Cycling in Greater Manchester

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Cyclists using the cycle lane on Oxford Road, passing an electronic bicycle counter

Cycling for transport and leisure enjoys popularity in Greater Manchester and the city also plays a major role in British cycle racing.[1][2] The University of Manchester is home to the Manchester Cycling Lab.[3]

Since 2014, Manchester has been upgrading many key thoroughfares into the city centre to include dedicated cycle lanes which are segregated from buses including Oxford Road.

Utility cycling[edit]

A cyclist at Salford Quays
A bicycle park at a Trafford Metrolink station

Cycling is a significant mode of transport for people commuting to work.[4] In 2011, the UK Census revealed that 2.1% of residents travelled to work by bike in Greater Manchester, up from 1.9% in 2001.

Transport for Greater Manchester aspire to "achieve at least a 300% increase in the levels of cycling across the city region by 2025"[5] and have produced a corresponding cycling strategy.[6]

Greater Manchester Cycling Campaign is a volunteer-run group that works to make cycling quicker, safer and more enjoyable.[7] Another pressure group for Greater Manchester is Walk Ride GM, which advocates for better environments and facilities for pedestrians as well as cyclists.[8][9]

The Manchester Cycle Forum enables people with an interest in cycling to meet councillors and council staff from Manchester City Council, Transport for Greater Manchester staff, and representatives from various cycling and transport organisations to discuss cycling-related issues in the city. Meetings take place quarterly.[10]

Manchester Friends of the Earth coordinate the 'Love Your Bike' campaign,[11] which promotes cycling as an environmentally friendly mode of transport. One of its activities is the 'Bike Friday' scheme, monthly rides from outer districts into the city centre. These are aimed at encouraging commuters to cycle in to work, benefiting from the added safety and sociability of riding in a group.[12]

In 2015, Manchester was described as a "terrible cycling city" by Helen Pidd, the North of England editor of the Guardian newspaper.[13]

Chris Boardman was appointed Cycling and Walking Commissioner for Greater Manchester in 2017 by mayor Andy Burnham.[14] His remit includes overseeing projects to enhance the region's cycling network and increase the number of people who travel by bike.[15]

Bicycle hire[edit]

In June 2017 Mobike started a bicycle-sharing scheme across the city allowing users to hire bikes via its app. Riders paid a deposit and were then charged 50p per 30 minutes.[16] The scheme was suspended in September 2018 due to the high level of vandalism caused to many of the bicycles.[17]

A 2013 study by TfGM into the possibility of a bike hire scheme had suggested that an initial scheme should focus on a concentrated portion at the centre of the conurbation, including Manchester city centre, Salford Quays, Oxford Road and Hulme.[18]

The new docked bike hire scheme will start in the spring 2021 with 1,500 bikes across Manchester, Trafford & Salford (initially) including some electric.[19]

The city was the first to get a "Brompton Bike Hire" facility, at Piccadilly station.[20]

Cycle routes[edit]

The cycleway in Whitworth Park
Cyclists on the Pennine Bridleway

Major dedicated cycle routes in Greater Manchester or passing through areas of the city include the Trans Pennine Trail, National Cycle Route 6, National Cycle Route 55, National Cycle Route 66, the Fallowfield Loop and Regional Cycle Route 86.[21]

Significant work to improve cycle lanes on Oxford Road and its continuation Wilmslow Road started in early 2016.[22] The route is a major artery for buses between the residential areas of south Manchester and the city centre, and bisects the main Manchester University campus. Much of the cycleway is now physically separated from vehicle traffic. A pair of digital bicycle counters installed on either side of the road near Whitworth Park in September 2016 had reached a combined total of 1,000,000 bike journeys by late 2017.[23]

In 2019, TfGM is developing a "Bee Network" of cycle routes across Greater Manchester.[24]

The 1st part of the Chorlton Cycleway has been delivered with Dutch style junctions.[25]

Regular events[edit]

The Manchester Sky Ride, a mass participation bike ride, was held in August every year,[26] and became the HSBC UK City Ride from July 2017.[27][28] The Great Manchester Cycle is a similar large-scale event held during the summer in recent years. A Critical Mass event takes place on the last Friday of every month, starting by Manchester Central Library.[29] A naked bike ride is held annually early in the summer,[30] along with a non-corporate DIY cycling festival, North West Velofest.[31][32]

There are over 200 cycle clubs in Greater Manchester, catering to many styles of cycling,[33] with Manchester Wheelers' Club being one of the most well-known.[citation needed]

Well known sportives include the "Manchester 100", a choice of 100 mile or 100 km rides to the south of the city,[34] and the "Tour de Manc", a 100-mile ride through all the ten boroughs.[35]

Cycle racing[edit]

Manchester is prominent in elite cycling, being home to British Cycling, the governing body for cycle racing in Great Britain, and the National Cycling Centre. The centre was built in 1994 and contains Britain's first indoor cycling track, which has hosted three UCI Track Cycling World Championships, among many other events. The National Indoor BMX Arena is situated alongside the velodrome. The country's foremost professional cycling team, Team Ineos, is also headquartered at the National Cycling Centre.


A combined velodrome and athletics stadium, Fallowfield Stadium opened in 1892. The cycling track was 509 yards in circumference and was used for the 1934 British Empire Games. It was demolished in 1994.


  1. ^ Charlotte Cox (23 April 2014). "Census shows more people in Manchester are cycling to work". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 16 February 2016.
  2. ^ Justin Connolly (26 September 2014). "Rapha Cycle Club opens in Manchester". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 16 February 2016. There’s a rich cycling heritage here, and Manchester is the home of British cycling.
  3. ^ "Welcome to the Manchester Cycling Lab!". Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  4. ^ "Mad Cycle Lanes of Manchester: Cycling levels up and down in GM". Retrieved 26 September 2014.
  5. ^ "Pages - Cycling Strategy". Retrieved 26 September 2014.
  6. ^ "Greater Manchester Cycling Strategy July 2014" (PDF). 30 June 2014. Retrieved 26 September 2014.
  7. ^ "GMCC Greater Manchester Cycling Campaign". Retrieved 26 September 2014. Working to make cycling quicker, safer, easier and more enjoyable.
  8. ^ "Walk Ride GM". Retrieved 21 October 2019.
  9. ^ "A summary of the AGM 2019". NewCycling. 12 June 2019. Retrieved 21 October 2019.
  10. ^ "Manchester Cycle Forum". Manchester City Council. Retrieved 20 December 2016.
  11. ^ "Manchester Friends of the Earth - Love Your Bike". Retrieved 17 February 2017.
  12. ^ "Manchester Friends of the Earth - Bike Friday". Retrieved 17 February 2017.
  13. ^ Helen Pidd (18 August 2015). "Why Manchester is a terrible cycling city". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
  14. ^ Helen Pidd (31 August 2017). "Chris Boardman: riding a bike on UK roads feels too dangerous for me". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 September 2017.
  15. ^ "Olympic cyclist Chris Boardman is announced as Greater Manchester's new cycling and walking commissioner". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 6 September 2017.
  16. ^ Charlotte Cox (24 August 2017). "Mobike Manchester city bikes: How to use them, where are they and how to get the app". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 3 September 2017.
  17. ^ "Crime-hit Mobike suspends Manchester sharing scheme". BBC. 5 September 2018. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  18. ^ Transport for Greater Manchester Cycle Hire Study (PDF) (Report). 13 September 2013. p. 90 (section 6.4). Retrieved 17 February 2016.
  19. ^ "GM Bike Hire scheme supplier race now down to four operators". Transport For Greater Manchester News.
  20. ^ Alex B (13 April 2012). "Manchester, first city to get a Brompton Dock hire facilty". Retrieved 17 June 2015.
  21. ^ "Cycle Commuting Guide - Manchester". British Cycling. 29 March 2012. Retrieved 18 July 2015.
  22. ^ Charlotte Cox (19 November 2014). "Watch: How the new Oxford Road will look - with traffic no-go zones during the day and 'Dutch-style' cycle lanes". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  23. ^ "Cycleway surpasses one-million milestone". Transport for Greater Manchester. Retrieved 10 December 2017.
  24. ^ Cox, Charlotte (20 July 2018). "Mapped: The first 15 routes in Chris Boardman's £1.5bn cycling and walking masterplan". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  25. ^ "Manchester to Chorlton cycling and walking route". Transport for Greater Manchester.
  26. ^ Charlotte Cox (17 March 2015). "Sky Ride Manchester: Cyclists to takeover [sic] the city centre roads for traffic-free event". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 31 August 2015.
  27. ^ "HSBC to take over from Sky as British Cycling sponsor". Cycling Weekly. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  28. ^ "Let's Ride - City Ride Manchester". Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  29. ^ "Manchester makes strides with mass ride". London Cycling Campaign. Retrieved 31 August 2015.
  30. ^ "Hundreds take to Manchester streets for naked bike ride – pictures and video". Manchester Evening News. 6 June 2014. Retrieved 31 August 2015.
  31. ^ "North West Velofest". North West Velo Fest.
  32. ^ Alex Bowden (27 May 2017). "Manchester cycling festival to begin with nude bike ride". Retrieved 3 September 2017.
  33. ^ "Local Groups". 22 November 2012.
  34. ^ "Cyclo-Sportive: Manchester 100". Cycling Weekly. 25 November 2009. Retrieved 21 October 2019.
  35. ^ "Tour de Manc". Retrieved 21 October 2019.

External links[edit]