Road biking events in Cairngorms National Park

Road cycling in Scotland is increasingly popular – and so too are the events that encourage riders to explore new places and enjoy new challenges.

The Cairngorms National Park plays host to a variety of cycling events, including sportives, audax and multi-sport races with a road cycling section.

Road cycling events in 2018

King of the Mountains Sportive

When: May 13 2018

Type: Cycle sportive

Distances: 110 mile and 100km

Image: Ed Smith

What goes up must come down and in the King of the Mountains Sportive this means some tough climbs followed by fabulous sweeping descents.

Riders will enjoy the stunning landscapes of Cairngorms National Park and Royal Deeside on two routes.

The 110-mile route includes 3,700m of total ascent and six major climbs rewarded by long descents winding through a landscape dotted with distilleries, castles, rivers and lochs.

The 100km route is an “up River Don and down River Dee” classic with 1,900m of climbing and mountain views of Lochnagar and the Cairngorms.

Enter for 2017 at King of the Mountains

3pistes Sportive

When: TBC

Type: Cycle sportive

Distance: 102 miles

Image: Wilderness Scotland

Image courtesy of

Billed as the UK’s highest cycle sportive it takes in 2,000 m of climbing via three ski resorts of Glenshee, The Lecht and Cairngorm Mountain. The climbs might be challenging but the descents are truly fabulous.

Keep an eye on 3pistes for 2018 entries.

5pistes Tour of the Highlands

When: May 26-28th 2018

Type: Multi-day cycle sportive

Distance: 300 miles

Image: Ed Smith

The 3pistes cycle sportive is extended to a three-day ride with riders visiting five Scottish ski resorts. You can ride one, two or the full three days. The 300 miles includes an epic 6,116m of total ascent.

Keep an eye on 5pistes Tour of the Highlands for 2018 entries.

Rock & Road sportives

When: June (date tbc)

Type: Cycle sportive

Distance: 100 mile and 100km

See Rock & Road Festival

Image: Ed Smith

Part of a cycling festival weekend, there are two Rock & Road Sportives that start in Tomintoul. The 100-mile route follows quiet roads and includes lots of hills (total ascent 2296m), including The Lecht Road. It heads through Dufftown, Grantown on Spey and Bridge of Brown. The shorter 100k route has 1,575m of ascent and is a similar route but misses out Grantown and Bridge of Brown.

Corrieyairack Challenge

When: July 7 2018

Type: Multi-sport

Distance: 11.5 mile run; 38.5 road cycle

Image: Corrieyairack Challenge July 2015

The duathlon follows in the footsteps of Bonnie Prince Charlie over Scotland’s highest mountain road from Fort Augustus to Kincraig, in Cairngorms National Park.

Competitors start with an 11.5-mile hilly off road run from Fort Augustus on Ardachy Road and over the Corrieyairack Pass to Melgrave.

A quick transition to bike takes cyclists on an undulating singletrack Old Military Road and into the national park at the western fringes before meeting with the A86 at Laggan.

Cyclists visit further locations in the park including Newtonmore, Kingussie and across the River Spey before heading through Insh and Feshiebridge to Inverdruie. The route heads on to the ski road towards Cairngorm Mountain to finish at Badaguish.

Apply for 2018 at Corrieyairack Challenge

Ride the North

When: August 25 & 26 2018

Type: Cycle challenge

Distance: 175 miles

Image: Ride the North

Ride the North is a two-day cycling challenge that extends to 175 glorious Highlands miles. The first day begins in the foothills of the Cairngorms in Rhynie and follows a linear route into the national park, crossing the boundary at picturesque Glenlivet.

Locations visited in include Tomintoul, Bridge of Brown, Speybridge and Grantown on Spey before riders follow the scenic Old Military Road into Moray. The first day finishes at Culloden, near Inverness.

The second day returns from Inverness to Rhynie along the northern coast of Moray.

The event is not a race nor a sportive, but a challenge ride that celebrates a love of cycling and the scenery in Scotland.

Apply at Ride the North

Rothes Reccie

When: TBC

Start: Newtonmore

Type: Audax

Distance: 202km

Image: Wilderness Scotland

Image courtesy of

One of a series of increasingly popular audax events, the Rothes Recce offers a cycling route from Newtonmore with chick-in controls at Grantown-on-Spey, Rothes, Dufftown and Tomintoul, plus two information controls. Audax riders must navigate between controls and check in at each to complete the ride.

The event is organised by CTC Highland. Book a place at Rothes Reccie Audax

Grantown Gallop

When: TBC

Start: Newtonmore

Type: Audax

Distance: 104km

The River Feshie

The Grantown Gallop is a shorter audax ride with controls at Grantown-on- Spey and Inshriach, plus one information control.

The event is organised by CTC Highland. Book a place at Grantown Gallop Audax

Quilter Cheviot Etape Royale

When: TBC

Type: Cycling sportive

Distances: 50 or 100 miles

Image: Over the Lecht Ed Smith

The first and only 100-mile closed road cycle sportive in Scotland returns for a second year to the national park.

The challenging sportive, with a total ascent of 2996m, showcase some of the fabulous cycling roads in the national park.

Riders start in Ballater and pedal through Moray’s famous whisky country before a testing climb on one of the UK’s highest roads to reach The Lecht Ski Resort. The descent heads into beautiful Royal Deeside.

Perhaps you saw the Etape Royale route on ITV’s “The Cycle Show” when Scottish adventurer Mark Beaumont tested the entire 100 miles on a Penny Farthing.

* Please do tell us about any other road cycling events in the Cairngorms National Park.

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