing places to ride in Britain. That's were you come in. If you have a favourite route, we would love you to share it with us, perhaps via Strava or Map My Ride. We will then post your route here for others to enjoy.

Disclaimer
We are a bicycle retailer, not a mapping company. As Sat Nav companies regularly warn us, roads change all the time. We recommend that you use this guide to help you discover wonderful places to ride. For precise directions, you should always refer to an up-to-date mapping device. If you discover any glitches or wrong turnings in our recommendations, do alert us so we can make amends.

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Rides Near Our Shops - Staff Recommendations

Aberdeen

Mountain Biking - Kirkhill Forest, Pitfichie, Glen Tanar, Scoltie Hill at Banchory.

Road - Out the South Deeside road to Aboyne and back via the North Deeside road.

Leisure - Cove Bay & Stonehaven (on the NCN 1)

Aberdeen Beach Loop.

For more routes in this area, go to Cycle Grampian.

 

Edinburgh

Mountain Biking - Pentland Hills including the Four Reservoir Loop

7stanes Mountain Bike Trails

The 7stanes are the seven mountain biking trail centres (Glentress and Innerleithen, Glentrool, Kirroughtree, Dalbeattie, Mabie, Newcastleton and Ae) that grace the south of Scotland. Each trail centre features graded routes so you should have no trouble finding a stretch of singletrack that suits your technical ability.

Each section is colour coded: green for beginners, blue for intermediate, red for advanced, black for harder climbs and more technical descents and orange for freeride and downhill. The idea here is that, on the one hand, you could take young children for a lovely car-free ride on forest tracks on a green route. On the other hand, even a skilled mountain biker will find plenty to challenge him or her on the red, black or orange routes.

To find out how to get to each trail centre, check out riding conditions in advance and to keep abreast with the ever-developing routes on offer, visit 7stanes own website and/or you can purchase you own trail map(s) in advance here.

Road

Loop around Arthur's Seat.

Aberfoyle to Loch Katrine.

Leisure

The Union Canal Towpath, the Innocent Railway and Cramond Promenade ar among the traffic-free cycle routes featured in the council's downloadable Explore Edinburgh by Bike Maps. For the complete picture, you can do no better than invest in Spokes Maps of Edinburgh and the Lothians.

To find out about organised rides in the environs of the city visit Cycling Edinburgh.

 

Leeds

Mountain Biking

Stainburn Forest for dedicated mountain bike trails just beyond Otley about 15 miles from our Chapel Allerton shop.

Harewood Estate or Meanwood Valley are pleasant local routes, but ride with care to avoid conflict with the many families, dog walkers etc who also enjoy this area. Perhaps best avoided at weekends.

Road

Most folk round here head north out of Leeds into the Aire valley. Among the quiet lanes on the far side of the Aire, included in all the audaxes and sportives in the area are Leathley Lane and Castley Lane (to Leathley and Castley respectively). Left and right here on Google.

Bolton Abbey via Langbar. Really popular local ride, beautiful scenery, train out or home from Ilkley for the lazy. Google maps / streetview for a taste.

Leisure

The council-approved family-friendly Wyke Beck Way takes you from Roundhay to Temple Newsam, almost all off road.

Leeds/Liverpool Canal, especially Bingley Five Rise Locks and Saltaire. This fantastic traffic-free ride Sustrans route, is hugely popular with families.

 

Manchester

Mountain Bike

Rivington Pike for natural trails and fell-top views. Start at Rivington Hall Barn (25 miles from shop by car).

Lee Quarry. Technical man-made trails and features including pump track. Parking at Futures Park Bacup (30 miles from Rusholme shop by car).

Edale Loop - a Classic loop in the heart of the Peak District (30 miles from shop by train.)

Leisure - Fallowfield Loop or Sale Water Park.
Indoors - Manchester Velodrome.

 

Newcastle

Mountain Bike - Hamsterley Forest, Chopwell Woods, Kielder Forest, C2C.

Road - The Ryals, Bellingham, Rothbury, Stamfordham, Capheaton, Belsay, Vomit Pass.

 

Sheffield

Mountain Bike

Opened in summer 2012, Parkwood Springs offer 2 new MTB tracks (a blue route with red options) within spitting distance from the city centre. Its 2K all-weather track can be looped so you can enjoy it all year round.

Road – Peak District - especially around Hope Valley.

Leisure– Rother Valley Park

 

 


Scotland - North    

MTB Cycling Routes for the Glenlivet Estate

Glenconglass and Glen Brown (on the Glenlivet Estate, Cairngorms National Park)
This route is very varied and enjoyable with interesting off-road sections and attractive views. Surface conditions are generally hard, but the track through Glen Brown can be wet, muddy, rough and rutted in places.

Glenconglass to Strathaven (on the Glenlivet Estate, Cairngorms National Park)
An interesting combination of forest road, hill tracks and quiet country roads with good views. Surface mostly hard, but hill track past Ardgeith can be muddy and rough in places. Livestock are also present on this section and there are several gates/stiles to negotiate.

Carn Daimh and Glenlivet (on the Glenlivet Estate, Cairngorms National Park)
A strenuous, lengthy, challenging but highly rewarding route through varied terrain climbing to 570m and providing spectacular views. Off road sections mainly on forest roads and farm racks. Parts of the route can be rough, muddy, wet and exposed at times (sometimes all at once!).

Cairn Muldonich (on the Glenlivet Estate, Cairngorms National Park)
A good combination of forest and public roads, though the initial ascent through woods can be tiring! Off road sections generally on smooth and hard forest roads which are good for bikes, though some sections may be rough and bumpy in places. Well sheltered with some excellent views.

The Braes of Glenlivet (on the Glenlivet Estate, Cairngorms National Park)
Excellent varied route with off road sections on farm and hill tracks which can be fairly rough and muddy in places. Provides access to some remote and very attractive parts of the Estate, with some expansive views onto the Ladder Hills and the Braes of Glenlivet.

Glenmulliach Forest (on the Glenlivet Estate, Cairngorms National Park)
The easiest and most sheltered of the Glenlivet Estate cycle trails. The route follows hard and mostly smooth forest roads which are good for bikes. A steady (but not too difficult) climb in the woods leads to an excellent viewpoint overlooking the Cairngorm Mountains. Forest trails in the Glenmulliach woodland can also be followed for added interest and more varied terrain.

Other Route Guides for North Scotland

Applecross Peninsula, Wester Ross (road, mostly single track)
By Ged Holmyard
This route incorporates the highest mountain pass and one of the ultimate cycling challenges in the UK - the Bealach na Ba.

Harris and Lewis
From 101 Bike Routes in Scotland by Harry Henniker.

The Hebrides - Barra to Harris (quiet roads)
A great companion to Harry Henniker's route.

Pitlochry to Schiehallion and back
By Lindsay McDermid

Rothiemurchus
From 101 Bike Routes in Scotland by Harry Henniker.

Corrieyairack Pass - Fort Augustus to Laggan (off road)
From WhatMountainBike? Spring 2003 Issue 17
Highland Region - a stunning route through some wild and wicked countryside.

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Scotland - Central

Beecraigs and Cairnpapple Hill
From 25 Cycle Routes in Edinburgh and Lothian.
Reproduced with the kind permission of Mercat Press, Edinburgh.

Dunblane Circular (quiet country roads)
Sent in by Graeme Holton.

Kirkintilloch to the Campsie Hills
From 25 Cycle Routes In And Around Glasgow.
Reproduced with the kind permission of Mercat Press, Edinburgh.

Loch Ard Circle (off-road)
From 25 Cycle Routes - Stirling and Trossachs, by Erl B Wilkie
Reproduced with the kind permission of Mercat Press, Edinburgh.
Ride the forest tracks to the south of Loch Ard.

Pentland Hills, Four Reservoir Loop (off road)
Sent in by Graeme Carmichael
This route rewards the rider with splendid views across the capital and a variety of terrain from single-track paths to access roads.

Loch Tay Tour
Into the heart of Scotland on a hilly highland loop.
From Cycling Plus issue 182, by Rebecca Bishop

Arrochar, Loch Lomond
By Andy McCandlish, from What Mountain Bike? Magazine, Issue No.29.

Poets Glen - Edinburgh and the countryside to the south-east of the city
A super, 50-km route route and full of interest - it follows old rail lines, minor roads, tracks, river walks and a canal towpath in Edinburgh and the countryside to the south-east of the city.

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Scotland - Fife

Cairneyhill to Crossford to Crombie (Circular Route)
This 9-mile route is fun for all. The route begins in Cairneyhill and takes you through Crossford, now a commuter town for Dunfermline. You can make a detour to visit the model village and harbour of Charlestown. Part of the route takes you along the off road West Fife Cycle Way which follows the former Dunfermline to Alloa railway.

Cupar to Freuchie to Chance Inn - Circular Route
This 22 mile (35.4 kms)route begins and ends in Cupar, the seat of the Macduffs, thanes or earls of Fife, and runs through the very heart of the Howe. It takes in several towns and villages including Ladybank, Kingskettle, Freuchie and Chance Inn.

Dunfermline to Charlestown to Limekilns - Circular Route
This 11 mile (17.7 kms) route begins in Dunfermline and takes you along a section of the off road West Fife Cycle Way on the former Dunfermline to Alloa railway. You’ll cycle through farmland and villages such as Charlestown, Scotland’s first planned, industrial village which integrated houses and workplaces, and Limekilns, with its harbour of Bruce Haven.

Elie to Kilconquhar to Largoward - Circular Route
The 19 mile (30 kms) route begins and ends in the East Neuk fishing village of Elie. You’ll cycle through the villages of Elie and Earlsferry, and into the farmland beyond to Kilconquhar and Largoward.

Culross to Cairneyhill to Torry Bay - Circular Route
This 13 mile (21kms) route begins in Culross, one of the most picturesque villages in Scotland. You’ll cycle along the coast near Torry Bay, a local nature reserve, where you can enjoy a pleasant rest and do a spot of bird watching. Part of the route joins with the West Fife Cycle Way offering you some off road cycling on the former Dunfermline to Alloa railway.

Ladybank to Auchtermuchty to Falkland (Circular Route)
This 15-mile route begins in Ladybank, a relatively new town in Howe of Fife, made a burgh in 1878. The route runs through villages and towns including Auchtermuchty where, for a long time, linen weaving was one of the main industries. If you allow yourself plenty of time to cycle this route you can visit the picturesque village of Falkland with its strong connections with the Scottish royal family.

Newburgh to Auchtermuchty to Pitmedden (Circular Route)
This 17-mile route begins in Newburgh, on the Firth of Tay, and takes you through both farmland and forest in the Howe of Fife. It takes in the town of Auchtermuchty, the setting for the TV drama Doctor Finlay’s Casebook and a good place to stop and rest. You’ll also cycle through Pitmedden Forest where you can enjoy some off road cycling on the forest routes.

The Fife Ports on the River Tay - Circular Route
This route (29.5 miles) begins in Tayport, the northernmost town in Fife and once known as Ferryport-on-Craig. You’ll experience both the farmland and the coastal land of Fife, as you cycle through the villages of the Howe and the towns beside the Firth of Tay. The route also takes you through Tentsmuir Forest, where off-road cycling routes allow you to explore the forest.

West Fife Cycle Way
This 8-mile route begins in Dunfermline, favourite residence of Queen Margaret, who married King Malcolm 3rd of Scotland in 1070. It will take you along a section of the former Dunfermline to Alloa railway. This linear route is all off road, but also connects with the three circular routes in West Fife if you wish to explore further.

Ceres to St Andrews to Pitscottie (Circular Route)
This route ( 19.5 miles) leads you out of the heart of the Howe of Fife and towards the coast at St Andrews, famous for golf and Scotland’s oldest university, but with many more stories to tell at its Castle, Cathedral, three museums and Sea Life Centre.

The Kingdom of Fife: Circular Route
Divided into two sections of North and South, this 109-mile route follows the Fife regional boundary and offers cyclists a history lesson as well as a splendid tour of the Kingdom.

Anstruther - Pittenweem - Kellie: Circular Route
This 19-mile route begins in Anstruther, the largest of the East Neuk fishing communities and home to the Scottish Fisheries Museum. It takes you inland, through the many farms of the East Neuk, and past Kellie Castle which, with its gardens, is cared for by the National Trust for Scotland. You’ll also be able to take a detour into Pittenweem and explore the hilly wynds and closes between its fisher houses.

Crail - Wormiston - Kippo: Circular Route
A scenic, 12-mile route through the farmland of the East Neuk, including a stop-off at the famous 'secret' (i.e. opposite the pub in the village square - you can't miss it) nuclear bunker.

North Fife Circular Route (all road)
From Scotland: The National Cycle Network by Harry Henniker.

St Monance to Pittenween (road)
From 25 Cycle Routes - The Kingdom of Fife, by Erl B Wilkie
Reproduced with the kind permission of Mercat Press, Edinburgh.
A scenic route featuring the fabulous fishing villages o' Fife.

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Scotland - South

Melrose to Holy Island
From 101 Bike Routes in Scotland by Harry Henniker.

Moorfoot Hills (quiet roads)
By Lindsay McDermid

West Linton Circular Route (track and quite roads)
Sent in by Rory Monaghan

Yair Forest (off road)
By Ashley Portland

Berwick to Eyemouth (and back to Berwick via a different route)
Yet another piece in the Berwickshire coastal jigsaw - this one takes in the stretch between Eyemouth and Berwick, returning inland via Ayton and Paxton (distance: 27 miles).

The Meldons (near Peebles, in the Scottish Borders)
The Meldon Hills sit just to the west of Peebles and this 22-mile route starts on the A72 and takes the minor road heading north up the valley between Black Meldon and - wait for it - White Meldon.

Glentress (near Peebles, in the Scottish Borders)
Glentress is super route (37 kms) which finishes with a fine technical downhill on the purpose-built Glentress trails.

Jedburgh (in the Scottish Borders)
Jedburgh is a fine, mixed route (40 kms) starting in Jedburgh and taking in parts of the Justice Trail and also St Cuthbert's Way.

Innerleithen to Clovenfords, Stow and Heriot (Circular Route)
This is a triangular 40-mile route taking in Innerleithen, Clovenfords, Stow and Heriot.

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England - North

The Trough of Bowland Circuit, Lancashire
A popular but strenuous circular ride of around 36 miles with a number of hills through the dramatic wilds of the Trough of Bowland, to the official centre of the British Isles at Dunsop Bridge, returning though the delightful village of Chipping.

The Lancashire Lanes Cycle Run (complete with wonderful map)
A 32 mile 3 hours of riding on quiet back lanes with plenty of opportunity for refreshment stops and gluttony with a clear conscience (you ride off any calories you take on!).

The Ice Cream Run - the Wyre, Lancashire (complete with fab hobbit-inspired map)
A medium length ride of 26 miles over the predominantly flat terrain and quiet roads of the Wyre. Provides the opportunity to sample some of the best local ice cream in Lancashire.

Across the Humber
Overnighting in Hull (95 miles total, moderate - road route)
From Cycling Plus Magazine issue 181, by Nicky Crowther.

Buckden, North Yorkshire
From WhatMountainBike? magazine, issue 18.
This ride can be summed up in 3 words: fantastic but fatiguing. Sounds like a perfect description of mountain biking.

Lord Stone's Loop, North Yorkshire Moors (off road)
From WhatMountainBike? magazine. Spring 2003 Issue 17.
North Yorkshire - short on length but big on technical riding, this will test your biking skills to the limit.

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England - Central

Sherwood Forest and Clumber Park to Retford (Road Route)
Distance: 72 miles,
Rating: easy (over 2 days),
From CyclingPlus issue 180, by Nicky Crowther.

East Leicestershire and Rutland Explore (Road Route)
From CyclingPlus magazine, issue 180, by Nicky Crowther.

Derbyshire - with Overnight Stay at Ashboure (Road Route)
Distance: 60 miles,
Rating: moderate to difficult,
From Cycling Plus magazine, issue 180, by Nicky Crowther.

Lincolnshire Wolds - Overnighting at Louth/Woody’s Top YHA
From Cycling Plus issue 181, by Nicky Crowther

Edale Circut, The Peak District
By Bex Hopkins, WhatMountainBike? Magazine Issue 22
Home to the southern end of the Pennine Way, Edale is a well known village located in a small valley with steep hills on all sides, and has some great facilities for hikers and bikers.

Stanage Circuit, Derbyshire (off road)
From WhatMountainBike? magazine Issue 19.
'Stanage Edge has to be one of the best parts of the Peak District, a gritstone cliff jutting out above the heather, attracting climbers, walkers and bikers above the low clouds even in winter.'

Long Mynd, Shropshire (off road)
By Steve Thomas, from WhatMountainBike? magazine: May 2003 Issue 18
Shropshire - short-but-perfectly-formed all-weather classic.

Derwent Reservoir, Peak District
From WhatMountainBike? magazine, issue 20.
The very place where Barnes Wallis tested the famous bouncing bomb.

National Byway: Newark
From CyclingPlus issue 182 by Nigel Housden
A loop packed with heritage...

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England - South

Cambridge to Ely (road)
Sent in by Mary Donaldson
A 40-mile round trip around the fens of Cambridgeshire.

Circular Route in South Cambridgeshire (country roads)
Sent in by Mary Donaldson
The South Cambridgeshire landscape is fairly flat so fitness is not a necessity to appreciate the wonderful views on this route.

London to Brighton (quiet country roads)
By Ashley Portland

Tour de Herts (Hitchin, Hertfordshire)
A loop packed with heritage.
From CyclingPlus issue 182, by Rob Lampard.

Swinley Forest (Berkshire)
Swinley Forest is an extraordinary mountain bike diamond, with as much difficult singletrack, stiff forest road climbing, and twists and turns as you could wish for. Nicky Crowther, from What Mountain Bike? Issue 29.

Godalming Greensand, Surrey Hills
From WhatMountainBike? Magazine Issue No.29, by Steve Thomas.
Ieally positioned in the south-east giving easy access for Londoners. Might be best to avoid bank holiday weekends so you don’t clash with ramblers.

The Kent Downs, Sevenoaks
By Nicky Crowther, WhatMountainBike? Magazine Issue 22.
The cool thing about the Kent Downs is that they lie within easy reach of London and are less well-ridden than other downland honeypots.

Colne Valley, Buckinghamshire
From WhatMountainBike? issue 18.
A pleasant trip on London's western edge where the capital meets the country.

The Judge's Ride, Oxfordshire (off-road)
From WhatMountainBike? magazine. Spring 2003 Issue 17
Oxfordshire - a fine mixture of ancient byways and bridleways. Ideal for novice mountain bikers.

Watlington, Chiltern Hills
By Bex Hopkins, WhatMountainBike? Magazine Issue 24.
Slog up the Escarpment to the rolling Ridgeway and lush woods beyond.

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England - South West

The Wessex Ton
By Neil Pedoe and Nick Bourne, from Cycling Plus magazine, issue 183.

Purbeck, South Dorset
By Cass Gilbert, WhatMountainBike? Magazine, Issue 24
Lush coastal views over a variety of terrain that's suitabe for all riders.

The Quantock Hills, Somerset
By Bex Hopkins, WhatMountainBike? Magazine Issue 22
Covering an area of only 19km by 7km, and sitting in the shadow of the Brendon Hills and Exmoor, the Quantocks down in the south west of England are easy to miss.

Exmoor, Devon (off-road)
Pete Travers, WhatMountainBike? Magazine Issue 19
'What does the 'Ex' stand for in Exmoor? Well, after this route, we're sure you'll agree, it could stand for Excellent, Exciting, as well as Extreme. Based in Devon, Exmoor is home to miles and miles of some of the best and most varied trails in the UK.'

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Wales

Preseli Mountains, Pembrokeshire
By Nicky Crowther, WhatMountainBike? Magazine Issue 23
The Preselis offer a challenging seaside route with great coastal views to devour.

Brecon Beacons
By Nicky Crowther, WhatMountainBike? Magazine Issue 21
This route has all the ingredients of a classic mountain ride, but without tears. A long testing ascent to a high pass visible from miles below, the silhouettes of Brecon Beacon peaks Pen y Fan, Cribyn and Corn Du.

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Links to Cycle Route Websites

Cycle Grampian
What a good idea.

Cycle Route
'The number 1 site for finding cycle routes that have been tried and tested.'

Cycling Edinburgh
Organised rides in and around Edinburgh.

Cycling in Scotland
Cycling in Scotland is a website run by VisitScotland, and contains 149 journey guides for cycling routes in Scotland.

Glentress Forest
Less than 30 miles from our Edinburgh headquarters. Voted 'Best MTB Trail in UK' by Singletrack readers.

Edinburgh Paths
A fab selection of cycling routes in the 'Athens of the North'.

Cycling In Scotland
Norwegian cyclist,Torodd Fuglesteg's, site is well worth a visit, not only for its 20-odd recommended routes but for its idiosyncratic and highly flattering views of Scotland. It starts, 'Scotland is the closest a cyclist can come to heaven on earth.' And continues in that vein.

Highland Wildcat
The Highland Wildcat website contains a great selection of cycling trail routes for the area of Golspie, in Sutherland.

MTB Fife
A group dedicated to MTB in Fife…..riding, racing and more.

MTB-routes-scotland.co.uk
MTB-routes-scotland.co.uk offers a fab selection of MTB route guides for the following areas in Scotland: Tayside, Fife, Lothian & Borders, Aberdeenshire, Highland and Stirlingshire.

MTB the Dales
For comprehensive information, news and routes for mountain biking in the Yorkshire Dales.

Mountain Bike Borders
Routes, rides, videos, blogs, inspiration and information about great rides in southern Scotland.

Ride Fort William
If you're looking to go cycling in the Fort William area, then the Ride Fort William website contains a great selection of routes for cyclists of all ages and abilities.

Rough-Stuff
Routes in the UK and Europe from the Rough-Stuff Fellowship (RSF). This site is an introductory route guide together with some photos that indicate what you might be letting yourself in for. As you will have guessed, Rough-Stuff routes are off road, and not all 100% cycle-able. You will have to join the RSF to get fuller details of the routes. (Historical note: the RSF were tackling impossible routes on road bikes before anybody had heard of mountain bikes or Marin County.)

Tonal Effects - Cycling Route Guides for Scotland
Neil & Janice Buxton include nearly 30 route guides for Scotland on their Tonal Effects website, covering Aviemore to the Cairngorms and the surrounding area.

UK Mountain Biker
This excellent database links you to mountain bike routes throughout the UK.


National Cycling Organisations

CTC
CTC is the national cycling organisation, dedicated to campaigning for the interests of all cyclists. Membership benefits include route guides, informed advice, a bi-monthly magazine, third-party insurance and legal assistance. For full information visit CTC.

Sustrans National Cycle Network
Did you know that there are 14,000 miles of traffic free and traffic-lite routes to discover throughout the UK. This is largely thanks to the work of Sustrans?

Sky Ride Local
Sky Ride in association with British Cycling are dedicated to encourage more people to cycle. Their local rides are guided by qualified British Cycling Ride Leaders along scenic planned routes in a growing number of towns and cities throughout the UK. These rides are graded according to ability and they are free. Find out more at Sky Ride Local.

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