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TOP 5 ROAD BIKING ROUTES FROM AVIEMORE

Aviemore is one of Scotland’s most popular tourist destinations, catering for families and serious adventurers alike. There is an infinite array of activities, with many a Munro or Corbett to climb and miles of woodland and lochs to explore. Road biking might not be the first activity you think of when planning a trip to Aviemore & the Cairngorms, but with miles of hilly and scenic roads, it's well worth grabbing the road bike and hitting the tarmac the next time you visit. Here, Josh from our Aviemore store has picked some of his favourite routes to ride around Britain’s largest national park.

Josh is the Blues Ski supervisor in our Aviemore store. When not carving powder he can be found carving turns on the bike, on road and off, as well as getting out camping and exploring the hills.

Kingussie

Distance - 25km (Kincraig) // 47km (Kingussie) // 97km (Laggan) - View Map at Plot-a-Route.com

With flowy, undulating roads and a few short, stinging climbs to spice things up, the Kingussie loop is a favourite amongst local riders. A highlight on the outward journey is the view of Feshiebridge (a great place to stop for a swim on a hot day). However, don’t slow down too much crossing the bridge as you go straight into a short, sharp sprint up the hill. The journey out to Kingussie will then fly by with a few punchy climbs and fast, tight corners. It is well worth stopping at Ruthven Barracks for a final rest, before flying through Kingussie and back to Aviemore on the main road.

The ride can be extended by keeping the pedals turning on towards Laggan, doubling the length of the loop. Going the extra miles is well worth it for some more amazing views on quiet, open roads, especially cycling over the hill to Dalwhinnie. You will then travel back to Newtonmore via the old A9, which, although rough in places, is a welcome respite from traffic. A visit to Coaldair coffee shop never goes amiss and can be found just off the A889.

If you are strapped for time and would like to shorten the ride, you can turn off at Loch Insh, sprint up the hill through Kincraig and head back towards Aviemore.

VITAL STATS

  • DISTANCE // 25km (Kincraig) - 47km (Kingussie) - 97km (Laggan)
  • ELEVATION GAIN // 473m (Kingussie)
  • DIFFICULTY // Kincraig is a fairly easy ride, Kingussie of moderate difficulty and Laggan being more suited to the riders with a good endurance level.
  • START/FINISH // It's best to park at the car park at Rothiemurchus, situated to the south of Aviemore
  • RIDE HIGHLIGHT // Feshiebridge & Ruthven Barracks. The castle was built in the early 1700s and is great place to stop to break up the ride and learn a bit about the history of the area and expand your knowledge of the Jacobites.
  • ROUTE MAP // View & Download Map at Plot-a-Route.com


Cairngorm Hill Climb

Distance - 33km - View Map at Plot-a-Route.com

The ride up to the Cairngorm carpark (on the sixth highest mountain in Scotland) is one of the classic Scottish hill climbs and really is a must for any cyclist. It is best to leave from Aviemore and warm up on the first few kilometres of flat road before heading up the steady climb towards the ski centre. At the base of the hill you will pass Loch Morlich with views over the heavily glaciated landscape of the Cairngorms. You will then travel through Glenmore and begin the challenging accent as you go through the snow gates and onwards up the ski road.

This part of the climb is long and steady through the Glenmore woodland, with the steepest part of the whole climb on the straight up to the Sugarbowl carpark. You are soon rewarded for your efforts as you pass the Sugarbowl and the tree-line with a slight drop in gradient and a chance to catch your breath. The final stretch of the climb has a few steep sections, but the views over Glenmore and Aviemore open up nicely making this section a breeze.

The long decent down Cairngorm Mountain is arguably the best in the area where speeds up to 80km/h can be reached. You then finish with a fast ride gently downhill into Aviemore.

VITAL STATS

  • DISTANCE // 33km
  • ELEVATION GAIN // 529m
  • DIFFICULTY // The hill itself is a challenge and will need to be paced well to insure completion. For advanced riders, you can race your mates or Strava to really get the most out of it.
  • START/FINISH // It's best to start and finish in Aviemore to ensure you get some flatter roads to warm up on.
  • RIDE HIGHLIGHT // There are many stunning views along the way on this ride, but the best (on a clear day) is from the top car park looking over Loch Morlich and towards Aviemore. The descent from the top carpark to Glenmore is my personal highlight on this ride, it really does make up for the hard work on the climb.
  • ROUTE MAP // View & Download Map at Plot-a-Route.com


Loch Garten

Distance - 38km - View Map at Plot-a-Route.com

This ride out to Loch Garten is the ideal ride for beginner to intermediate riders looking for flatter roads but still the challenge of a few short and sharp climbs. Parking at Rothiemurchus, head out as if you were going up towards Cairngorm, then take the first left at Coylumbridge and continue to follow the road until you reach Nethy Bridge. Just as you arrive into Nethy, take the sharp right and head towards Loch Garten. After a few kilometres pedalling through the incredible Caledonian pines, you soon arrive at Loch Garten which is a perfect place to stop and relax, with stunning views all around.

On the return journey, you may choose to head back on the road you came on from Aviemore or through Boat of Garten, and onto the A95. The 1986 gallery in Boat of Garten offers superb coffee and cake, before the final 10km back. I recommend sticking to the back roads on busier times of the year, as the A95 can get hectic.

VITAL STATS

  • DISTANCE // 38km
  • ELEVATION GAIN // 337m
  • DIFFICULTY // This route is ideal for beginner to intermediate riders, but more advanced riders will still enjoy the ride as there are plenty of hills to sprint up and Strava segments to race.
  • START/FINISH // Rothiemurchus or Aviemore depending on which way you plan to return.
  • RIDE HIGHLIGHT // The highlight of the ride is at Loch Garten, with the stunning view of the loch and if lucky, the possibility of seeing an eagle fly overhead.
  • ROUTE MAP // View & Download Map at Plot-a-Route.com


Lochindorb

Distance - 50km - View Map at Plot-a-Route.com

The scenic Lochindorb loop is one of the lesser known routes in the area and is often forgotten, even by locals. For me, it is a must ride and one of my favourite routes, with the more barren landscape reminding me of riding in the west coast of Scotland. Parking in Carrbridge, start by heading along the back road towards Grantown On Spey. This road is usually quiet but you will need to ride the final section of the A95 into Grantown. If you are on a coffee ride mission, I would recommend stopping in Grantown as the next cafe won’t be until the end of the ride. You then head onto the fast, undulating roads surrounded by moorlands towards Lochindorb. This is quite a busy road but has lots of open space and places for overtaking. After following the Old Military road (A939) for 11km, you drop down to the left onto the single-track road towards the Loch.

My highlight of the ride is climbing over the hill revealing the fantastic view of the Loch. It is well worth taking the time to stop and admire the view of the island and Lochindorb castle. The landscape is made even more spectacular when the heather is in bloom and you are surrounded by a carpet of purple. You will then continue to follow the open, single-track road, before taking a left turn on the B9007. The return leg of the journey is often a good challenge, with the wind in your face and many a short, sharp climb to catch you out. To finish the ride, you will take a right at the end of the B9007, back into Carrbridge.

VITAL STATS

  • DISTANCE // 50km
  • ELEVATION GAIN // 463m
  • DIFFICULTY // The route is ideal for riders with a moderate level of fitness. If looking for more of a challenge, the ride can be extended by continuing to the Dava and then to Ferness.
  • START/FINISH // Car park in the centre of Carrbridge, although starting in Aviemore is fine if you are happy with riding on the busy A95.
  • RIDE HIGHLIGHT // The view of Lochindorb and the quiet country roads.
  • ROUTE MAP // View & Download Map at Plot-a-Route.com


The Lecht

Distance - 106km - View Map at Plot-a-Route.com

With over 100km of riding and three challenging climbs along the way, this ride is the longest and the most challenging route on the list, but equally, it is one of the most rewarding.

For this route, follow the same road as if you were heading to do the Loch Garten loop. Rather than turning right towards Loch Garten, carry on into Nethy and turn right just before the hotel. Carry on this road towards the first main climb that is known to locals as “Heart Break Hill”. Although the shortest, it will certainly raise your heart rate. Looking back, you will have an amazing view of the Cairngorms from a distance.

At the end of the climb you will take a right onto the Old Military Road and enjoy some faster riding. The next challenge, with leg burning sections of 20% gradient, comes straight after a fast, technical decent, down into the Bridge of Brown valley. The road then continues through to the highest village in the Highlands of Scotland, Tomintoul. The landscape here is noticeably different to the Cairngorm mountain range and is less glacially sculpted, with beautiful rolling hills.

Once out of Tomintoul, a sharp right is taken up the Lecht road. Most of this road is straight and open, so allows plenty of space for cars overtaking but does begin to narrow as you approach the final ascent, where care needs to be taken. The third challenging climb up to the Lecht Ski centre reaches 20% in one section but you soon arrive to your reward of coffee and cake at the Lecht café.

The return leg of the journey is a breeze in comparison to the outward journey with great rewards for your hard work on the climb out; superb views with high speed sections.

VITAL STATS

  • DISTANCE // 106km
  • ELEVATION GAIN // 1,134m
  • DIFFICULTY // Suited to riders with good endurance levels and riders willing to suffer on the climbs.
  • START/FINISH // Car park at Rothiemurchus.
  • RIDE HIGHLIGHT // The views along the ride are stunning and the downhill reward is a real highlight.
  • ROUTE MAP // View & Download Map at Plot-a-Route.com

Feeling inspired to ride? Pop into your local Tiso or Alpine Bikes store for local route advice on your next adventure, and don't forget to share your ride with us on Instagram using #mytiso. Thanks to Josh (@joshlavers) & photographer Julia Kenneth (@juliakenneth).


Share all your adventures with us on Instagram using #mytiso! We've had over 50,000 images tagged in Instagram from throughout Scotland and around the world. If you need some inspiration for you next trip - look no further!

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