AS Scotland prepares to host the cycling world championships, many may be inspired to hit the road and enjoy the country's many picturesque and challenging cycling routes.

The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) world event will be held in Glasgow and in other places across the country from August 3-13.

If you're just visiting Scotland or are a veteran cyclist looking for a new route, here is our list of some of the country's best - from easy coastal loops to all day epics.

1. Tweed Valley railway path

This flat route runs along the River Tweed in the Borders and is perfect for families looking for an easy summer cycle. It's traffic-free bar a short stretch through the village of Cardrona and it follows a disused railway line, with lovely sections alongside the river.

Top tip: It’s well worth visiting Traquair House, Scotland’s oldest inhabited house.

2. The Forth and Clyde canal

This 45.4 mile route is one of the most popular for those living in and around Glasgow and perfect for those visiting for the world championships.

It’s quite flat, easy-to-follow and largely traffic-free, taking cyclists along the Forth and Clyde Canal and ending up at the Falkirk Wheel.

The journey begins in Cowcaddens just outside Glasgow City Centre where you travel northwards up the A81 and A879, eventually ending up at the iconic landmark where you can enjoy some stunning views.

The National:

3. Devilla Forest

Among the many routes in and around Edinburgh, some of the best are in Devilla Forest in Fife which has hundreds of forest cycle trails. It’s located less than an hour from Scotland’s capital city and is home to an abundance of creatures, including red squirrels.

4. Assynt Achiltibuie Circular trail

For cyclists wanting a long-distance ride in the Scottish Highlands, you should look no further than this route, which is 112km long. One of VisitScotland’s Top 11 best cycle routes, it takes bikers across the wild countryside of Scotland’s north-west.

Starting in Achiltibuie, the route takes you past mountains such as Sula Bheinn, Cùl Mòr and Stac Pollaidh, as well as beaches and stunning lochs.

5. East Cumbrae loop

Situated on Great Cumbrae, the larger of the two islands known as The Cumbraes in the lower Firth of Clyde in western Scotland, this route is short but stunning.

Starting at the main town of Millport, this five mile route passes by the island’s iconic smiling Crocodile Rock before progressing to the sheltered golden sands of Kames Bay.