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Four reasons why the Cowal Peninsula Sportive is the most fun you can have on two wheels!

Four reasons why the Cowal Peninsula Sportive is the most fun you can have on two wheels!
The Cowal Peninsula is a beautiful corner of Argyll, with a diverse landscape of hills, ancient forests and sparkling sea lochs. The area is a magnet for cyclists, who are drawn to the stunning Scottish scenery and quiet country roads, not to mention the great tea and cake stops. The Cowal Peninsula Sportive makes the most of this glorious setting and superb terrain, with four awesome routes taking in some of the peninsula’s top beauty spots. Fancy it? If you still need persuading, here are 10 reasons why the Cowal Peninsula Sportive is the most fun you can have on two wheels!

1. The routes. There are four fantastic routes to choose from, so there’s something for all levels and abilities. If you're looking for a real challenge, then the 124km 'Sportive Max' is the one to plump for. The route is a cracker, taking in some of Cowal’s most stunning places including Loch Eck, Ardentinny and Argyll's Secret Coast. You’ll have to take on the frighteningly steep, and undeniably challenging, Bealach Maim from Glendaruel to Otter Ferry. The pain of the climb will, however, quickly be forgotten as you cruise down the other side and enjoy some truly stunning views of Loch Fyne. The 84km ‘Sportive Lite’ is the same route as the 'Sportive Max', without the loop around Argyll’s Secret Coast. It’s no walk in the park, with some serious climbs and superb stretches, including the fantastic B836 from Dunoon towards Glendaruel. An easier option is the 50km ‘Tour of Ardentinny’, which misses out the stretch to Glendaruel. Finally, this year the organisers have introduced a family-friendly ’10 miler’. The ‘Toward Tour’ is a flat coastal route that mums, dads and kids can tackle together.

2. The views. Where to start? You’ll be treated to some truly stunning vistas as you pedal around all four of the routes. Flying along the banks of Loch Eck, heading up the coast of Loch Long to Ardentinny and cruising alongside the Holy Loch are just some of the highlights. If you’re doing the Sportive Max, the spectacular stretch of road out of Tighnabruaich will take your breath away (in more ways than one!). You’ll catch some great views of the beautiful Kyles of Bute as you climb out of the village. All routes start and finish at Dunoon Victorian Pier, one of the town’s iconic buildings. The pier has been undergoing a huge programme of structural repair and refurbishment in the past year. What a great place to cross the finish line!

3. The pit stops. Refuelling at the Cowal Peninsula Sportive is something you can look forward to. The organisers hand pick the best local eateries to provide food stops that satisfy. From cream buns at The Tearoom in Tighnabruaich to Winston Churchill venison burgers at the finish line, you’ll be treated to some of Argyll’s finest food on route.

4. The other stuff. The Cowal Peninsula Sportive is organised by No Fuss Events in partnership with Dunoon Presents. There’s loads of community involvement and a warm, friendly atmosphere, with volunteers from the local cycling and running clubs helping out and locals lining the streets to cheer on the cyclists. You’ll find everything you need and more, with full route signage, marshals at main junctions, electronic timing, food stops, shower facilities, first aid provision, goody bags for participants and a broom wagon. Plus we hear there’s an excellent after party!

The Cowal Peninsula Sportive takes place on July 16th 2016. Find out more at Dunoon Presents and sign up online at No Fuss Events.

Dunoon is easily accessible from Glasgow and the central belt. Just catch the ferry from Gourock. Bikes go free on both Western Ferries and Argyll Ferries. Even if you don’t make the Cowal Peninsula Sportive, why not come ‘Doon the Watter’ for a great day’s cycling?

Find out more about things to do and see in Dunoon and Cowal.

All photos by Ken Clark Photography.
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