The Quilter Cheviot Etape Royale sportive promises to be a fantastic event with plenty for everyone to do. Are you still thinking about riding? If so, why not snap up a limited 10% discount off your entry? (Quote ER16RCC when you register). Or perhaps you’re coming along with family and friends?

Whether you will be a participant or a spectator there is plenty to do and enjoy over the weekend near the event hub in Ballater or by venturing into the wider Cairngorms National Park.

Image courtesy of Ed Smith
The perfect season finale!

Top 10 sportive weekend must-dos

1 Enjoy the fun of Royal Deeside Cycling Festival, which takes place throughout the sportive weekend from September 16 to 18. It’s a great event for riders, families and friends and there will be lots to do including a cycling skills circuit, organised family bike rides, a climbing wall and zorbing.

2 Feast on a weekend of fantastic food and drink. Local cafes will be extending their opening hours so visitors can enjoy European style alfresco dining in bonny Scotland. The nearby Deeside Inn will also be serving traditional hearty Scottish fare with live music daily to keep people entertained.

3 Be inspired by Scottish cycling adventurer Mark Beaumont who will also be participating in the event.

4 Visit the National Nature Reserve of Muir of Dinnet where you’ll discover an impressive example of nature’s sculptural work known as the Burn o’ Vat. There is also plenty of beautiful woodland, heath and open water to explore. See Muir of Dinnet.

5 Go for a picturesque walk at Cambus o’ May, a forest close to Ballater. You can choose from trails that bridge a lochan or wind through Scots pine trees. See Cambus o’ May

Explore the Cairngorms
Explore the Cairngorms

6 Play a round of golf at the historic 18-hole course at Ballater Golf Club.

7 Learn the story of how Scotch Whisky is made during one of several fascinating tours at Royal Lochnagar Distillery.

8 Visit Braemar Castle, ancestral home to the Farquharson Clan and steeped in history, myths and legends.

9 Visit Mar Lodge Estate, home to BBC’s Winterwatch, where you can bag a munro, join a Ranger on a guided walk, or take a stroll round one of the many way marked paths.

10 Make time for a visit to Braemar, a picturesque village a short drive from Ballater and home to the famous Braemar Games.

The Etape Royale winds through Whisky Country
The Etape Royale winds through Whisky Country

Essential info for sportive riders

To make preparation for the event even easier for you, we’ve digested the essential information to help you on the final leg of your training and organisation:

Travel to the Quilter Cheviot Etape Royale

All participants must register in Ballater in advance of race day.

By road: Ballater is easily accessible from all directions along the A93. Use Google Maps to work out a door-to-door route to Ballater or your accommodation.

By Air: Ballater is just an hour from Aberdeen Airport so why not fly direct to Aberdeen and hire a bike for the event? See Aberdeen Airport to Ballater Map

By Rail: ScotRail and Virgin Trains operate regular services into Aberdeen and bikes can be booked on board when purchasing your ticket. Alternatively, travel by train and hire a bike for the event. You can travel to Aberdeen direct from London on the Caledonian Sleeper if you’re sort of time.

Car Parking for all participants and spectators is included within your entry fee. Parking (once the location is confirmed) will be available close to the centre of Dufftown, where the routes start.
For those taking part in the 40 and 65-mile events, a bus can be booked in advance to get you from the event hub in Ballater to the starting point in Rhynie.

Accommodation for the Quilter Cheviot Etape Royale
Local rooms to rent: There is a network of local people in Ballater and the surrounding area who have rooms to rent. To find out more contact Thelma Van Tienen on tel: 01339 753831.

Camping: Event camping facilities for participants and spectators are available at a cost of £5 per pitch on Saturday September 17, 2016. Camping is only currently available to participants staying in Ballater (100-mile start) and Rhynie (65-mile start).

Other options: There is a host of accommodation available including B&Bs hotels and guest houses in Ballater and the wider area. Visit http://www.etaperoyale.com/your-visit/accommodation or VisitCairngorms to review accommodation listings and to check availability.

Easy access: Participants in the 65 mile event are advised to use the camping in Rhynie on Saturday 16th or stay in accommodation north of Ballater with access to the A97 so you can easily get to the event start at Rhynie.

Camaraderie at the Quilter Cheviot Etape Royale
Camaraderie at the Quilter Cheviot Etape Royale

Kit list for Quilter Cheviot Etape Royale

What you wear on the day will depend on the weather but remember that the conditions can change rapidly in Scotland so it’s a good idea to have kit that will keep you warm and dry. You can stow what you don’t wear in the back pockets of your jersey or in a small bike bag.

Cycle clothes: From top to toe

Suggest clothing, especially for those doing the longer rides include:

• Helmet (you can’t ride without a helmet)
• Buff to keep head/ears/neck warm if it’s a cold day
• Sunglasses and/or wraparound cycling glasses
• Cycling jersey (short or long sleeved)
• Long-sleeved baselayer or arm warmers
• Windproof gilet
• Lightweight waterproof jacket
• Cycling gloves
• Padded cycling shorts
• Leg warmers or cycling tights if it’s a cold day
• Socks
• Clip-on bike shoes or trainers
• Overshoes, if it’s wet

Bicycle tools and extras

As a minimum it’s advised you carry spare inner tubes, tyre levers and a pump.

A mobile phone and/or bike navigation gadget are recommended.

Sun cream

Fluids (water-based), energy gels and/or snacks to keep you going between food stations.

Useful extras for emergency mechanics: Inner tube stick-on patches, multi-tool, chain breaker tool and spare chain link.

Bring your own bike or hire a bike at the event.

Find out more and register on the Quilter Cheviot Etape Royale website.

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