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Visit Scotland | Alba

Practical advice for your business type

Scotland has an unbeatable access to land and national cycle trail networks. And that's not to mention its world-class mountain bike centres and indoor and outdoor track facilities.

Scotland offers a responsible right of access to land and national cycle trail networks thanks to the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003.

All play an important role in attracting day and overnight visitors to make a trip away from home.

Like all visitors, cyclists need a good Scottish welcome. There are, however, some key products and services that cyclists look for during a visit that need to be available to suit their schedules.

Read our top tips on how to improve the quality of the visitor experience for all cyclists and increase business profitability as a result.

Practical advice for accommodation providers

A flexible approach is a must. Visitors who enjoy cycling have specific needs. So, it makes a positive difference to their experience when we recognise these and cater for them. Small gestures can make a big difference, since cyclists may arrive wet, tired, or upset by a cycle breakdown.

Before arrival

It's now considered best practice to offer visitors a digital, cycling-specific information pack. This can be a downloadable link on your business website or sent as a PDF file upon receipt of booking confirmation. Include information such as:

  • local cycling trail maps
  • the nearest bike hire
  • the closest retailers to pick up extra essentials
  • transportation timetables
  • local cafes, restaurants, and visitor attractions

After arrival

Offer local magazines and information on local wildlife and interesting places at your reception desk. This will contribute to the visitor's ability to create a quality memorable experience.

You could also offer the use of a small toolkit or bike multi-tool and could stock a few spares e.g. spare inner tubes or puncture repair kit.

Nothing beats local knowledge and it's also an opportunity to connect with the guests and add your own experience and knowledge of the area.

Top things to offer visitors

  • Free WiFi access

    Cyclists will need online access to weather forecasts, road conditions, and trail centre openings. They may also need to call a local shop to hire-equipment or book a guide or visitor attraction tickets. Having free access to the internet is a given for today's visitors.

  • Lockable storage and security

    The equipment that experienced cyclists use can be worth thousands of pounds. To help your business stand out, you can offer a secure bike rack, garage type storage, or lockable basement.

    Investing in this also carries over to all types of adventure equipment. Be sure to check any portable bike locks offered are a minimum of grade 10 for theft prevention. Simple tarps open to the elements don't really add security or protection.

  • Flexible food options

    Cyclists who go on long tours may need to set off early in the morning or arrive late. Offering flexible food options will really make a difference. Consider offering things like:

    • early breakfasts and late dinners (on request)
    • takeaway breakfast
    • healthy packed lunches
  • Bike cleaning equipment

    Offering a place to wash bikes down after a "ride out" by means of an outdoor hose with suitable pressure to clean off dirt is advisable. A biodegradable bike wash spray also supports the post cycling service and is a much greener option.

  • Landry and / or drying service

    Your business could provide laundry services to ensure cyclists have clean, dry clothes for the next day. Or you can invest in a de-humidifier and storage for shoes, packs, and clothing in a set drying room. It's a sure way to help post ride comfort.

Practical advice for visitor attractions

Scotland's rich and varied visitor attractions are integral to cyclists enjoying all that's on offer. If your attraction is situated on or near a popular cycling route, you may experience cyclists who are visiting as part of an onward journey.

Top things to offer visitors

  • Guidebooks and trail maps

    Cyclists often pop into a visitor attraction, expecting to find local information as part of their experience off the saddle. They might also do so if they lose their trail map or can't access the internet to check their location.

    This is a good opportunity to upsell and offer local maps, OS maps, and guidebooks. Offering information on other attractions creates value for the area and gives more reasons to stop, spend time, and explore.

  • Nutritious food & drinks to go

    Promote hot drinks and high-energy foods which can either be taken away or made to order. This will make you a valuable attraction for cyclists who are often known for adding pit stops on their journeys.

    It's worth considering the type of container for takeaway foods you want to use. Cyclists don't tend to carry large packs or have space for large food packaging.

    If cyclists are encouraged to stop off to eat a hearty bite, do you also offer a place where can they hang their wet kit or a shoe rack for cleat shoes?

  • Lockable storage facilities

    The bikes that cyclists use can be worth thousands of pounds. To help your visitor attraction stand out, offering a secure bike rack or shelter will add real value to the visitors' stay and peace of mind.

    It's also advised to have a few spare bike locks at minimum grade 10 security rating in case a visitor needs them.

    You might need planning permission from the local planning authority to install new structures. So make sure you check first if you want to build bike shelters or racks.

Practical advice for food and drink establishments

Is your café or restaurant situated on or near a popular cycling route? Then you may get visitors who have included your business as part of an onward journey.

Treat your visitors to a warm Scottish welcome. Cafés and restaurants who welcome and embrace cyclists and provide a great atmosphere inside are likely to see returns. This is especially true for those that stock local produce and connect locals with visitors.

Top things to offer visitors

  • Have free water bottle refills

    An easy offering which cyclists really appreciate is a fresh water drinking tap or service to refill water bottles.

  • Nutritious food & drinks to go

    Promote hot drinks and high-energy foods which can either be taken away or made to order. This will make you a valuable attraction for cyclists who are often known for adding pit stops on their journeys.

    Offer high-energy cereal bars, fruit (e.g. bananas), sports drinks with a high electrolyte content, and meals with good portion sizes. This steadily builds your reputation as a business that's an excellent place for cyclists to refuel, rest, and recover. Coffee and cake is always welcomed!

  • Lockable storage out of sight

    Is your establishment on a roadside or within a busy town? Then offering a secure bike rack that is out of sight from passers-by adds real value to visitors. It gives them an extra sense of security and encourages them to choose your business.

  • Provide local information

    Cafés and restaurants who welcome cyclists can provide local information on things to see and do. This is especially useful if the cyclists are visiting with non-cycling members.

  • Charging points & free WiFi

    Providing free access to the internet can be a great value to cyclists. It'll give them the opportunity to look up trails and local information or just the chance to check up on messages.

    They'll also enjoy accessing charging points for the likes of phones, power packs, e-bikes, and GPS devices before they head out on the road again.

Case studies

Feel free to use the following tourism businesses who cater to cyclists as an inspiration for your own business plans.