Our Favourite Day Bike Rides


The cycle rides listed here are a (growing) selection of day trips that Julie and I think worthy of special attention.


They could be easy rides or hard rides, but they must be rewarding in several ways to make this list!


Our grading system is explained <here>





First up, a hard ride (indeed this ride provided the boundary for our Extreme Grade).


Julie and I love the far north of Scotland, particularly Sutherland. Sutherland has scenery like nowhere else in the British Isles. It is a truly ancient landscape, in parts over 3-billion years old. The (so called) island mountains emerge from a landscape aged 1-billion years or more, to form a contoured landscape like no other.


The Quinag Circuit




Distance 37miles, Ascent 4058ft, Grade Ex1(73W), Time 4h30m (plus stops), Energy c1500kCals.


Fifteen slopes exceed 150-Watts (72kg at 5-MPH), are marked on the map: red beginning, green end. Where the slope exceeds 300-Watts an exclamation mark is the start. The maximum slope is 25%: 400-Watts.


Click <here> for a zipped file including .gpx and .kml files


Quinag is a magnificent mountain, not the highest by any means but one of the best mountain walks in Scotland. This cycle ride takes you around the massif (best done clockwise; the climbs are slightly less aggressive). Ample (free) car parking is available on the north shore of Loch Assynt.


Below are some images of the route.


The Quinag Massif


Better down than up!


An ancient landscape


Refreshments at Drumbeg


The Drumbeg Road


Loch Unapool


Canisp, Suilven, Cul Mor and Cul Beag




Next on our list, a much easier ride in The Borders county of Scotland.


Julie and I have had the best cycling days in The Borders of Scotland (and Northumberland). There is, perhaps, nowhere better in the UK for cycling. A plethora of small, deserted, roads crisscross the county, with the motor traffic concentrated on three main A-Roads well away from our playground.


A Borders Loop from Town Yetholm




Distance 28miles, Ascent 1950ft, Grade hard-B(60W), Time 3h10m (plus stops), Energy c870kCals.


Three slopes exceed 120-Watts (72kg at 5-MPH), are marked on the map: red beginning, green end.

The maximum slope is 8%: 146-Watts.


Click <here> for a zipped file including .gpx and .kml files


The long-distance cycling tour The Borderloop is a fabulous trip: perhaps the best in the UK. Its 190-miles navigate through the best of the county. This day-ride is, in our opinion, the very best bit of the Borderloop: the best of the best no less! Car parking at Town Yetholm, the route is best done anticlockwise to save climbing a long 12% slope.


Below are some images from the Borders Loop. Note: on this occasion we did the loop clockwise. The better choice is anticlockwise, unless you enjoy long 12% hills!


Leaving Town Yetholm


Staerough Hill








It was a gorgeous day when we did this ride. If you can get good weather, there is no day-ride more rewarding!





Third in our list of favourite day bike-rides we go to Ardgour, west-coast of Scotland.


It was only in 2023 when we first explored the cycling options in Ardgour region of Scotland. We had a few days staying in Strontian and this route, close to Strontian, is a little harder than the Borders Loop, but is a ‘must-do’ if you’re in the area. The roads hereabouts are quiet once you’re away from the logging trucks. Doing this route you’ll not see a logging truck or many other vehicles – we only saw the postman when we did it!


Creach Bheinn Circuit




Distance 26miles, Ascent 2676ft, Grade mild-C(71W), Time 3h15m (plus stops), Energy c1000kCals.


Six slopes exceed 150-Watts (72kg at 5-MPH), are marked on the map: red beginning, green end.

The maximum slope is 11%: 190-Watts.


Click <here> for a zipped file including .gpx and .kml files


Creach Bheinn is the hill that forms the core of this route; the only circuit ride in Ardgour. We advise doing the route clockwise to avoid an 11% slope over an unrelenting 2miles! This route takes you through a stunning landscape of loch, hill and moorland. Views of Ben Nevis and Loch Linnhe are superb. An interesting historic note: the element strontium was discovered in 1790 at the mine behind Strontian. Free car parking is available on the A861 near Loch Linnhe.


Below are some images of the route.


Looking west along Loch Sunart


The A861 is not a busy road.


And the B8043 is even quieter. A glimpse of Loch Linnhe with a snow-covered Ben Nevis backdrop to the north.


Cycling southwest, Loch Linnhe comes closer.


The B8043 is a delight to cycle.


Loch Linnhe continues to the south as our route takes us inland.