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Pedal for Scotland: Do I go for 47 miles or 107 miles?

Written by Fiona July 23 2012

The 2012 freshnlo Pedal for Scotland people have invited a few bloggers to take part in the annual charity bike ride on September 9. How nice of them to include me! But I have a dilemma. Do I go for the standard 47-mile distance from Glasgow to Edinburgh or take on the huge challenge of the 107-mile Sportive?

A few years ago, 47 miles would have seemed like a challenge enough to me. While I have always liked to keep fit, I wasn’t a strong rider and I thought that 25 miles was far enough in one outing. Now, though, after building up my cycling fitness – and buying a shiny new road racer bike – I can see 47 miles being, perhaps, a little too short on mileage! But 107 miles! That is a whole other outing.

The 2012 freshnlo Pedal for Scotland is a hugely popular event and rightly so. The traditional 47-mile challenge is achievable by so many different types of people form children to adults and of all fitness levels. Yes, you’ll need to put in a bit of training, but with a whole day to ride the distance and the route being fairly flat, it’s perfectly achievable.


If you have the benefit of a tailwind, as I did the other day while cycling from Glasgow to Ratho, near Edinburgh, you’ll have a ball! If you fancy taking part take a look at the freshnlo Pedal for Scotland. You’ll not be alone as some 9,000 cyclists ride the route every year.

The new and tougher 107-mile sportive

But then again, what about the 107-mile sportive? The sportive has been a popular fixture within freshnlo Pedal for Scotland since 2010 and now, two years on, the route has been redesigned to appeal to those looking for an even tougher challenge. With more than 2,400 metres (7,870ft) of ascent, the freshnlo Pedal for Scotland sportive 2012 is set to be the toughest event of its kind in central Scotland.

It is aimed at experienced cyclists, who would relish (!) a timed 107-mile ride from Glasgow Green to Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, via a demanding route through the Southern Uplands.

And to underline the extent of the challenge, commandos from the Royal Marines are calling on Scots to join them in taking on the new 2012 freshnlo Pedal for Scotland sportive route. Led by Captain Mark Willison, two teams of marines will be getting on their bikes for the revamped route.

Captain Willison said: “It’s par for the course that a Royal Marines commando needs to be in peak physical condition and I think the new, tougher sportive route at this year’s freshnlo Pedal for Scotland will be the ideal opportunity to test out our fitness in a new way.

“The lads are all looking forward to training for the event over the next eight weeks and no doubt there will be copious amounts of friendly competitive spirit!”

Event organiser Ian Aitken, chief executive of Cycling Scotland, has added: “Endurance cycling has increased in popularity over the last few years and we were keen to address this demand by reshaping the existing sportive route to incorporate more challenging hills and increase the distance slightly.

“Our aim for freshnlo Pedal for Scotland is to cater for all abilities and with the redesign of the sportive route we are confident in attracting serious cyclists.”

Can I cycle 107 miles in a sportive?

So what shall I do? I have cycled 107 miles before but I thought I’d never make it. The last 10 miles were only possible because of handfuls of jelly babies and an encouraging cycling partner.

I cycled 100 miles a few weekends ago but only through the support of two draft-friendly guys and thanks to lots of stops and tons of food.

I cycled the Bealach Mor sportive two years ago, which is some 90 miles and includes the immense Bealach, the toughest road ascent in the UK, ascent, but this was only achieved after many months of training and the expert riding support of a friend.

I am still not sure I’d be able to make a tough 107-mile sportive event – but I might just go for it. What do you think?

Registration for both the classic 47 mile challenge ride and the 107 mile sportive is now open – log on to to find out more.


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