Cycling

Shetland offers many quiet, relatively flat roads for cycle touring, and there are bike hire shops in Lerwick and Unst, with electric, road and mountain bikes available.

The beauty of the islands attracts those who are drawn to the natural environment. Outdoor enthusiasts love to push the boundaries by climbing the highest peaks, walking the long distance paths or cycling to the extremities of the land. Shetland offers the richest reward to those who recognise that Scotland stretches a whole 171 miles (275km) beyond John O’ Groats.

One of the best ways to see the real Shetland is by bike. Cycling offers the opportunity to cover the whole of the islands. You can set your own pace, allowing you to experience all aspects of Shetland life.

Shetland has everything a cyclist could hope for. The various islands are accessible by regular ferry services and with 1000 miles of road waiting to be explored, excellent road surfaces and low volume traffic on even the main roads, cycling is a pleasure.

Though the islands are far from flat, most gradients are gentle. Main roads are wide and many sections also have a hard shoulder. In most places you can see and be seen a long way ahead. While the hills may be predictable, weather conditions are less so, but that's all part of the challenge.

If you do encounter a mechanical problem there are two cycle repair shops in Lerwick and cycle hire is also available.

With 19 hours of daylight in midsummer, endless varied scenery and breathtaking views to be explored, Shetland is the cyclist's dream.

Find a route

Select from the options below to find your ideal cycle route.

Areas

Distance

Type

Bike Hire

There are a number of places from which you can hire bikes in Shetland.

BusinessAreaContact
Grantfield GarageLerwick
Sumburgh HotelSumburgh
Shetland Community Bike ProjectLerwickTel: 01595 690077; Email: shetlandbikeproject@ukfsn.org
P&T CoachesUnstTel: 01957 711666; Email: burnsptcoaches@aol.com
Unst Cycle HireUnst

It is possible to take your own bike to Shetland also. Northlink Ferries are able to take bikes from Aberdeen to Shetland, on their daily route, free of charge. It is also possible to transport bikes on Loganair flights from all major Scottish airports. To find out more please consult Loganair's web page explaining their rules on excess baggage.

North Sea Cycle Route

The North Sea Cycle Route is a 6,000 km chain of breathtaking routes and exciting experiences just waiting for the cycling tourist. It is based on existing national, regional and local cycle routes in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Scotland and England.

The cycle route was officially opened in 2001, and is an international project between the countries participating, with 68 partners across the 8 countries. In 2003, the route was awarded a Guinness Record certificate confirming that the North SeaRoute is the world's longest cycle route.

The overall aim of the project is to develop the North Sea Cycle Route as the backbone of cycle tourism around the North Sea. This will not only assist development in rural areas, but also benefit the health of participants.

The Route explores an immense variety of scenery and experiences in the eight Northern European countries and provides the opportunity to cycle through cities, charming towns, villages and countryside. It will take you through coastal areas with sandy beaches and cliffs, as well as inland through woods and past traditional farmhouses.

With any of these routes, there is no need to worry about finding your way back, you may simply continue cycling and end up back where you started. You can also use one of the many ferry links to get back home. Simply follow the route using the dark blue bicycle logo. Before setting off, plan your route carefully, and use the planning tools offered by the website to create your own personal cycle guide www.northsea-cycle.com.

A network of international links encircling the North Sea, passes through Shetland. The routes are signposted and a map is available from the Visitor Information Centre in Lerwick.
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