8 reasons to cycle the Capital Trail
The new bikepacking event, the Capital Trail, took place earlier this month, starting from Edinburgh. Here are eight great reasons to give it a try in 2016.
1) It’s bikepacking in all its glory, condensed into one weekend.
If you’re an experienced mountain biker who is keen to try bikepacking, the Capital Trail is perfect for you. It has all the challenges and difficulties and all the glory of bikepacking, while giving you the chance to assess after the weekend if you want to do more. Everyone this year wanted more.
2) It’s bikepacking starting and finishing in one of the most inspiring cities in the world.
Edinburgh has been repeatedly voted as one of the top destinations to travel worldwide. The Capital Trail is your perfect reason to come here and make it a long weekend. There is plenty on offer for before and after the ride.
3) You will get to see (almost) everything Scotland has to offer.
You might not believe it, but the Capital Trail is Scotland in miniature. It starts at a beautiful beach, takes you into remote moorlands, along twisty singletrack beside rivers, up great hills with splendid views – and there’s even a castle on the route. With a really small detour you can add in a visit to a distillery, or leave the whisky tasting for afterwards.
4) Even if you are local, you will be surprised how good the riding is.
The Capital Trail can be an inspiration even for local riders who are looking for new trails. There are plenty of little sections in the route that are easy to miss if you don’t know them. Combined with the well-known trails, it’s a good way to discover some new riding around Edinburgh.
5) It’s part of the Edinburgh Festival of Cycling.
The mass start is part of the Edinburgh Festival of Cycling, a 10-day celebration of all things cycling in the city. This year, we had the Scottish premiere of Inspired to Ride, talks by Juliana Buhring, Emily Chappell, Gian Liesch and Shannon Galpin, and much more.
6) It’s a great opportunity to meet new friends.
The Capital Trail is the perfect opportunity to meet new people and make friends on the trails. Whether you cycle or push together or bump into each other bivying out, you will meet new people sharing the same passion.
7) It features some of the best trails Scotland has to offer.
The Capital Trail features the 7Stanes trails at Glentress and Innerleithen, which are widely recognised as some of the best man-made trails in Scotland, and most possibly in the world. Add to that a fast and furious descent through the Gypsy Glen into Peebles and an amazing ride along the ridge from the Three Brethren, there is not much else left you would want for a perfect day out on the bike.
8) It’s an even greater challenge if you try it in one go.
It’s the perfect two-day adventure, and an even greater challenge in one day. With the fastest time posted at 15 hours and 15 minutes, it is possible to finish the ride in one long day. For those keen to take things a bit slower, there are great opportunities for an overnight stay as well, with enough climbing left to still test your fitness levels.
Find out more about the Capital Trail.
* Thanks to Markus Stitz, the founder of the mountain biking race, for telling me why he thinks riders might enter the Capital Trail next year. See more pics on Flickr.