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Muddy Tales

Argyll’s islands, the Inner Hebrides and Bute, offer fantastic bikepacking filled with beautiful beaches, some of the world’s best distilleries, great gravel tracks and local food experiences. The new Bikepacking Argyll’s Islands route, created by Bikepacking Scotland and commissioned by CalMac Ferries and Wild About Argyll, maps a 496km-journey (308 miles) connecting the Isles of Mull, Jura, Islay and Bute on a mixture of gravel tracks, singletrail, cycle paths and roads. The route also makes great use of ScotRail’s Highland Explorer, which provides space for up to 20 bikes, including tandems. The newly introduced train carriage offers a bike-friendly train connection between Glasgow, host city of the UCI Cycling World Championships in 2023, and Oban, where the new route begins. Bikes travel free on trains and all ferries along the route.   For new bikepackers and gravel cyclists Bikepacking Argyll’s Islands offers a wide range of accommodation and incentives to stop. Experienced cyclists

Explore Your Boundaries - a new documentary by Mark Beaumont and Markus Stitz about gravel routes following the council boundaries of Clackmannanshire, East Lothian, Falkirk and Glasgow  ‘Explore Your Boundaries’ was inspired by the desire to create adventures close to home, a way of seeing the familiar in unfamiliar ways. Mark Beaumont, Guinness World Record holder for the fastest circumnavigation by bike, and Markus Stitz, singlespeed round the world cyclist and filmmaker, mapped 24 Scottish council boundary routes to encourage people to stay active, whether cycling or walking, and to inspire adventures that started and finished at their front door. To create the routes, they uploaded the council boundaries GPX files onto the mapping platform Komoot and matched them with the closest existing pathways. This ‘Explore Your Boundaries’ documentary captures their four adventures in Clackmannanshire, East Lothian and Falkirk, undertaken from June to September 2021, and Glasgow, undertaken during COP26, the

 Ecomuseum, 'Built to Last' is the latest film from round the world singlespeed cyclist and founder of Bikepacking Scotland Markus Stitz. The 10-minute documentary featuring Bob Ellis, founder of the Cateran Trail, Neil Tuer, owner of Alyth Cycles and Jane Wilkinson, willow weaver at Special Branch Baskets, with music from Dave Macfarlane, launches seven new cycling itineraries designed for road, mountain, gravel and touring bikes as part of Travel for All Our Tomorrows - which aims to develop new regenerative tourism experiences in the Cateran Ecomuseum.   The Cateran Ecomuseum is a museum without walls, close to the cities of Perth and Dundee in Scotland, both accessible by a new electric bus service from Edinburgh. One of a growing number of ecomuseums worldwide, all its sites are outside. Community led, it empowers local people to take an active role in preserving the objects, sites and cultural practices they value. Providing over 20

“Get yourself a Gravel bike, you’ll love it, we can go on some rides together”. So many adventures seem to start off innocently enough with conversations like this between a couple of mates. In my case the protagonist was a chap we’ll call Jules, mainly because that’s his name and I have no interest in protecting the guilty! I bought a Sonder Camino, we rode the King Alfred’s Way with another mate who we’ll call Dan, I fell off twice, bought some 650b wheels with bigger tyres on, and thought no more of it until another conversation where the word Dales was swiftly followed by the word Divide. Meantime I seem to have developed an aversion to shaving and an attraction to tracks and trails I’ve always previously ridden past. So, from the relative security of hiding behind my COVI(bear)D, I entered the Dales Divide! The beard started out as a bit of

... highlighting the joys of winter cycling around Scotland’s Capital      With a new film Edinburgh-based Markus Stitz and Mark Beaumont encourage more people to enjoy winter cycling in the future. Filmed on a newly created gravel bike route, which follows the local authority boundary of the City of Edinburgh, and additional locations close to the Scottish Capital during January and February 2021, ‘Explore your Boundaries’ is a short documentary that highlights the beauty and challenges of exploring places on two wheels in snow and ice.   Markus Stitz, the first person to ride a single-speed bicycle around the world, and Mark Beaumont, the Guinness World Record holder for the fastest circumnavigation in 78 days and 14 hours, are both Edinburgh residents. Teaming up to film ‘Explore your Boundaries' was inspired by encouraging people to see familiar and local areas in unfamiliar ways, showing how great adventures can happen from your own front door.   Mark

 Filmed on the ‘Drovers Trail’, a new 331 km-long gravel bikepacking route spanning almost the entirety of Highland Perthshire, 'Drovers' tells the story of the ancient drove roads, an important part of Scottish history, which inspired Scotland's greatest writers like Robert Burns and Sir Walter Scott. The new video from round the world singlespeed cyclist and film-maker Markus Stitz follows him on his adventure along the route, retracing the footsteps of the cattle drovers on their journey from the Cairngorms through the Tay Valley to Crieff, which became Scotland's most important cattle market at the end of the 17th century. The project was led and administered by Highland Perthshire Cycling, a charity set up to promote, encourage and enable more cycling in Highland Perthshire for both locals and visitors, and delivered by Bikepacking Scotland. It received a grant of £9,835 from Rural Perth & Kinross LEADER Programme 2014-2020: The European Agricultural

(Photos by Jered Gruber) For cyclists who love ‘gravel’ riding, the Duke’s Gold gravel tour slingshots you into one of Scotland’s most magnificent areas of natural beauty – the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park where there is an abundance of great gravel and mixed-terrain along forest tracks, fire roads and dirt single tracks. We love anything that means more folk are out having fun riding bikes in the dirt (or grit). Riding gravel bikes combines so many of our favourite things – mountains and spectacular locations – and the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park is one of the most magnificent locations of them all. Combining the off-road capability of mountain biking and the lightweight, efficiency of road biking – take the tracks less travelled with us for exhilarating discoveries amidst Scotland’s hidden forests and glens. The Duke’s Gold gravel weekend break takes place in one of Britains most magnificent areas of

Beat the winter blues with the prospect of endless trails, views that go on and on, delicious cake and coffee stops - award-winning cycling and hospitality partners Go-Where Scotland and the Oak Tree Inn are offering you a £50 incentive to experience first hand what makes cycling in Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park so special Cycle tour operator Go-Where Scotland is offering a two-wheeled incentive to beat the winter blues. UK Gravelistas can experience their kind of gravel cycling by spending three days in April exploring this largely untapped corner of Scotland with them by bike. Better still, they’re offering friends of UK Gravel £50 off their first booking (using the code DUKES50 at the online checkout). Andy Stanford, local resident and professional bike guide: “The whole Gravel scene here in the Trossachs has exploded! Every weekend I'm seeing folk turn up in the village here in Aberfoyle, pulling bikes off racks/vans,

The area is well known to mountain bikers and boasts around 24,000 acres of woodland to explore. We have organized social rides in the Forest for over a year, but found that the single group format was presenting a barrier to many who were unsure of the pace or distance involved. That is the beauty of this new format. You start when you like, rest when you like and travel at your own pace. Riding the route on a single day should help to keep some of the social elements of previous rides. Self-supported and self-paced; there are no entry fees, no marshals, no route markers, no feed stations and no mechanical or first aid support. All we supply are great routes along the best gravel paths, lanes and byways that the Forest has to offer. The series will kick off with ‘A Sunday in Hell’ on July 5 th. This is

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