Pedal power is the perfect way to explore Orkney.
Our islands have mile after mile of quiet country roads, thousands of years of history to discover, and beautiful beaches around every corner.
Now, cycling in Orkney has received the seal of approval from one of the most successful cyclists of all time. Six-time Olympic champion, Sir Chris Hoy, has inspired our new collection of island bike routes, and he’s even lent his name to one of our most challenging circuits.
Sir Chris visited Orkney earlier this year, arriving in his namesake island of Hoy to officially open the Scapa Flow Museum following its multi-million-pound refurbishment. After taking part in cycling events during the day, Sir Chris was full of praise for Orkney as an ideal destination for cyclists of all skill levels.
Cycling in Orkney
“Orkney’s smaller islands are made for cycling. You can take bikes on the ferries, or you can hire them in most island communities. On two wheels you’ll appreciate these landscapes in a way you could never do by car, experiencing the sights and sounds of the islands,” he said.
“Cycling keeps you fit, gets you out in the fresh air, connects you with nature, and it is kind to the planet. So, saddle up and explore Orkney in a more rewarding, more intimate, more sustainable way.”
Our ‘Hoy on Hoy’ route is a 31km road cycle with nearly 500 metres of ascent between two ferry ports in Hoy, taking in wartime heritage, including the Scapa Flow Museum, ancient archaeology, and some of Orkney’s most stunning scenery on the way.
It’s one of 12 new routes across nine of our islands, from North Ronaldsay to South Walls. We spent much of our summer out and about exploring our islands, plotting the new guides in these vibrant communities.
They feature everything, from food and drink pit stops and fascinating history, to local shops, special viewpoints, and craft studios. You can view our interactive maps to find out what you can see and do on our routes, and download special guides to keep you on track.
Each route also includes details on distance, ascent, travel information, public toilets, and much more. Most of them are designed for families, with options to extend and shorten routes depending on the littlest legs in your group, too.
You can also find out where you can hire bikes in our islands, and learn more about how to cycle safely in Orkney.
So, whether you’re a road racer, tourer, or just looking for a new way to enjoy Orkney’s great outdoors, join Sir Chris Hoy and browse our new Cycling in Orkney page to start planning your next island adventure.
Cycle route information in Orkney's north isles was funded through the North Isles Landscape Partnership Scheme by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.