"A cycling vacation in the land where the pedal cycle was invented is just like coming home"

A cycling vacation in Scotland is like coming home – for believe it or not, Scotland is the home of cycling as we know it today. In a little smithy still standing in the tiny village of Keir in Nithsdale, north of Dumfries in Scotland's southwest, a man called Kirkpatrick McMillan invented the pedal cycle in 1840.

A replica of the original can be seen at nearby Drumlanrig Castle, home of the Duke of Queensberry and Buccleuch, and another one may be found in the Loreburn shopping complex in Dumfries town.

Quiet country roads practically made for cycling

Scotland, with its over-abundance of quiet country roads, is practically made for a cycling vacation.

You can go for miles and miles along many of these excellently surfaced, yet hardly used routes without meeting a single motorised vehicle.

I love cycling, and I'm sure you do too. You move in a completely different dimension of time and you see and experience so much more on a bike!

At least, I notice that when I'm on a cycling tour I tend to appreciate tiny little aspects all around me that you just wouldn't experience if you travelled the same route by car. Do you find that too?

Welcome wherever you go

The great thing about a cycling vacation in Scotland is the sheer variety of options available to you. And a key element is that you will be made welcome wherever you go. In fact, there is a special sign which lets you immediately recognise accommodation where cyclists are particularly welcome.

Cycling vacation cyclists welcome logo

Such hotels, B&Bs and guesthouses generally also have special "accommodation" for your "best friend" during your cycling vacation, your bike.

Now, you can either bring your own bicycle with you – many airlines have special rates, ask your travel agent – or you can hire a bike on arrival in Scotland. (Of course, if you happen to live elsewhere in the UK it's even simpler to bring your own bike.)

On a guided cycling vacation you let someone else take care of the rest

There are also a number of small businesses that offer guided tours, where they will even carry all your luggage for you.

I know of at least one in Dumfries and Galloway where I live, called Galloway Cycling Holidays. They cooperate with a local cycle shop to ensure they always offer the best equipment to their clientele, which meanwhile comes from around the world.

This is just one of a growing number of specialists around the country offering a wide range of cycling vacation options.

Planning a cycling trip in Scotland on your own account is made easier by the existence of a large network of routes as part of the Sustrans national British scheme of cycle routes covering the entire country – 1300 miles across Scotland!

Take a look at your options here:

  • The Highlands and Skye

  • Scotland Castle and Whisky Country – Royal Deeside to Speyside

  • Perthshire, Angus and Dundee, and the Kingdom of Fife

  • West Highlands & Islands, Loch Lomond, Stirling and the Trossachs

  • South of Scotland

    Would you like to get hold of a FREE official "Cycle Scotland" guide, with loads of information on cycling all around the country, including contact details, best times and where to stay? Of course you would!

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