Cycling and mountain biking

Two wheels offer a great way to get about

The Forres area is very popular for cycling as there are many routes on- and off-road all year from early spring right through to late autumn being the best time, the summer months with its long days allows you to cycle well into the evening hours.

Many of the quiet back roads offer spectacular scenery for cycling and it is common to have the road to yourself. There are also miles of pathways throughout the area marked for walking but equally suited to cycling.

Here are some of the best spots.

Culbin Forest

The Culbin Forest stretches along the coast from Findhorn Bay to Nairn, providing miles and miles of cycle tracks to explore on your bike.

It’s within cycling distance of Forres and has waymarked routes. However, there are lots of tracks and you can pick up a map and make your own.

It’s also worth noting that Culbin is an RSPB reserve and if you are interested in birdwatching, this is a great place to spend some time

Forres to Findhorn

You can cycle from Forres to Findhorn on a dedicated cycle path, the path is at the side of the main road so while it is not the most scenic it does make it much safer than riding on the road. It starts at Sueno’s Stone at ends in the village of Findhorn. Once at Findhorn, you can ride along the sand to Burghead, tide-permitting.

Roseisle Forest

You can also ride inland through the Roseisle Forest to Burghead. Again, there are lots of routes to explore and there’s a nice barbecue and play area, as well as a toilet block.

Dava Way

The Dava Way is a marked walking trail going from Forres to Grantown-on-Spey following mostly what was the old Highland Railway Line, the trail is about 22 miles long.

Moray Monster Trails

Travel further through Fochabers or along the Moray Coast Trail and you’ll find a good network of graded mountain bike trails suitable from beginner to advanced at Winding Walks and Ordiequish near to Fochabers.

For further details on routes, see:

MTB trail grading

Mountain bike trails are graded to help riders match their rides to their skills. Harder, challenging trails have jumps, drops and tight turns, which could be dangerous for beginners.

The colour-coded grading scheme is summarised here:

  • Green (easy) – for beginner cyclists. Basic skills required, and suitable for most bikes and riders in good health.
  • Blue (moderate) – for intermediate cyclists with basic off-road skills. You’ll need a mountain bike or hybrid for this trail and a good standard of fitness.
  • Red (difficult) – suitable for proficient mountain bikers with a higher level of fitness and stamina.
  • Black (extreme) – for expert mountain bikers used to physically demanding routes. Riders should be very active and used to a prolonged level of effort.
  • Orange (extreme) – For riders who want the jumps and downhill speed, or are aspiring to an elite level of technical ability. Good fitness and stamina helps, technical skills are more relevant for this grade.

A full explanation of grades is available at britishcycling.co.uk

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