I put that top of the list because I am often asked which is the best time of the year to come to Scotland. It is a very difficult question to answer because we can have beautiful days at any time of year... and terrible days also! In general the summer temperatures are 60-80 degrees Fahrenheight and 45-60 degrees in spring and autumn. Recent years seem to have produced warmer, drier summers but the countryside would not be so wonderfully green if there was not occasional rain. You can have all four seasons in one day... a bright morning can turn into a wet afternoon and vice versa. In general the rainfall is greater in the west than in the central and eastern regions and the spring and autumn are drier than July and August. Perhaps the best time to come to Scotland is the early or late season avoiding the main tourist months of July and August. However do not be disapointed if your vacation time does not permit this as our routes use quiet roads and cycle paths where possible.
The accepted principle of "layering" should be followed. Several light layers are preferable to one thick garment and the outermost layer should be windproof, waterproof and made from a breathable fabric. T-shirts and shorts or preferably padded cycling shorts are fine for a warm summer day but you should also carry your waterproof top and trousers. Strong trainers are suitable for cycling and also comfortable for walking. A hat, cycling gloves and warm fleece type jacket are wise additions for any cold weather in early or late season.
In general our routes are designed for the tourist who likes cycling rather than the serious biker but where possible each day's route includes a choice of distances. We use minor roads, cycle paths, tow paths and forest trails and where it is necesary to avoid a busy main road a train journey will be included. All routes will have some hills... but not mountains... and the best way to judge the difficulty of a route is by the daily distances. What may be an easy ride on a sunny day can seem twice as long when wet and windy and for that reason we advise between 20ml(32km) and 30ml(48km) per day. The difficult tours are indicated and together with the mountain bike routes they require a higher level of fitness. For your own comfort we advise that you prepare with some cycling before arrival. If you are creating your own itinerary it is wise to remember that the roads wind there way through glens and over hills and what looks a short distance on a map may not be practical in the time at your disposal. This is particularly true in relation to the Hebridies where ferry travel is required and one week is not sufficient time to enjoy the magic of these special Islands. In some cases we advise the use of trains as on some roads the traffic is not cycle friendly. For advice on any matter connected with routes in Scotland please contact our office.
Your cycle provided by ourselves will be in excellent condition and serviced before departure. Our cycles are fitted with a rear light on the pannier frame, a easily attached front light and we provide you with a reflective vest. If you are bringing your own bike a pre holiday check is advised and bring suitable spare parts- there may be no bike shop for many miles!. Dress in bright or reflective colours and it is wise to wear a helmet. Always lock your cycle when leaving it unattended. Leave space between members of a group and watch for loose road surfaces. A compass and navigation skills are advised for mountain bike tours and two persons is the minimum safe number in the party. Take care when sharing a route with walkers and give adequate warning of your approach.
You require your own insurance for cancellation cover, personal injury and for any injury to a third party. Please purchase the appropriate travel insurance in your home country before departure.
Buses are the cheapest form of public transport and there is a good network throughout Scotland but unfortunately they do not usually carry bikes. Trains do but only very limited numbers and a reservation is essential. Cycle charges on ferries are minimal and reservations are not normally required. Car hire is widely available both from international companies and local garages. We can arrange transfers from airports and bus/rail stations and a transfer is normally necessary if you are bringing your own bike particularly if it is boxed. We can arrange parking for visitors arriving by car but there is not always secure parking available. Please feel free to consult Scottish Cycling Holidays for advice about any transport requirement.