By Chloe IrvineSeptember 10th 2021

Fancy a cycle? Instead of passing through Shetland looking out the glass of a car window, why not experience it firsthand with the breeze in your hair, smell of the ocean and sound of birds calling above?

Shetland is a brilliant place to ride a bike. Yes, there may be a fair few hills, but the roads are in great condition and have much less traffic than you'd find on the Scottish mainland. As well as being a great form of exercise, cycling is a great mood booster too, and, with the right equipment, can be one of the most energising ways to explore the islands.

Shetland has a few different bike hire options, catering for a range of age groups and abilities.

Shetland Community Bike Project based in Commercial Road, Lerwick, hires bikes out at £13 per day with a £20 deposit, or £70 per week with a £20 deposit. To hire a Volt Burlington electric bike (great for those Shetland hills!), it's £30 per day and £180 per week with a £50 deposit. It is open weekdays from 9am-4pm and Saturday 9am-12pm.

From Lerwick, you can take the short ferry journey across to the unspoiled island of Bressay, and enjoy some spectacular views back across to the town. Or you can travel west to the village of Scalloway or south to the village of Gulberwick. All are within a few miles reach of the town centre and make for a great day out.

On the North Mainland, electric bikes can be hired from the Hillswick Shop which is open 9am-7pm Monday to Thursday and on Saturdays, 8am-7pm on Friday and 12pm-5pm on Sunday. Electric bike hire costs £15 per day with a £50 deposit, or £75 for a week's hire. Currently, three folding bikes and two non-folding bikes are available. Customers need to provide 24 hours' notice to hire a bike and must be aged over 14 years old.

From Hillswick you can visit the spectacular nearby beach of Roe Sand (pictured above). Other popular destinations for cyclists include: Eshaness, which possesses breathtaking volcanic sea cliffs; North Roe which hosts the largest Northmavine peninsula; and the Hams of Muckle Roe, which is Old Norse for 'harbours of the big red island' and is a brilliant off-road trail.

On the island of Unst, the UK's most northerly point, bicycles can be hired from Unst Leisure Centre. Adults pay £10 per day or £50 for a week. Junior bikes cost £6 per day or £30 for the week. Helmets are included in the cost of the hire and a bike lock, if required. The bikes on offer can also be made family-friendly with trailers on the back for small children or attachable baby-seats.

Unst is rich in stunning beaches, cliffs, wildlife and history as it's one of the greatest sites in Europe for Viking heritage, with the remains of settlements and buildings to be found right beside the roads you are cycling on.

For more on cycling in Shetland and a range of cycle routes across the isles, see our Cycling page.