Cyclists including Transport Minister Keith Brown, round-the-world cyclist Mark Beaumont, actor Paul Brannigan and The Herald and Sunday Herald's own team were among those who lined up for Pedal for Scotland 2013, which is expected to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds for charity.
Most followed a 47-mile route from Glasgow Green to Murrayfield Stadium, while 800 advanced cyclists pedalled an arduous 110-mile route through the Southern Uplands.
Some 400 younger cyclists and their families linked up for the last nine miles of the main route for the Edinburgh Family Ride.
Susan Swarbrick, Herald feature writer and cycling team captain, said: "This is the second year our cycling team has taken part and we've had an amazing day. We had team members on all three routes and the atmosphere was simply incredible. It's great to see Scotland's cycling community out in force and having fun. Special mention has to go to our youngest member, six-year-old Louis Mackenzie, who cycled all the way from Kirkliston to Edinburgh with his mum Vicky - I think we may have found the next Sir Bradley Wiggins."
Transport Minister Keith Brown said: "Cycling is a great way to kick-start a healthier lifestyle. It's fun and hopefully events like this will encourage more people to choose cycling for shorter journeys and leave the car at home. That is why the Scottish Government has allocated over £2.4 million this year in grant funding to Cycling Scotland to promote bike rides like Pedal for Scotland and other educational initiatives. We want cycling to be an easy option for Scots, young and old."
Many participants were raising money for children and young people in Scotland affected by poverty. The participants ranged from novices to experienced riders like Mark Beaumont, who once held the record for cycling round the world, completing his 18,297 miles route in February 2008, having taken 194 days and 17 hours.
He said: "I've enjoyed watching Pedal for Scotland grow year-on-year and it's been fantastic to take part in the 15th ride."
Mr Beaumont, 30, whose last cycling quest was a ride from Anchorage, Alaska, to Ushuaia in Argentina, added: "It's a real testament to the popularity of cycling in Scotland that over 8000 people got on their bikes, and I have no doubt this event will continue to thrive as more and more Scots realise the beauty of pedal power."
The event follows on from the sell-out Pedal for Scotland Glasgow Family Ride the previous weekend, which saw 3500 people come to the Emirates Arena in Glasgow. Pedal for Scotland will also head north for the first time, with the Aberdeen Family Ride scheduled for Sunday.
Ian Aitken, chief executive of Cycling Scotland, said: "This is all about inspiring people to realise the benefits cycling can bring to everyone. Once you have cycled all the way from Glasgow to Edinburgh, suddenly those short commutes to work won't seem so daunting.
"It's been fantastic to be able to bring Pedal for Scotland Family Rides back to Glasgow and Edinburgh, but I am especially pleased we will be taking the ride to Aberdeen for the very first time next week for a four-mile loop of the esplanade."