The latest race content, interviews, features, reviews and expert buying guides, direct to your inbox!
Thank you for signing up to The Pick. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.
When the Glasgow Worlds were announced there was only ever one woman for the job of writing our guide to the great Scottish city of Glasgow: Katie Archibald. The Olympic gold medallist, local hero and talented wordsmith was our first call. Happily, she said yes.
Her expansive guide will take you to all the best haunts and epic climbs the city has to offer, to make the most of a trip to the Worlds this summer, in her usual joyful style, while local Torvelo Race Team rider and Cycling Weekly reader Liam White models.
Glasgow, here we come.
The DSM Loop
Distance: 80km | Climbing: 1,043m
I call this the DSM loop because it passes a DSM factory. Did you know that DSM exists not just as three letters written across a cycling jersey, but as its own entity? Neither did I, until I saw its familiar swirly logo on a massive warehouse in Dalry.
It feels nice to have a touch of the WorldTour, albeit as a faceless facility of mass production, close to home. I don’t know what it produces, but if likeability was a driver for its cycling sponsorship then, kudos to that PR team: I like them a lot! (I hope they don’t make guns.)
Going through Dalry is a means to an end on this ride and that end is two opportunities to recognise your place in the world; first on the Fairlie Moor Road and second on the Old Largs Road.
Th e Archibalds have debated the way to ride over the Fairlie Moor by asking if bike riding is about putting yourself through as much pain and suffering as possible, or about experiencing something of the world on two wheels.
I’m usually in the former camp, but it would take a true sadist to promote going west to east over the Fairlie Moor. West to east is a 3km climb with an average gradient of 7% and ramps of 13%. Thumbs down, 0 stars, doesn’t get my vote.
If you do as I suggest, and ride east to west, you’ll have to pay the toll of a small kicker at the start in exchange for a gorgeous rolling climb that lets you look down from on high at the Clyde estuary. You’ll see the isles of Cumbrae, Bute, and Arran on the horizon, and… nothing else. For a brief meditative moment, riding through the mist of a Scottish day, you can forget that human civilisation still trundles on; that the people who saw you run for and still miss the bus are out there somewhere; that email is a thing.
All that exists is you, your bike, and the horizon. Until you notice a sheep marked with spray paint and remember the word ‘human’.
Not to worry. From there, you test your brakes on the 13% descent, fly along the coast road into Largs, give a jolly wave to the A760 (Largs Road), and continue on to the Old Largs Road. A very old road if judged by how long it’s been on maps, quite a new road if judged by the state of the tarmac. You’ll enjoy riding it.
As you descend back into civilisation this time, however, the view will be far busier. You’ll see houses and high rises, pylons and cranes, and by the time you’re at the bottom you’ll even hear screaming (if it’s break time at Whinhill Primary School). Don’t dread it.
By this point you’ll have empty legs but a full soul, and instead of cursing whoever it was that put the internet in your pocket as you approach the sprawl of houses, you’ll think fondly of whoever it was that invented the kettle that’s sat in all those homes.
Homes just like yours, where in no time at all you’ll be having a brew, watching a bike race, and falling asleep before the first attack. Bliss.
Ultimate cafes and eateries
Neva Place, 1 Main Street, Bridge of Weir
You won’t be the only person wearing Lycra in Bernie’s, a cyclist hotspot. Open from 9am to 5pm you can stop for breakfast (my order: french toast), lunch (my order: soup and a sandwich), or an emergency injection of fuel on your way home (my order: hot chocolate, slice of cake, a moment to sit wondering what it all means, and a scoop of tablet ice cream).
BULLAND'S COFFEE HOUSE
27 Mugdock Road, Milngavie
Located near the start of the West Highland Way (an iconic walking route from
Milngavie to Fort William), the Bullands staff aren’t too shy to serve people wearing funny shoes or with mud on their faces. It’s also dog friendly if you’re the type to ride with a pooch in your basket.
The food is homely, filling, and fresh. I like to order their omelette, which is made to my preferred portion size (completely ginormous) and sit with a pot of tea wondering why they’ve pinned teddy bears to the ceiling. It’s a quirky cafe.
Order one of their (also completely ginormous) scones and you might have enough energy for the 154km walk to Fort William.
2 Kirkton Street, Carluke
This makes the list on special recommendation from my father. “If you were based in the East End of Glasgow and wanted to go for a ride east, you’d struggle for a nicer cafe,” he says. This is high praise. “You’d struggle for a nicer daughter,” is what I hope he one day says at my wedding/graduation/special birthday.
Kona Coffee is family run (by a family less dysfunctional than mine) with, in their words, “an emphasis toward healthy eating”. Don’t worry, they still serve cake.
28 Westminster Terrace, Finnieston
From the time I was nine years old my family have gone for a curry on a Sunday evening. We call this event Sunday Curry, and the most special of these takes place at Mother India (curry and rice from around £10). With a delicious and indulgent menu, the highlight for me is the aloo saag dosa.
64 Albion Street
Located across from the Old Fruitmarket, come here for your haggis, neeps and tatties (£13). The menu is sophisticated yet homely, and my mother likes it because of their Tim Stead furniture.
758 Pollokshaws Road
My current favourite restaurant. They serve Mediterranean small plates (£8-£14) which are, firstly, divine and, secondly, not that small. I love ‘small plates’ menus where you can avoid FOMO by going with hungry friends and ordering the whole thing.
My Regular Loop
Distance: 100km | Climbing: 1,074m
This is the most regular route I ride, but instead of making the start point my house I have made it Giffnock South Parish Church (where, according to the sign outside, all are welcome).
It’s my opinion that all good rides should let you, at some point, scream as loud as you can without being heard. Not in a horror film murdery way. In a tree-in-a-forest way. Like shouting “hello” into an echo, or holding your breath while driving through a tunnel.
You can scream whatever you like (including the phrase, “Help, help, Katie Archibald is chasing me with an axe”) as you circle round and through the Whitelee Forest, and nothing will happen. I invite you to try it.
On your return into the city, you can stop for a swim at White Loch. It’s a small body of water that you’ll ride level with on the Dodside Road and for a moment be mesmerised. The sight of someone splashing about in a swimsuit and woolly hat might snap you out of it, and if it does, I recommend giving it a go and joining them.
A nice hack: if you’re in a group of mixed ‘enthusiasms’ (the smart riding with the silly) some can stop in Stewarton for a cake and coffee at Gilmartin’s Bakery, and some can ride the boot of this route to make it 100km. Decide for yourselves which group is smart and which silly.
No wheels required
Fancy taking a break from the cycling-related stuff but stuck for ideas? Katie can help with that
Construction started on Glasgow – also known as St. Mungo’s – Cathedral in 1136 and took 350 years to finish. It’s the oldest building in Glasgow and since it took several generations to build I think you should visit to see why. A short walk away, overlooking the Cathedral, is Glasgow Necropolis, where 50,000 people have their final resting place. Walk through and marvel at the tombs, mausoleums, and monuments to the dead – I assure myself that it’s part of why they were built.
Go and say “ooh” at the venus fly traps, “ahh” at the greenhouse architecture, “hmm” at the nudey sculptures, and “ocht, that’s a shame” if you manage to find the disused railway station that now lies derelict. I like it here: it’s free, it’s pretty, and there’s an ice cream van
Every weekend between 10am and 4pm the Barras Market is ready to amaze you. It houses clothes, food, random bargains, handmade gems, and an incredible history. Above the market is the Barrowland Ballroom, which is one of the UK’s best live music venues.
The Northern Loop
Distance: 130km | Climbing: 1,638m
I grew up in Milngavie and cycled most of these roads following the rear wheel of someone much bigger in front of me. I followed them all over the country with the kind of mindless mindfulness only available to children. The blessing of youth is to have never Googled the phrase ‘productivity hack’ and not question spending your Sunday riding a bike, in the rain, behind your dad.
This route is the epic of our collection and it starts at Mugdock Country Park. To make it even more epic you can warm up with reps of the nearby Khyber Pass while you wait on any stragglers. Colloquially named because of its construction coinciding with that of the Khyber Pass Railway Line in Pakistan, it turns out this climb is actually on ‘Craigallian Road’. I’ve been riding it for 16 years and I only learnt that yesterday when I couldn’t find ‘Khyber Pass’ on a map in Scotland.
When I was too young for the epic we drove to Aberfoyle and rode from there, but having ridden to that point you’ll be warm enough to properly tackle the Duke’s Pass climb out of town. It’s a lovely ascent that can be enjoyed at a tootle just as much as at a gallop. (Aberfoyle’s alter-ego is a collection of waymarked routes known as Gravelfoyle. If gravel’s your fancy, then definitely check it out.)
Over the other side of the Duke’s, and at the farthest point of this route, you follow a singletrack road around Loch Katrine in total peace. The soundtrack for this section would be some kind of piano sonata. Then, once you start heading south, you’ll be gifted 20km of fast moving roads to boost morale. The soundtrack for this section would be ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’.
My ambition is that you arrive back at Mugdock tired and happy, but there’s always the park’s adventure trail to tackle if you need a top-up on either feeling.
Cycling Weekly's places to stay
Glasgow City Centre South
Premier Inn has several hotels in Glasgow, although the City Centre South hotel is arguably the best suited to those wishing to attend some of the track events at the Sir Chris Hoy velodrome. Starting at just £139 a night, standard rooms are available with free WiFi, and there is parking available for an additional fee on site.
If you’re looking for somewhere slightly more luxurious, then the Maldron Hotel in the heart of the city could be the place for you. Starting at a cost of £221, a deluxe double room is available for multiple nights at the beginning of August when the World Championships are in town.
The hotel has consistently received five star reviews from clients, and has all of the amenities you’ll need on site including parking, a bar, a restaurant and fitness centre. A full Scottish or Irish breakfast is also available every morning.
If you’re thinking of heading to Scotland for the duration of the championships, and you’re after a set base for the whole event, Motel One has some great options available online through booking.com.
Located on Oswald Street, Motel One is right next to Glasgow Central Station, which makes it excellent if you’re arriving by rail. George Square and Queen Street stations are also just a nine-minute walk away, making for great connectivity across the city during your stay, and to get out to the velodrome in Parkhead.
If you’re booking in advance, you can get a large queen room at a cost of £1,383 for one person. Breakfast is available each day on site, setting you up nicely for a day of watching the racing. A bar is also available to relax over a drink in the evening.
If you’re planning on catching the start of the elite men’s road race, before making a dash to the finish in Glasgow, then Mercure’s hotel on Edinburgh’s Haymarket is in prime position.
Situated just a stone’s throw from Edinburgh Castle, a ‘comfort double room’ is available in the hotel for a three-night stay at a cost of £780. Breakfast is available, along with parking and a fitness centre.
With good access to roads out of the city, you can catch the start of the road race in Edinburgh before hitting the road to Glasgow (one hour’s drive away) to catch the finale.
Katie Archibald's Guide To Glasgow first appeared in the April 20 issue of Cycling Weekly magazine.
Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
Get The Leadout Newsletter
The latest race content, interviews, features, reviews and expert buying guides, direct to your inbox!
Founded in 1891, Cycling Weekly and its team of expert journalists brings cyclists in-depth reviews, extensive coverage of both professional and domestic racing, as well as fitness advice and 'brew a cuppa and put your feet up' features. Cycling Weekly serves its audience across a range of platforms, from good old-fashioned print to online journalism, and video.
You can now ride a bike just like Mathieu van der Poel's Worlds winning cyclocross machine
If, of course, you can stomach the price tag
By Luke Friend Published
Riders could be left without a job as ProTeam faces closure
Inside sources say riders and staff at Bolton Equities Black Spoke are concerned about their futures
By Tom Davidson Published