Want to try cycling but not sure where to start? Well we’ve broken things down by discipline to give you a flavour of what’s out there, but many people try multiple different forms of cycling before they find their favourite, with many doing a variety!
The governing body for cycling in Scotland
A sport for
BMX cycling offers a wide range of challenges across the sport from short, fast racing to freestyle tricks down at your local skatepark or pump track. If you love adrenaline and being creative on your bike whilst ‘playing’ about, BMX is for you. It’s cheap and easy to access too – bikes are smaller than a mountain bike with a single gear and often only one brake.
Cyclocross is a family sport, and in it’s purest form involves riding off-road on a drop bar bike. Traditionally a winter sport, cyclocross often involves getting muddy – it’s a lot of fun and the perfect starting point for children in a safe, fun environment away from the road.
We believe that cycling should be, and is, an inclusive sport, but we continue to strive to cater for everyone’s needs at a local level. Whether you’ve been inspired by the Paralympic Games, or just want to be more active, we have clubs who can cater for those with disabilities – whether they need specialist support or not. Through our Limitless programme, we are breaking down barriers – now it’s your turn.
A discipline that has evolved out of cyclocross and cross country mountain bike, gravel riding uses the same style of bike as cyclocross, often with slightly larger tyres, and involves riding on forestry tracks, landrover tracks and smooth gravel surfaces. It has similarities to road cycling, in that you can go a long way and at a good speed, but is away from the traffic and takes in some beautiful parts of the Scottish countryside that you may not have even known existed.
Mountain Bike (Cross Country)
Just like downhill, cross country mountain biking let’s you explore the path less travelled, enjoying the beauty of Scotland in style. Cross Country combines a bit of everything mountain biking offers – the ups, the downs, and the flat bits in between. Whether you ride at a purpose built trail centre, or explore the paths and trails where you live is up to you.
Mountain Bike (Downhill)
Escape from the real world and experience hills, trails and nature on two wheels with mountain biking. Downhill is for those who don’t relish riding uphill, but love the thrill and adrenaline rush of going downhill at speed. Downhill requires technical skill and fearlessness – but don’t worry, everyone has to start somewhere!
An emerging discipline in Scotland, pump track is the perfect entry level discipline. Similar to BMX, it involves a purpose built facility that is made up of banked (bermed) corners, a series of mounds or rollers and sometimes jumps. Pump tracks can be ridden on any kind of bike, but are best suited to a BMX or mountain bike. As the name suggests, the more you pump your arms into the rollers the faster you’ll go.
Scottish Cycling offers a wide range of recreational rides for those who want to ride their bikes with like-minded people, and maybe enjoy a café stop along the way! Most of these rides are on roads/bike paths but we do offer some mountain bike rides too. Our programmes are split into three areas:
1) Club run activity
2) Breeze rides, which are free, fun and friendly and aimed at helping women (re)discover the joys of cycling
3) Guided rides are also free, these steady rides allow riders to cover a good distance and conquer some hills in the comfort of a group
Most people are familiar with road riding – whether it’s on a specific road bike or a hybrid, it’s the most popular form of our sport. Most of our clubs offer road rides of varying lengths and intensities – we’d recommend speaking to your local club and going along and giving it a try. Nervous about joining a club? Then check out our recreational rides above, which make a great stepping stone.
Not to be confused with motorcycle speedway, speedway is one of our lesser known disciplines, that looks and feels very similar to it’s motorized equivalent. Riding around a small dirt oval, riders will slide through the corners to take the fastest line. Even better, it’s accessible, affordable and family-oriented.
Synonymous with the Olympic or Commonwealth Games, track cycling is often perceived to be a super elite activity, but that isn’t the case – our Scottish Cycling community sees people from 8 to 80 riding the track! Whether it’s indoors at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome in Glasgow, or outdoors in Dundee, track cycling can be enjoyed by anyone. Simply book a session (which in Glasgow includes bike hire) and give it a shot – you’ll be riding those banks in no time at all.
How to get involved
Whether you want to get fit, join a new social scene, race or just get around under your own steam, Scottish Cycling has a range of ways to help you get into cycling, whether it’s road, track, mountain biking, BMX, cyclo-cross, cycle speedway or para-cycling. No matter what your aspirations are, we can support you on your cycling journey.