Scotland has an abundance of great cycle routes. Some are for experts only but others are suitable for anyone who fancies strapping on a helmet. As the Scottish Government doubles funds to support cycling routes, here's 10 of our favourites.

1. Montrose Basin, Angus

Start: Montrose Caravan Site

Finish: Montrose Caravan Site (circular)

Total Distance: 11 miles

Time to Cycle: 1 hour

Suitable for: Families and inexperienced cyclists

An easy, gentle route, this circular cycle is perfect for those who are less confident on their bikes. Passing around the tidal estuary, it is a great way to spot wildlife: with waders, ospreys and kingfishers all likely to be found on your journey round the basin. There is a visitor centre to pop into if you fancy a refreshment, but picnics are also an option if you don’t mind carrying food around. The House of Dun, a majestic National Trust property, is also visible from the route and is worth a visit afterwards.

2. Ayrshire Coast Cycleway

Start: Irvine

Finish: Ayr

Total Distance: 19 miles

Time to Cycle: 2 hours

Suitable for: Moderately experienced cyclists (due to wind conditions)

Mainly traffic-free, this tarmac route is one of the best ways to take in the sights (and bracing sea air) of the Ayrshire coast. Starting in Irvine, the path passes close to the beach before it weaves inland via two wildlife reserves. You then return to the coast at Troon and continue to Ayr – with spectacular views of Arran along the way. There are plenty of places to stop for refreshments as you go, even having the chance of a mid-cycle ice cream on the beach.

3. arris and Lewis, Hebridean Way

Start: Leverburgh

Finish: Callanish

Total Distance: 59 miles

Time to Cycle: 7-9 hours

Suitable for: More experienced cyclists

The connected isles of Harris and Lewis provide some of the most remote and other-worldly sections of the Hebridean Way, an 185-mile cycle route that can be tackled in full over several days. After boarding a ferry to Leverburgh, you set off along the ‘golden road’ on Harris’ west side, with a rocky backdrop and some steep hills to tackle. The climbs are rewarded though, with impressive views of Taransay and the odd seal fishing in the distance. The Temple Café in Northton is also a great spot to have a coffee and a rest in some very relaxing surroundings. The route then leads along the west side of the island, where golden sands and sparkling waters await you as a reward for your hard work. You can then continue to Lewis, where you might be joined by golden eagles as you journey through the rugged peatlands.

4. Speyside Way, Aviemore

Start: Rothiemurchus Park, Aviemore

Finish: Boat of Garten, or further to Nethy Bridge

Total Distance: 7 miles, or 12 miles

Time to Cycle: Approximately one hour

Suitable for: Families and inexperienced cyclists

Beginning in the striking Rothiemurcus estate, you then follow the Speyside Way to the village of Boat of Garten. The journey itself is scenic enough, but when you reach the village it is worth a detour to admire the tranquil waters of the nearby Loch Garten. Less experienced cyclists may wish to stop there, but the Speyside path continues to Nethy Bridge for those who want a bit more of a challenge. Be careful though – if you venture too far along the route and reach Ballindalloch you may discover the hard way that the path is too tough going for road bikes.

5 Loch Rannoch, Perthshire

Start: Kinloch Rannoch

Finish: Kinloch Rannoch (circular)

Total Distance: 22 miles

Time to Cycle: 2-2.5 hours

Suitable for: Families and inexperienced cyclists

Taking in sandy beaches, pine trees and mountain views, this route has plenty of scenic spots to have a break. But at just over 20 miles and reasonably flat, the gentle and quiet circuit shouldn’t require too many rest stops. Suitable for all ages, children will particularly enjoy the section that passes through the Wood of Rannoch, as they can spot pine martens and red squirrels. If you want to extend the route, you can head to Rannoch station or follow the path of the Etape Caledonia.

6. Applecross Peninsula Loop via Bealach na Bà, Wester Ross

Start: Applecross

Finish: Applecross (Circular Loop)

Total Distance: 42 miles

Time to Cycle: Approximately 5 hours without stops (but you may need a few!)

Suitable for: Very experienced cyclists only

Several different approaches to this loop can be taken, but one thing is certain: successfully summiting Bealach na Bà is one of the best bragging honours cyclists can get. Holding the title of the greatest ascent of any road in the British Isles, the hairpin bends and 7% gradient are exhausting, but highly rewarding for the views of Skye and beyond. By starting in Applecross and heading clockwise, via Fearnmore and Tornapress, you face a fair few tough climbs before you even reach the iconic Bealach na Bà. But by saving the big climb until last, a well-deserved drink in the pub in Applecross will taste that extra bit sweeter.

7. The Clyde Walkway, Glasgow

Start: The Tall Ship

Finish: Cambuslang Bridge

Total Distance: 10.5 miles

Time to Cycle: Approximately one hour

Suitable for: Inexperienced cyclists

A good mix of urban and parkland scenery, this reasonably flat walkway runs alongside the River Clyde and some of its best sights. Starting near the historic Tall Ship and Waverly Steamer, the path overlooks the futuristic Riverside Museum and SECC Armadillo. It then passes by Glasgow Green and the People’s Palace, before venturing through a more wooded area to finish in Cambuslang: where there are buses and trains to return to the city (or complete the return cycle). There’s no traffic to worry about, so this route is a great introduction for children or more nervous cyclists.

8. The Deeside Way, Aberdeenshire

Start: Ballater

Finish: Dinnet

Total Distance: 7 miles

Time to Cycle: 45-60 minutes.

Suitable for: Families and inexperienced cyclists

Particularly good for families, this off-road path follows the old Deeside railway line through some of Aberdeen’s most charming woodlands. There are also great mountain views and old station buildings to see along the way, as well as old graves and Pictish stones. The white suspension bridge over the River Dee is a good place to rest – a scenic spot for a picnic and a chance to give little legs a break.

9. The Helix Path, Falkirk

Start: Falkirk Stadium

Finish: Falkirk Town Centre (via the Falkirk Wheel)

Total Distance: 16 miles

Time to Cycle: 2 hours

Suitable for: Families and inexperienced cyclists

This custom-made circular cycle path is easy to follow and easy to cycle: taking you past the Falkirk Wheel, the Helix Park and the spectacular Kelpies. These huge stainless-steel horses are one of the most impressive landmarks in central Scotland, and can be easily accessed by bike without having to go near a road. The route also takes in woodlands, waterfalls and the family-friendly Helix Park, which has a great adventure playground and a café for kids. Those looking for more of a challenge can extend the route by taking a detour down the Forth and Clyde canals, which lead to Glasgow and further beyond.

10. Four Abbeys, Scottish Borders

Start: Dryburgh Abbey

Finish: Melrose

Total Distance: 55 miles

Time to Cycle: One full day, or done over two

Suitable for: More experienced cyclists

READ MORE: Are these Europe's best cycling routes?

Taking in the four main abbeys of the region (Dryburgh, Kelso, Jedburgh and Melrose) this circular route showcases some of the best sites that Scottish Borders has to offer. Challenging – but feasible – to complete in a day, the route can also be tackled over two with an overnight stop in one of the towns. The scenic, well-marked route follows mainly quiet roads with some brief stretches on local A roads. There are two paths that can be followed: going via Scott's View offers a great view and a hillier terrain, while the route by Newtown St Boswells is slightly easier (but not without steep climbs of its own).

Find out more about these routes (and others) from Scottish Cycle Routes, Cycle Scottish Borders, and Sustrans.