10 Cycling events for 2016
In and around the Cairngorms National Park
The number of cycling events in the Cairngorms have multiplied exponentially over the past few years. The popularity of such events has also grown incredibly. Often for an event like the Loch Ness Etape, you have to book your place for the next year almost as soon as the event finishes.
Bike events are becoming more prolific. Seems like following the success of the British Olympic team, everyone is investing in lycra and heading out on a bike. Certainly here in the Cairngorms, it’s rare not to see at least one cyclist when you’re out and about. In fact, these days Aviemore almost seems to have a cycling culture. Every second shop hires bikes. Almost all the cars around seem to have bikes attached to them somehow. It’s a “healthy” activity supported by the government with investment in cycle paths, cycle lanes and cycle to work schemes.
Of course, you don’t have to travel all the way to the north of Scotland to participate in a cycling event. There are events happening all over the country. The advantage of coming up to the Cairngorms though is that you can enjoy your favourite sport in some of the world’s most spectacular scenery.
Details of the events
In no particular order, we’ve created a list of 10 cycling events we’ve managed to find online. Hopefully this list will make it easier for others to find cycling events and schedule them in to their calendar in future. It wasn’t easy to find all these details and sometimes event details are released quite late in the day. However, once the event has taken place a few times it tends to reoccur at approximately the same time each year. If you can’t make it this year, perhaps because you didn’t know early enough, take note for next year!
1. Rock and Road Festival
The Rock and Road festival is held in conjunction with the Glenlivet Mountain Bike trails. Details for 2016 are still limited but judging by the 2015 programme there is something for every cyclist to participate in:
- the Spirit of the Glen sportive for the road cyclists;
- part of the Enduro series for Mountain Bikers;
- a night ride at the Glenlivet tracks;
- skills sessions for mountain bikers;
- a treasure hunt on bikes for the kids;
- kids races.
Even if you don’t ride a bike, the party atmosphere could still be one to enjoy.
2. Etape Caledonia
Takes place out of Pitlochry. It is an 81 mile circuit on closed roads, climbing over 1000m along the route. It has attracted over 5000 riders per annum. 2016 will be the 10th anniversary. The event is a charity fundraiser for Marie Curie, but is a fixture in the calendars for many Scottish bike enthusiasts as it is very accessible from the central belt.
The Etape Caledonia is a popular event. Places disappear quickly. It is also a one day only event so does not necessariy mean that you need to book accommodation in the area, but you could use it as an excuse to book a few days off work afterwards and spend some time enjoying the area.
3. Ride Like a Grrl – September
Advance notice for Ride Like a Grrl, a women only mountain biking event which takes place at a slightly different venue in theCairngormsNational parkeach year. Event will run in September but details are still to be finalised.
Keep an eye on the Facebook page for details as they are being finalised now.
4. King of the Mountains Sportive
A sportive for the fit and dedicated. There are 2 routes: 110 miles and 100km. The longer route has 3700m of ascent and passed through some of the most amazing scenery of whisky distilleries and the southern part of the Cairngorms National Park, including the Cockbridge to Tomintoul road, often closed in winter due to snow. Average finish time is 7 1/2 hours! A stunning route but not for the faint-hearted.
Starts and finishes at Aboyne.
For full details check the website
5. The Bikeathon
The annual Bikeathon event is a 25 mile family friendly cycling event that starts and finishes in Kingussie. Once again it’s a charity event raising funds for Chest, Heart and StrokeScotland. It’s designed as a fun day out for the family and definitely not a race. At the same time you’ll be able to enjoy the events taking place during Bikefest in Cycle Friendly Kingussie.
6. Etape Royale
The Quilter Cheviot Etape Royale is the first and only 100 mile Closed Road Cycle Sportive inScotland. (Shorter routes are available as an introduction or for those not quite as dedicated.)
The Etape received TV fame when Mark Beaumont tested the entire 100mile route on a penny farthing. Amazing scenery and you’ll be jet propelled when passing through Moray’s whisky country on the fumes from the numerous distilleries you pass.
7 Cairn O’Mount Challenge
The two routes are very different: the shorter route is on the gentle minor roads of rural Angus with just one significant climb which is over the famous Cathertuns road and into Glen Lethnot. With a refreshment stop at the half way point, this is an ideal starter event for beginners or younger people or simply a change of scenery for more experienced riders.
The 80 mile route is a different proposition! Leaving from Edzell Muir we make our way to Fettercairn and prepare for the big climb up the steep side of the Cairn o’Mount. It’s the end of May so the snow gates shouldn’t (!) be closed.
Check out the website
8 Cream o the Croft Bike Festival
Not only is there an enduro mtb racing event but there’s a festival at the same time. From live music to beer tents and tasting, camping and mtb training. Racing at all levels from age 6 to competitive men plus a carnival atmosphere and loads of other events to keep the party atmosphere live and exciting.
For full details of the event go to the festival website
9. International Mountain Biking Conference
The conference returns to Scotland in 2016, but will this time be taking place in the Highlands of Scotland. The events around the conference will probably focus on the area around Aviemore and Inverness. Full details have not yet been announced but it is hoped that the conference will form the climax of a week of active events. So far there has been little more than a press release from Developing Montain Biking in Scotland to set the date.
For more details read the article published in the Press and Journal
10. Mountain Bike Orienteering Challenge
Test out your biking and navigation skills, can you improve your times, be better than your friends and family. Try out the course designed by pupils from Kingussie High School. Drop in anytime. Bike hire available on site. Smart phone to download orienteering app
Please feel free to contact us if you are organising a biking event which takes place in or near the Cairngorms National Park, we will be happy to add it to our list of events which we hope will be the most complete list of cycling events in the area. We have chosen not to add race events and have concentrated instead on Sportives, charity challenges and family friendly events/festivals.
If you would like to extend your stay in the area or to explore more of the off-road tracks and trails around Aviemore and the surrounding villages, please feel free to contact Scot Mountain Holidays or stay at Fraoch Lodge for more input. We have developped some top facilities for cycle enthusiasts including a lockable bike store, an outside washdown area, a purpose-built drying room, good hot showers and the space to relax in front of an open fire. You can also join us for a meal in the evening if you wish. We produce good quality, home cooked food with local ingredients and are used to catering for healthy appetites.
For details of mountain biking packages with Scot Mountain Holidays.