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Cycling around Oban

 

The Oban Sportive takes place every year and is a real test of endurance. It attracts cyclists from afar as well as a large local contingent.

 

Oban is very fortunate in having many great places to to go cycling, suitable both for mountain bikes and road bikes. Mountain bikes are well served with forest tracks and paths and there are single track tarmac roads suitable for all bikes so you can ride from Oban to Connel or Oban to Taynuilt for example along beautiful quiet glens, with plenty of opportunities for whizzing down the hills.... once you have climbed up them!

 

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Click maps above to enlarge

The Caledonia Way, National Route 78 of the National Cycle Network, runs from Campbeltown to Inverness, along 235 miles of outstanding scenery.   

The 122 mile, mainly on-road leg between Oban and Campbeltown offers the chance to discover Lorn, Knapdale and the Kintyre peninsula, with incredible views of the islands of Jura and Arran, as well as charming harbours, castles, abbeys and ancient stones. Adventurous riders will love the extensive network of forest trails that branch off this route. 

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The North Connel to Benderloch link provides the first traffic-free connection between the villages. Image courtesy of Sustrans. 

Most of the Oban to Fort William 48-mile leg is on a designated path, with a few sections on road.  Some of the path between Oban and Ballachulish follows a former railway line and boasts great views of the coast and fairly level riding. While there is no dedicated cycle route between the Corran Ferry and Fort William, you can access quiet single-track road along the west side of Loch Linnhe by taking the Corran and Cambusnagaul Ferries. 

Oban also has many local islands which are perfect for cycling. The ferries take cycles on for free. Kerrera is the nearest island and is only suitable for mountain or hybrid bikes. Lismore is a perfect size for cycling round with good quiet roads and an excellent tearoom and museum. Lismore can be reached from Oban and Appin. You can catch the ferry from Oban to Lismore, cycle up the island and catch the ferry back to Appin then cycle back to Oban mostly on cycle paths.

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Image courtesy of Stephen Lawson 

The beautiful, fairly flat slate island of Luing is ideal for exploring on bike, and Luing Bike Hire rents bicycles for all ages. Make sure you stop at the Atlantic Islands Centre for refreshment along the way. 

Mull is only 40 minutes away and is also a good destination for cycling. The roads are busier though, with more heavy traffic so possibly not suitable for beginners or nervous cyclists. Ferry times can be found on the Calmac website.