Cycling in Manchester

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

Cycling for transportation and leisure enjoys popularity in 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. The city also has a cycle sharing scheme of 1,000 bicycles delivered in collaboration with Mobike which were introduced in June 2017.

Utility cycling

Cycling is a significant mode of transportation 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]

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.[8]

Manchester Friends of the Earth coordinate the 'Love Your Bike' campaign,[9] 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.[10]

In June 2017 Mobike started a bicycle-sharing scheme across the city allowing users to hire bikes via its app. Riders pay a deposit and then are charged 50p per 30 minutes.[11] 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.[12]

The city was the first to get a "Brompton Bike Hire" facility, at Piccadilly station.[13]

In 2015, Manchester was described as a "terrible cycling city" by Helen Pidd, the North of England editor of the Guardian newspaper.[14]

Chris Boardman was appointed Cycling and Walking Commissioner for Greater Manchester in 2017 by mayor Andy Burnham.[15] He will oversee projects to enhance the region's cycling network and increase the number of people who travel by bike.[16]

Cycle routes

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.[17]

Significant work to improve cycle lanes on Oxford Road and its continuation Wilmslow Road started in early 2016.[18] 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 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.[19]

Regular events

The Manchester Sky Ride, a mass participation bike ride, was held in August every year,[20] and became the HSBC UK City Ride from July 2017.[21][22] 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.[23] A naked bike ride is held annually early in the summer,[24] along with a non-corporate DIY cycling festival, North West Velo Fest.[25]

There are nearly 50 cycle clubs in Greater Manchester, catering to many styles of cycling,[26] with Manchester Wheelers' Club being one of the most well-known.[citation needed]

Cycle racing

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 Sky, 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 (2014-04-23). "Census shows more people in Manchester are cycling to work". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 2016-02-16.
  2. ^ Justin Connolly (2014-09-26). "Rapha Cycle Club opens in Manchester". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 2016-02-16. 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 2014-09-26.
  5. ^ "Pages - Cycling Strategy". Retrieved 2014-09-26.
  6. ^ "Greater Manchester Cycling Strategy July 2014" (PDF). 30 June 2014. Retrieved 2014-09-26.
  7. ^ "GMCC Greater Manchester Cycling Campaign". Retrieved 2014-09-26. Working to make cycling quicker, safer, easier and more enjoyable.
  8. ^ "Manchester Cycle Forum". Manchester City Council. Retrieved 2016-12-20.
  9. ^ "Manchester Friends of the Earth - Love Your Bike". Retrieved 2017-02-17.
  10. ^ "Manchester Friends of the Earth - Bike Friday". Retrieved 2017-02-17.
  11. ^ Charlotte Cox (2017-08-24). "Mobike Manchester city bikes: How to use them, where are they and how to get the app". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 2017-09-03.
  12. ^ Transport for Greater Manchester Cycle Hire Study (pdf) (Report). 2013-09-13. p. 90 (section 6.4). Retrieved 2016-02-17.
  13. ^ Alex B (2012-04-13). "Manchester, first city to get a Brompton Dock hire facilty". Retrieved 2015-06-17.
  14. ^ Helen Pidd (2015-08-18). "Why Manchester is a terrible cycling city". The Guardian. Retrieved 2015-08-19.
  15. ^ Helen Pidd (2017-08-31). "Chris Boardman: riding a bike on UK roads feels too dangerous for me". The Guardian. Retrieved 2017-09-06.
  16. ^ "Olympic cyclist Chris Boardman is announced as Greater Manchester's new cycling and walking commissioner". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 2017-09-06.
  17. ^ "Cycle Commuting Guide - Manchester". British Cycling. 2012-03-29. Retrieved 2015-07-18.
  18. ^ Charlotte Cox (2014-11-19). "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 2016-02-18.
  19. ^ "Cycleway surpasses one-million milestone". Transport for Greater Manchester. Retrieved 2017-12-10.
  20. ^ Charlotte Cox (2015-03-17). "Sky Ride Manchester: Cyclists to takeover [sic] the city centre roads for traffic-free event". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 2015-08-31.
  21. ^ "HSBC to take over from Sky as British Cycling sponsor". Cycling Weekly. Retrieved 2017-05-14.
  22. ^ "Let's Ride - City Ride Manchester". Retrieved 2017-05-14.
  23. ^ "Manchester makes strides with mass ride". London Cycling Campaign. Retrieved 2015-08-31.
  24. ^ "Hundreds take to Manchester streets for naked bike ride – pictures and video". Manchester Evening News. 2014-06-06. Retrieved 2015-08-31.
  25. ^ Alex Bowden (2017-05-27). "Manchester cycling festival to begin with nude bike ride". Retrieved 2017-09-03.
  26. ^ "Greater Manchester Cycling Clubs".
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