AS Scottish cycling star Mark Beaumont approaches the Australian halfway point on his record-breaking attempt to cycle around the globe in 80 days, new figures have revealed the multi-million pound value of road cycling tourism to the Scottish economy.

Research by VisitScotland reveals that one million day trips and 261,000 overnight trips – which include cycling on a road or surfaced path – were taken by visitors from the UK in 2015, generating a combined total of £106 million for the Scottish economy that year.

It also highlights that the activity continues to attract both men and woman and remains particularly popular with those aged 35 to 54.

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With routes such as the Loch Leven Heritage Trail, the Ayrshire Coast Cycle Way and the 4 Abbeys Way in the Scottish Borders, Scotland’s 2000-mile National Cycle Network covers some of the country’s most spectacular scenery.

Malcolm Roughead, chief executive of VisitScotland, said: “Scotland’s reputation as a cycling destination is growing every year thanks to the creation of new and exciting routes that show the best of our stunning landscapes.

“We also have over 500 miles of traffic-free paths which make Scotland a great family-friendly cycling country.

“We are lucky to be working with people like Mark, who is a fantastic ambassador, not just for the sport, but for Scotland as a whole. His sheer determination, spirit and obvious love of Scotland’s breathtaking cycling routes has undoubtedly inspired visitors and this is sure to continue as he completes the second leg of his Artemis World Cycle challenge.”

Prior to embarking on his epic 18,000-mile cycle, Beaumont helped raise awareness of some of the country’s best cycling routes by cycling the Hebridean Way, the North Coast 500 and across Argyll.

Beaumont added: “The north of Scotland has the quietest and safest roads in Scotland for cycling. I recently pedalled the North Coast 500 route around Caithness and Sutherland, taking in the Bealach Na Bà, often named as the UK’s best cycling climb.

“This entire west coast up past Torridon, Ullapool and Lochinver is absolutely stunning.”