Road is one of the easiest and most accessible forms of cycling there is, so if you’ve got a bike then check out our guide to getting started.
Maybe you want to be more active, ditching the car in favour of a leisurely bike ride to work or the shops, or riding with your kids to school, teaching them a skill for life.
Alternatively, you may have seen the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships or the Tour de France, and like the idea of flying along, the wind in your hair. Or maybe you fall somewhere in between and just want to go on leisurely rides – well good news – there is something for everyone.
Road riding can be done on most types of bike, so if you don’t have a road bike but a mountain bike or hybrid instead, don’t let that put you off. Typically a road bike will have slimmer, slick tyres, which allow you to roll along more easily. With gears and brakes, road bikes allow you to navigate urban and rural environments, from hills to traffic lights and everything in between.
Every rider has to start somewhere, and that will often be on bike paths close to where they live, or by tapping into the amazing Sustrans network of cycle routes, which are largely on quiet country lanes. Scotland is blessed with some amazing roads for riding, so whether you want big hills, flat roads that run alongside rivers, or costal views the whole way, you’re spoilt for choice.
To help build your confidence and skills, and find other people to cycle with, check out our Guided Rides, Breeze rides for women, and community group rides, to take the stress out of route planning, navigation and finding the perfect cafe for a mid-ride treat!
Full details of our Let’s Ride recreational cycling programmes can be found here
The other route into road cycling is to join one of our 180 amazing clubs across the country, who’ll be all to happy to help you find your feet. From recreational rides, to ‘club runs’ to structured training sessions, clubs cater for lots of different types of cyclist.
Elgin Cycling Club are one of the most active road clubs in Scotland. They organise events, are part of our Breeze and Bike & Blether Programmes. They have also worked hard to achieve a 50/50 gender split in membership. Recently Elgin applied for funding to host a week of cycling activities, which included a Gran Fondo, Time Trials, a ‘Wacky Races’ ride, a Breeze ride and a Bike & Blether ride with pizza. Elgin are a great example of what you can get out of joining a cycling club, even if you are more interested in the social side of riding!
There are also a whole host of traditional cycling clubs such as Edinburgh RC, Glasgow Nightingale or Stirling Bike Club, clubs with huge youth sections such as Deeside Thistle or West Lothian Clarion, and clubs that focus purely on recreational riding such as Glasgow Gals.
To find your nearest club, check out our club finder tool.
Furthermore, there are a number of closed road cycle circuits in Scotland, that clubs will often use for training sessions, and are a perfect place to build your confidence before heading out onto the roads. The four main closed road facilities at present (although new facilities are popping up all the time thanks to the Cycling Facilities Fund) are:
- Fife Cycle Park
- Linlithgow Cycle Circuit
- Clyde Cycle Circuit
- Bellahouston Park
If you’ve seen the World Champs or Tour de France and want to give racing a go, following in the footsteps of World U23 bronze medallist Anna Shackley who came through the youth ranks at Glasgow Riderz, or Finn Crockett who went from riding local events in the north of Scotland to a Commonwealth Games medal, then you’re in the right place. Whether it’s a road race, a criterium on the circuits mentioned above, or maybe a Time Trial race against the clock, there are regular events across the country that cater for new riders (Cat 4) right up to those with an Elite licenses such as Anna and Finn.
So there you have it – a simple guide to getting into road riding. If you still have any questions, our club development and recreation teams would be happy to help: