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Cycling is a perfect gateway into activity for individuals wishing to exercise more, and provides a great deal of physical and mental benefits. Whether you wish to cycle with others or independently, Cycling is a relatively inexpensive method of exercise, offering a low cost and effective physical activity without the degree of physical effects that an activity such as running can exert on the body. Moreover, cycling isn’t restricted to a facility or location - if you have a bike, simply pedal and go! The world is at your feet. Why not take some friends with you too? Research shows that group exercise can help alleviate levels of stress by up to 26%.
Improving cycling rates in Manchester is therefore a key priority for the city. Not only is cycling a priority in terms of physical activity and the mental wellbeing of residents, but also key to expanding the outreach and success of the ‘Bee Network’, which has now become the UK’s largest walking & cycling network.
There are a significant number of cycle rides around Manchester unknown to many residents. A key aim of our work is both to increase awareness of these cycling routes and to highlight how easy it is for you to begin cycling in Manchester. Whether you can’t yet ride a bike but would love to learn, want to develop your on-road cycling confidence, join a led ride or set up your own, or try sport cycling – there is something for you in Manchester.
We’ve tried to compile as much information as we can to highlight the wealth of cycling options available to you across the city, no matter your experience or skill. Click the tabs to see more information and see what works for you!
LEARN TO RIDE
This course is aimed individuals new to cycling or who may not have ridden for many years. This course is designed to help build your confidence. You will learn basic cycling skills to ease you into cycling alongside a small group of others at a similar experience level to you. Bikes can be also provided if needed.
If you’d like to give this a go, you can find further details and booking information here.
ROAD RIDER READY
This course is aimed at those wishing to take to the roads, maybe for the first time. Sessions are open to those over the age of 12 when accompanied by an adult or 16 when unaccompanied. Run by a qualified instructor, you'll be in a small group with people of similar ability whilst you learn how to ride safely in traffic.
Bikes can be provided if required.
If feel this course is for you, you can find further details and booking information here.
TFGM also offer Manchester residents:
One-to-one sessions where an instructor will accompany a rider with planning a bespoke route (e.g. to work or another location) and building cycling skills and confidence cycling on the road. The rider needs their own bike for this session.
Family sessions – bespoke on-road family confidence-building cycling sessions in a location of your choice. Participants need their own bikes.
Bike maintenance sessions are offered in Manchester.
Basic Bike Maintenance: will teach you how to look after your bike and carry out simple maintenance. This session lasts two hours and costs £5.
Intermediate Bike Maintenance: is for those who have basic bike maintenance knowledge but want to extend their skills to take on more complex tasks and save money on repairs. This session lasts two hours and costs £25.
Find out more information here
FREE LED RIDES
British Cycling offer free and friendly local rides led by knowledgeable ride leaders in the Manchester area. The rides are a great way to get out and about, whether that be on your own, or with family and friends. You’ll also have the opportunity to meet new people, improve your fitness and get more confident on your bike.
Please note all riders will need to bring their own bikes. Find out more about British Cycling opportunities here.
Want to start your own led ride in your community?
Through Manchester’s partnership with British Cycling we are able to offer a number of free ride leader training places to Manchester residents.
We are particularly looking for applicants from areas of the city where there are low levels of cycling and from groups underrepresented in cycling/physical activity. We are looking for people who enjoy cycling and are interested in leading entry level or family rides in Manchester. You don’t need to be a great cyclist – you just need to have it is more about engaging with people, and being friendly and welcoming. All Ride Leader skills will be taught on the course, though applicants must be confident in riding a bike. Get in touch for a chat to find out more.
Next courses in Manchester:
Guided Rides: Become a ride leader (2nd April 2022) - Register your interest here or find out more about becoming a ride leader here.
Breeze rides: Become a Breeze ride leader (23rd April 2021) - Register your interest here or find out about becoming a Breeze Champion here.
Get into cycling:
Studies have routinely shown that women lag behind men both in terms of both cycling frequency and distance, sometimes by as much as 3-4 times. There are a number of reasons for this, research from Sustrans’ showed that aside from an intimidating traffic environment, other key concerns for women were age (17%) and lack of fitness (8%), followed by a range of other issues around their appearance.
To address this gender gap British Cycling now offer free guided ‘Breeze’ women-only rides. The rides are fun, free bike rides for women of all abilities across the UK. No matter who you are, every woman is welcome on a HSBC UK Breeze ride.
If you’re interested, you can find out more information and book here.
Want to start your own led rides for women in your community? Get in touch to find out about free ride leader training for Manchester residents.
Upcoming course: Become a Breeze ride leader (women’s rides) – 23rd April 2021.
Register interest here. Find out about becoming a Breeze Champion here.
Joyriders: Joyriders Manchester offer led rides for women in the Manchester area, often through parks and on quiet back roads. See their Facebook page and book on to a ride here.
Ladypedal: Ladypedal is a community of cycling women. The group runs cycling events and activities by women, for women, sharing cycling knowledge and enthusiasm and skills. Find out more and get involved here.
FREE CYCLING COURSES FOR SCHOOLS & COMMUNITY GROUPS
TFGM have teamed up with British Cycling to offer free courses to those who want to develop cycling in their communities. These courses are suitable for community groups, youth groups, clubs and schools.
Further information can be found here.
“Have fun, make friends, get fit! Everyone is welcome”.
Simply Cycling offer weekly opportunities at Wythenshawe Park, Boggart Hole Clough and Longford Park for people to try a wide and fantastic range of bikes.
They offer opportunities for all, including people with any disability, health conditions or those who would are nervous and would like to build cycling confidence. Tricycles, hand cycles, bikes for wheelchairs, recumbents and many more are included in their stock. Find out more here.
Simply Cycling also offer one-to-one ride-outs – supporting riders to grow in confidence and develop bike handling skills, and explore the local area.
MADE TO MOVE & THE BEE NETWORK
Did you know Greater Manchester is delivering the UK’s largest cycling and walking network? The Bee Network is a plan to revolutionise walking and cycling across Greater Manchester making active travel the number one choice for travelling to work, to school and to the shops.
“In Greater Manchester we’re connecting up every area and community, making it easy, safe and attractive for people to travel on foot or by bike for everyday trips”.
The Bee Network was unveiled in 2018 by the Cycling and Walking commissioner Chris Boardman, and forms part of his Made to Move plan, with its 15 steps for putting people first to enable active and sustainable travel. Swapping shorter car journeys for walking and cycling, enables everyone to contribute to Manchester’s carbon reduction targets to tackle climate change.
In Manchester, these plans include Beswick Active Neighbourhood; Levenshulme and Burnage Active Neighbourhoods; Northern and Eastern Gateway (Ancoats); Fallowfield Loop Line with Stockport Branch Canal and Yellow Brick Road; Rochdale Canal (into Manchester); Northern Quarter and Chorlton Busy Beeway.
Find out more and see what’s happening near you on the Transport for Greater Manchester (TFGM) Active Travel pages, where you’ll also find a lot of advice on walking and cycling. You can also check out our MCRactive walking pages to find information and support for more walking in Manchester.
Cycling UK Big Bike Revival: Cycling UK currently has Big Bike Revival funding to fund organisations to run cycling events aimed at those who are new to cycling, or who used to cycle and would like to re-start. This is a great funding opportunity for any organisation that wants to trial a few cycling events including putting on some ‘Doctor Bike’ (bike maintenance), Learn to Ride, Led Rides and others.
Cycling UK can also offer some support for the development of community cycling clubs.
COMMUNITY CYCLING CLUBS AND GROUPS
If you are looking to develop cycling in your community, get in touch.
We’ll direct you towards cycling opportunities and help support you to access funding where we can.
Groups and Clubs:
There are many smaller community-based groups that can also support you to cycle more, including:
Platt Fields Park Bike Hub – Platt Fields Park.
The Bike Hive - Alexandra Bike (Whalley Range).
Communities for All – Khizra Mosque - Cheetham.
Moston Cycling Walking – Moston.
Cycling for Health Group – Debdale Park
FUNDING FOR COMMUNITY CYCLING
MCRactive has a small pot of funding for pilot projects that support under-represented groups in areas of health inequalities to cycle more, through the creation of sustainable cycling opportunities. Please get in touch if you are seeking funding for community cycling opportunities.
TFGM Cycle and Stride for Active Lives funding supports the development of cycling and walking opportunities in under-represented groups including women and girls; people from ethnically diverse communities and people who are less well-off financially. Find out more here.
TFGM also have other cycling funding opportunities. If you would like to be added to the contact list for further TFGM funding opportunities, get in touch.
UTILITY & COMMUTER CYCLING
250 million car journeys of less than 1km are made in Greater Manchester each year. That’s just a 5 minute bike ride. Riding more can keep you fit and help improve local air quality and reduce carbon emissions. Find out here how to take your first steps into utility/commuter cycling.
Getting access to a bike: Greater Manchester’s new cycle hire scheme will see 1,500 bikes (including e-bikes) available to hire in the Greater Manchester area by Summer 2022. It’s the region’s first publicly operated self-service 24/7 cycle hire scheme.
The Bee Network also have bikes available to hire via a mobile phone app and will operate on a Pay As You Ride (PAYR) basis. Find out more here. Bikes can also be hired from Manchester bike hire (city centre) or from Velo Times (Mersey Valley, South Manchester).
Buying a bike
Buying a bike can sometimes be tricky, especially if you never owned a bike before, or haven’t owned one in a long time. If you need help finding a bike, Halfords have put together a simple buyers guide to help you pick the right bike for you.
Alternatively, find your local or national chain bike shop here and select one that suits you, or find out more on getting access to a bike here.
Cycle training: Book onto one of the cycle training sessions (see dropdown tab 1) to develop your on-road cycle confidence. You can either access a group session or a bespoke one-to-one session.
Led rides: Join a led ride to build your cycle confidence before heading out on the road (see dropdown tab 2) or find out if they is a local cycling group you can get involved with (see dropdown tab7).
Cycle routes: Find local cycle routes in your area or explore where you live.
Bike to Work scheme: It’s likely your workplace offers a Bike to Work scheme through which you can buy a bike, equipment and clothing in a tax-efficient way, thereby saving money. Ask your HR department for details.
Weather: Tips to beat the Manchester weather. It’s not as bad as you think!
TFGM Active Travel Pages: See TFGM’s Active Travel pages here for many more ideas to support and encourage cycling and walking.
CYCLING WITH CHILDREN
Family confidence cycle training: TFGM offer family confidence cycle training. This is bespoke 2 hour cycle training in an area / route of your choice and is aimed at building your confidence as a family to cycle safely together on the road. Riders will need their own bikes.
More information here.
Ways to cycle with your children: Bambino Biking gives advice on the many ways you can cycle with your children – including cargo bikes, trailers, child bike seats and balance bikes.
Cycling to school: Sustrans and Cycling UK offer advice on cycling to school.
GET IN TOUCH
We’d love to hear about your walking plans and to help support and promote them, so do get in touch.
Please sign up for our Manchester: Let’s Walk! workshop.
We can give advice and point you in the direction of useful resources and may be able to support you with some start-up funding to support your community walking plans.
Angela Martin: firstname.lastname@example.org
Laurel Kinrade: email@example.com