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Cairngorms cycling year: perfect backdrop, perfect timing!

By Tom Ramage

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A packed calendar of biking events is under way in the Cairngorms – and the timing is perfect, with the 2023 UCI World Cycling Championships due in Scotland this this summer.

Mark Tate, CEO of VisitCairngorms, said: “As Scotland welcomes the world to the UCI cycling world championships we are thrilled the Cairngorms National Park will be hosting so many cyclists, of all abilities, this year.

ROAD HOG: It's a biker's world in the Cairngorms this year. Picture: Markus Stitz
ROAD HOG: It's a biker's world in the Cairngorms this year. Picture: Markus Stitz

“The park is the perfect backdrop for events and it is great to see the events sector, including our vibrant communities, having the confidence to stage so many amazing events, particularly after some very difficult Covid years.”

BikeMore, in Aviemore, sets the wheels rolling this weekend, with guided routes, free events for all of the family, an evening with international cycling expert and film maker Markus Stitz at Badaguish and a display at Cairngorm Mountain with Clan Stunt team. The event starts on Thursday and carries on until Sunday.

And the events will just keep coming. Many are new for 2023:

Limitlass - a mountain bike festival for women, by women is set for August 18-20. Now in its second year, it will bring three days of skills coaching, guided rides, well-being and entertainment, to the Glen Tanar Estate in Royal Deeside.

The festival won Best MTB Event title at the Scottish Mountain Bike Awards at the Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland Conference in November.

Ride Wild - inspiring bikers to leave the comfort of the trail centres.

PIGGYBACK: Roles reversed in the Cairngorms, for the hill. Picture: Ed Smith Photography
PIGGYBACK: Roles reversed in the Cairngorms, for the hill. Picture: Ed Smith Photography

Graviemore - where the atmosphere is as superb as the riding.

And for the truly committed thrill seekers there is the third round of the Scottish Downhill Series at Glenshee in June.

Largely hosted by local businesses and community cycling groups, these are authentic biking experiences delivered by the folk in the know. Thrive Ballater is a prime example.

Biking in the Cairngorms is world class and many of the the trails are also family and beginner friendly. Bikers can take in the spectacular scenery without the necessity to venture into gnarly single track.

Markus Stitz, partnered with VisitCairngorms in producing the film Home Is Where The Trail Takes You, showcasing cycling in the Cairngorms as “an exceptional place for cycling”, so much so, that he will be bringing his Dirt Dash event to the Cateran Ecomuseum in August.

The Kingussie Bikeathon celebrates its 30th anniversary on June 17 with a family ceilidh followed on the 18th with the ride,with two routes - a 26.2 mile family friendly and a 35 mile gravel/MTB for more experienced bikers.

New for 2023 on June 24 is a celebration of cycling for all the family. Macdonald Aviemore Resort is the main base but events are taking place in various communities. This event is free and open to anyone.

New for this year is the Cateran Dirt Dash on August 26/27 a co-operation with the Cateran

Ecomuseum in Perthshire and Angus, organised by Markus Stitz, a self-supported

bikepacking event over two days.

Also new is the Ride Wild Festival on September 2/3 for riders of all levels to step out of their comfort zone.

Graviemore on September 15-17 is a classic featuring camping, music, food and biking from breathtaking Inshriach.

Thrive Ballater celebrates its second year on September 30 and October 1.

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