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Cycling revolution

Press release   •   Aug 08, 2017 09:53 BST

As Scottish cycling star and ultra-endurance athlete Mark Beaumont approaches the Australian half way point on his record breaking attempt to cycle around the globe in 80 days, new figures have revealed the multi million pound value of road cycling tourism to the Scottish economy.

The research by VisitScotland reveals that one million day trips and 261,000 overnight trips, which include cycling on a road or surfaced path, were taken by visitors from the UK in 2015, generating a combined total of £106million for the Scottish economy.

The research also highlights that the activity continues to attract both men and woman and remains particularly popular with those aged 35 to 54.

With routes such as the Loch Leven Heritage Trail, the Ayrshire Coast Cycle Way and the 4 Abbeys Way in the Scottish Borders, Scotland’s 2, 000 mile National Cycle Network covers some of the country’s most spectacular scenery.

Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland’s Chief Executive, said: “Scotland’s reputation as a cycling destination is growing every year thanks to the creation of new and exciting routes that show the best of our stunning landscapes. We also have over 500 miles of traffic-free paths which make Scotland a great family-friendly cycling country.

We are lucky to be working with people like Mark, who is a fantastic ambassador, not just for the sport, but for Scotland as a whole. His sheer determination, spirit and obvious love of Scotland’s breathtaking cycling routes has undoubtedly inspired visitors and this is sure to continue as he completes the second leg of his Artemis World Cycle challenge.

Prior to embarking on his epic 18,000-mile cycle, Mark Beaumont helped raise awareness of some of the country’s best cycling routes by cycling the Hebridean Way, the North Coast 500 and across Argyll.

Mark Beaumont said: “The north of Scotland has the quietest and safest roads in Scotland for cycling. I recently pedalled the North Coast 500 route around Caithness and Sutherland, taking in the Bealach Na Bà, often named as the UK’s best cycling climb. This entire west coast up past Torridon, Ullapool and Lochinver is absolutely stunning. Even further afield, right on the edge of the Atlantic, I am also a big fan of the Hebridean Way, which spans the length of the 10 islands of the Outer Hebrides.”

Following his departure from Paris in July, Mark Beaumont has spent 16 hours each day on the bike (cycling 240 miles) and has travelled through more than ten countries to reach the half way stage of his 18,000-mile challenge during which he has consumed over 300,000 calories for energy.

You don’t have to be a record-breaking cyclist like Mark Beaumont to get out there and enjoy the cycling in Scotland.

Here are 5 routes to get you started:

Following part of the National Cycle Network Route 780, this terrific, long-distance route spans the length of the enchanting Outer Hebrides island chain. Along the way, enjoy paradise beaches, the Calanais Standing Stones and the Butt of Lewis Lighthouse.

Never-ending back roads, wide meandering country tracks and beautiful bends through some of Scotland's finest coastal scenery are just a few things you can expect along the North Coast 500. Bealach Na Bà, often named as the UK’s best cycling climb.

Look out for the rich variety of wildlife (such as osprey, kingfishers and otters) on this flat, circular route around the banks of Loch Leven. Enjoy the views out to Lochleven Castle, which is situated on its own island in the middle of the loch, and stop for a tasty lunch at places such as Loch Leven's Larder.

Tour the Scottish Borders' four famous abbeys - Melrose, Dryburgh, Kelso and Jedburgh - on this scenic (but fairly demanding) route through the glorious Borders countryside. Why not make a day of it and stop off at attractions as you pass by?

This beautiful linear route along the coast from Irvine to Ayr takes in some of Ayrshire's most picturesque scenery, from the coastline with views out to the Isle of Arran to the thriving marshland and woodland of two Scottish wildlife reserves, Gailes Marsh and Shewalton Wood.

For further information on cycling routes in Scotland, check out

For further statistics about cycling in Scotland visit

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