Kerry MacPhee was born and grew up on South Uist. She has carved a successful sporting career as a triathlete and mountain biker, representing Team Scotland at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Last year Kerry and her sister Kirsty traversed the Scottish Highlands and Islands for a BBC Alba documentary series charting the nation's favourite cycling routes.

You are from South Uist. What makes the island so special?

The answer is simple: I was born and bred there. Growing up I had the privilege of an outdoors upbringing with croft life, sea life and island life.

At this time of year, I always look back fondly to my youth with early mornings down on the croft and the excitement of my father coming home with a pet lamb for us. It makes me laugh now to think we used old whisky bottles as milk bottles for them.

From a geographical and cycling perspective, South Uist is special because it sits on a tectonic plate and you can feel this as you pass through. The island is long and narrow with one main road through the middle and smaller roads branching off as you go along.

Travelling south to north, the left-hand side has beautiful beaches alongside the flora and fauna of the machair land, while the right-hand side is all mountains and bogs. The main road seems to sit on the join of these two contrasting landscapes, so is very flat but beautiful.

South Uist is well situated for exploring the other islands and has a ferry port in Lochboisdale.

READ MORE: A guide to Scotland's islands - did your favourite make the list?

What other Scottish islands have you cycled around?

I have cycled the whole chain of Outer Hebridean islands from Barra to the Butt of Lewis taking the most off-road route possible. That was for a BBC Alba documentary filmed with my sister.

The route by road is known in Gaelic as "Slighe Innse Gall" – "the route of the strangers" – and is National Cycling Route 780 so sign-posted all the way. It covers 185 miles and takes in 10 islands, six causeways, two ferries and it is amazing.

Cycling is by far the best way to see a place and this route winds in and out of crofting townships, touches on beautiful beaches and crests some incredible Harris hills. Every island has some hidden riding gems, particularly if you are willing to get the knobbly tires out.

As well as my own wee patch, I'm a regular on the Isle of Mull in freezing cold December where a round of the Scottish cyclocross series is held. It is raced around Glengorm castle and the following day plays host to the World SantaCross Championships.

Another favourite is the Craggy Island Triathlon which takes place on Kerrera off Oban. It includes a swim from the mainland and a bike ride round the island.

Name a standout moment from your cycling adventures?

Meeting Kenny MacKay from Rhenigidale in Harris. We had heard a lot from the locals about this mountain bike route from Urgha to Rhenigidale known locally as the "Rhenigidale Rollercoaster."

It certainly lived up to its name with a fun and challenging climb up a hill that you crest to be presented with a stunning hidden bay, followed by some technical and steep switch backs as you descend. I still haven't ridden it without having to put a foot down.

READ MORE: A guide to Scotland's islands - did your favourite make the list?

This route is known as "the post road" because the Rhenigidale postie – the aforementioned Kenny – used this route to get to Tarbert to collect and deliver the mail three times a week. It was the only land access to Rhenigidale until 1990 when the new tarmac road came in from Maruig.

The teacher used to be brought in daily by boat and mains electricity only arrived in Rhenigidale in 1980 when the wooden pylons were lifted in by helicopter.

It was fascinating meeting Kenny on his 80th birthday having just ridden the tough route and getting to grips with the fact that he used do it on foot to get the mail. He was a very interesting and charismatic man with lots of stories about life in Rhenigidale.

No bike ride would be complete without a few cake stops though and there is a lot of very good home baking to be found in the islands.

The Uist coffee shop, which is also the post office in Lochboisdale, is brilliant. It has a bright pink roof which you can't miss and is not far from the ferry terminal. It has the best cake and friendly staff.

In the north end of South Uist is Hebridean Jewellery where you can get a tasty lunch and coffee and pick up some stunning jewellery.

In Harris you can stop in at the gin distillery for a tour and grab some amazing soup. My absolute favourite on Lewis is the Blue Lobster coffee shop at the harbour in Stornoway. Amazing coffee, amazing baking and really nice staff.

I could go on about eating places and cake stops but it's best left stumbled upon after a pedal.

READ MORE: A guide to Scotland's islands - did your favourite make the list?

Aside from South Uist, do you have a favourite?

Don't tell the Barrachs, Leodhasachs or the Uibhisteachs but I love Harris. So many cool routes, stunning beaches, challenging climbs and little known off-road adventures to explore.

It blew my mind coming back years later by bike and thinking I took it for granted as a kid passing through on the bus to get to my athletics competitions in Stornoway.

What Scottish islands are still on the bucket list?

I really want to explore the smaller inner isles by mountain bike: Gigha, Muck, Rum, Islay and Canna. On my list too is Arran which I hear is spectacular for mountain biking and maybe the 5 Ferry Challenge for a bit of road riding.

Follow Kerry MacPhee on Twitter @KerryMacPhee