Ever since global cycling ambassador Mark Beaumont burst onto the international scene, his home county of Perthshire has seen a big upsurge in cycling. More people than ever are getting on their bike, whether for health and fitness, fun with friends and family, taking part in competitions or to help the environment

Mark’s made a video (see above) that shows how brilliant Perthshire is for cycling – we see him climbing the hills of Glenshee and the Sma’ Glen, coasting round the North Inch in Perth, zooming through the forest in Dunkeld and enjoying the views from the Meikleour and Garry bridges.

So we’ve had a chat with some more Perthshire bike enthusiasts to find out where they go and why it’s the best county for cycling!

The Photographer

Ian Potter is a photographer, designer and mountain-biking enthusiast.

Where do you cycle in Perthshire?

My local mountain bike trails are all in Perth. We often start in Scone and cycle up through Murrayshall Golf Course (there are sanctioned paths) then over the hills into Deuchny Woods where there are a lot of man-made trails. Then over to Kinnoull Hill where there are more trails to ride. A lot of the trails are created on the back of the Fair City Enduro so they are all well thought-out and have different degrees of difficulty.

(Ian’s tip: If you are heading up Deuchny I’d advise grabbing someone who knows it well. The trails aren’t marked and you could be fooled into thinking there’s not much to do up there!)

You’ve got Dunkeld just up the road, too, which is more challenging if you need something a bit tougher to get your teeth into. And we also have the award-winning Comrie Croft just along the road which offers incredible trails, scenery, bike rental, bike repairs and fantastic grub – an absolute must-visit!

What do you love about cycling in Perthshire?

I love the fact that you can go up to Kinnoull and Deuchny, and the conditions can drastically change how the trails are riding. Every time I go up it seems to throw different challenges at me and trails I think I’ve nailed can hit me with a curveball. There are also so many trails that no ride needs to be identical.

Watch Ian’s YouTube videos of great bike rides around Loch Ordie and Glen Tilt. His routes are posted under the videos so you can try them too!

The Cycling Couple

Fiona and Stuart Cairns (and their two sons) share a love of cycling, and one of their favourite things is getting on their bikes and hitting the trails, whether it’s for a family day out or a competitive event.

Where do you cycle in Perthshire?

We love Loch Rannoch, as it’s quiet and the scenery is spectacular. The roads are undulating, allowing for a bit of speed. There’s a good circular route taking in Tummel Bridge, Loch Rannoch, Schiehallion, back to Tummel Bridge (or add on the scenic south side of the loch, back to Pitlochry).

The Hermitage is a stunning woodland location, too. There are plenty of trails for novices, plus a downhill route for more advanced biking. It’s great for family cycling as there is no traffic. There is plenty to see along the way, such as Ossian’s Hall and the falls, Ossian’s Cave, the lookout, and Pine Cone Point. And it’s only ten minutes’ cycle from Dunkeld and its various attractions.

(Fiona’s tip: Remember to stock up on your supplies and repair kit before setting out, as it’s often not long before you’re far from civilisation!)
 

What do you love about cycling in Perthshire?

The roads are fairly quiet, the road surfaces are generally good for skinny tyres, and travelling at bike speed allows stunning scenery and views to be fully appreciated, such as the beautiful reflections of the mountains on Loch Rannoch. There are also often great places to stop for a coffee or a meal, such as the Moor of Rannoch restaurant, or Escape Route in Pitlochry, which is a well-stocked bike / repair / hire shop with a pretty awesome café!

There are some great local bike events (see Cycling events at the end of the article).

The Explorer

Michael Kelleher is a keen wild-camper and dad of two who loves exploring the wilds of Perthshire on his bike.

Where do you cycle in Perthshire?

 There are lots of great routes in Perthshire. The Tay Loop is a nice 80K route from Perth to Dundee and can be ridden in either direction but I like Perth – Abernethy – Newburgh – Wormit – Newport – Dundee and back along the Tay through Errol and Kinnoull Hill.

Yesterday I rode National Cycle Route 77 through Almondbank and Bankfoot and met up with my wife and kids in Dunkeld for a coffee. For a longer day out, one of my favourite routes is Perth along the River Almond to Buchanty Spout – through the Sma’ Glen and then up the steep hill through Glen Quaich and into Kenmore, then up over Schiehallion and along the Tummel to Pitlochry, from here up over the Moulin Moor and home via Blairgowrie and Stanley.

As a family we like the Perth loop. It’s about 20K which goes along the North and South Inches to Almondbank and Huntingtower, along to Noah’s Ark.

One of my favourite things to do on a bike, however, is an overnight trip. I load the bike up with a tent and sleeping bag and head into the hills, mostly on road- or hill tracks.

What do you love about cycling in Perthshire?

There are lots of iconic Perthshire views and places, and you really feel like you’ve had a good day out. For example, in the Carse of Gowrie between Perth and Dundee there are quiet single-track roads with beautiful views over the Tay and Fife to the south and up to the Cairngorms in the north. And earlier this year I cycled from Rannoch Station to have my tea in the most remote restaurant in the UK. Great fun and a great wilderness experience.

The Café-visiting Eventer

Lindsey Thompson is a teacher and mum who has discovered that there are loads of brilliant bike events – and cafés! – around Perthshire. She loves cycling and supports initiatives that help to get more people cycling.

 Where do you cycle in Perthshire?

I have covered most of the cycle routes and cycleable roads within a 20-mile radius of Perth. Some favourite routes are:

The Rhynd loop, a 10-mile loop from Edinburgh Road via Rhynd and coming back through Bridge of Earn (with the tempting Brig Farm Shop halfway up the hill). The views to Kinnoull Hill and the tower are stunning.

Sustrans route 77 (east) over Kinnoull Hill towards Dundee, passing Errol (with a quick stop at Cairn O’Mohr) and coming back the same way or crossing the Tay Bridge and heading back through Fife via Newburgh.

Sustrans route 77 (north) through Pitcairngreen, Almondbank and Bankfoot to Dunkeld, and then further on to Pitlochry (both of which can be combined with a train journey back, or from Dunkeld, a return route can be made via Caputh, Murthly, Stanley and Luncarty). I sometimes combine my cycles with Geocaching, too!

– The Round Perth cycle route is great. A regular short ride for me is to head along Glasgow Road, following the cycle path up to Broxden and then the Round Perth cycle signs past Noah’s Ark, to Tibbermore, where more delightful cake and treats await at Gloagburn Farm Shop.

– The roads around Dunning have spectacular views (and the odd challenging hill). Devil’s Hill from Dunning to Glendevon is a steep but beautiful climb, and then back towards Gleneagles along the valley side showcases some of Perthshire’s most beautiful landscape. I cycled Devil’s Hill when there was still snow in the ground, and it was like cycling through Narnia.

– The golden triangle of roads between the A9 and A85 has some lovely and fairly flat cycling circuits, taking in places such as Madderty, Kinkell Bridge, Muthill and Auchterarder; villages and towns with interesting sights and history.

– The Loch Leven Heritage trail is an excellent 13-mile loop on flat car-free trails (more suitable for hybrid, cross or mountain bikes than road bikes). It’s great for children as there is a playpark, too. The RSPB Loch Leven Reserve, Loch Leven’s Larder and the Boathouse Restaurant are all on the way and there are several beaches to stop at and skim some pebbles or swim, or combine with a visit to Lochleven Castle by boat in the summer. The trail is full of geocaches too.

Sustrans route 775 from Perth, through Bridge of Earn, to Milnathort and Kinross is great (and the 17 miles to Milnathort will work up an appetite to visit Heaven Scent Café before heading back the same way, or coming back via the B996 and A912 after Glenfarg and cutting back onto the cycle routes around Bridge of Earn at the junction with the A913).


What do you love about cycling in Perthshire?

Perthshire is a great location to cycle in because whatever direction you go in, there are miles upon miles of quiet country roads, varied landscapes and of course, cafés to get cake to fuel your journey.

There are some great organisations, clubs and events out there, too. The Coupar Angus Cycling Hub is a great initiative that aims to get more people cycling. They held a Belles & Buns cycle on 19th May round Dunkeld and Coupar Angus, which was great. I’m looking forward to volunteering at the Mini Enduro at the Cream o’ the Croft event.

Perth & Kinross Council are great for getting kids into cycling. The Bikeability course is heavily promoted in schools. They are always looking for volunteers to run the course!

The Family

Claire and Mario Peeters love cycling with their two teenage girls. The family’s Dutch-Scots heritage stands them in good stead and they all enjoy taking off for the day on their bikes, stopping off for lunch or coffee along the way.

 Where do you cycle in Perthshire?

 We love cycling over the North Inch in Perth and up to Inveralmond. Kinfauns is also great and I absolutely love the route over the Queen’s Bridge and following the old railway path by the riverside.

What do you love about cycling in Perthshire?

It’s all on our doorstep! The scenery is beautiful, with so many different terrains, but you don’t have to be professionals as you can choose your route to suit different levels – most are easy and there are plenty of places to stop off for food. You can bribe teenagers with ice cream stops/picnics along the way… and I love that it gets them off their iPads and out of the house!

The Weekend Adventurer

Where do you cycle in Perthshire?

I like cycling the hills between Perth and Dundee. I go up the back of Kinnoull Hill, past Deuchny Wood, across to the top, then past Gallowmyre and down the steep hill at Pitroddie. I also like the Rhynd/Moncreiffe Hill circular loop that comes out at Bridge of Earn.

What do you love about cycling in Perthshire?

The roads I cycle on are peaceful, with not much traffic, especially on a Sunday; some of them are actually marked as cycling-friendly. But one if the best things is that so many of them interconnect, so you can have a choice of different route lengths; I can pick from a 10-mile route up to a 30-mile one. There are nice contrasts in scenery and landscapes, and the roads and tracks are varied and challenging, from rolling hills to steep climbs or flatter sections. The views are fantastic, too. Perthshire’s got everything, really!

 

Cycling and biking events

As you can imagine, Perth now has a brilliant array of cycling and biking events, for everyone from beginners to experts. Here’s our snapshot of what’s coming up:

  • Cream o’ the Croft (including Mini Enduro) – Scotland’s family-friendly, fun-packed Mountain Bike Festival, 15th to 17th June 2018
  • Monster Balance Bike ChallengeSunday 17th June 2018; design and build a Monster Balance Bike to race at the Cream O’ The Croft and Eliminator bike festivals!
  • Coupar Angus Cycling Festival – Sunday 17th – Sunday 24th June 2018 (includes talk by Mark Beaumont and the Ballo Enduro event)
  • Fair City Enduroa spectacular Halloween-themed biking event on 27th October 2018, Perth
  • Belles on Bikes Tayside – varied and interesting monthly cycle rides for women.
  • ByCycle, the Perth & Kinross Cycle Campaign – lots of events including a weekly Wednesday cycle round different parts of Perth & Kinross.
  • Cateran Sportive – an exciting road challenge in and around the Cateran Trail, 18th August 2018.
  • Sportive Kinross – a well-established event with three levels of difficulty; takes place annually in April.
  • Étape Caledonia – every May, this sell-out event attracts riders from all over the country to take on truly breathtaking rides through the spectacular Scottish Highlands.
  • Ochil Hills 100 Sportive – annually in June; takes in some of the best of Perth & Kinross cycle routes.
  • And don’t miss Mark Beaumont’s 80 Days Around the World event in Perth in September 2018!

 

Where to buy / hire / get advice

 

 

Check out our cycling map

 

 

Follow us on social media / get our news email

For all the latest news, events and information about what’s happening in Perth and Perthshire, you can follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and sign up to our email newsletter.