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Lochaber is recognised as the Outdoor Capital of the UK and has hosted the World Cup since 2002. The area has a long heritage of outdoor pursuits alongside mountain biking. Climbing, mountaineering, skiing, hill running, open water swimming, kayaking and sailing. We speak to a local business that is celebrating and sharing what the area has to offer.


Off Beat Bikes have been in Fort William since rigid rockhoppers with caliper brakes roamed the forest roads of Lochaber, inevitably ridden by a Ron Hill trickster-wearing enthusiast! Started from a garden shed in 1985, they have been on Fort Williams High Street for many years, meeting the needs of local and visiting mountain bikers and promoting the many experiences Lochaber has to offer.

For most of that time, it has been owned and run by Nix and Foss, who moved from Newcastle on Tyne to the Highlands seeking adventure. Working as ski instructors, they quickly became an important part of the local cycling and hill running community, leading club rides and organising events. As well as bikes, they also specialise in running and open water swimming kit, and are passionate about helping their customers have great experiences in the outdoors.

Central to Nix and Foss’s love of the area has been being part of the community and exploring – they have explored all over the UK and abroad together and with friends – 30 years on they are still motivated to get out in all weathers!

We asked them to tell us more about Off Beat Bikes and what they do.

What’s Off Beat Bikes all about?

Superb bike & electric bike specialist. Sales, service, and hire. Top brands include Cube along with Orange, Whyte, Santa Cruz, and Marin. Wetsuits and wild swimming kit from Orca and Dryrobe. We have expert, friendly staff. Please feel free to call in and speak to us; we are always happy to help.


What’s changed for Off Beat Bikes over the years?

Ebikes have arrived! Cycle further and faster; make cycling uphill fun! We see a lot of our customers from years ago coming back in and rediscovering their love of cycling and the outdoors on Ebikes.

They can explore further with friends and rediscover the bothies and glens they used to ride to, it's been great to see their enthusiasm.


Eeeb Exploring!

Give us some recommendations for great Lochaber experiences?

For an accessible ride for locals and our hire bike customers, our favourite ride is a 30 miles loop along the Caledonia Canal and back through Leanachan Forest. Perfect for all bikers and ebikers.

Highlights include the Neptunes staircase canal locks at Banavie and the Commando Memorial at Spean Bridge. It has great views of Ben Nevis and the Great Glen. There’s even a perfect stop-off point at Gairlochy for an open water swim!

For an epic day ride of nearly 50 miles in a fantastic Highland setting try the Tour de Ben Nevis/Luibeilt Loop, known for the No Fuss Events event. It’s a tough route through some remote countryside, with some great descents, river crossings and bothy stops.

We also love road riding, especially out on the West Coast. For a two-day road ride try our own West Highland 100 mile Cycle Route around the Ardnamurchan Peninsular, simply stunning scenery on quiet roads. The route has some great places to stop and refuel and plenty of chances to see wildlife.

Living in Lochaber has so many opportunities for adventures to just stick to biking! For some fun try an Open Water Swim! There are lots of options in the area, many fresh water and sea lochs.

Check out Open Water Swimming in Scotland - Off , Beat Bikes

For more cycling routes, swimming spots check out OFF BEAT BIKES or Instagram.



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