Cycling in Manchester

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

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]

There is no bicycle sharing system in Manchester, but the city was the first to get a "Brompton Bike Hire" facility, at Piccadilly station.[8] A 2013 study by TfGM into the possibility of a bike hire scheme 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.[9] No further progress has been announced since the study.

Manchester has been described as a "terrible cycling city" by the northern editor of the Guardian newspaper.[10]

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.[11]

Significant work to improve cycle lanes on Oxford Road and its continuation Wilmslow Road is taking place as of early 2016.[12] 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.

Regular events

The Manchester Sky Ride, a mass participation bike ride, is held in August every year,[13] and 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.[14] A naked bike ride is held annually early in the summer.[15]

There are nearly 50 cycle clubs in Greater Manchester, catering to many styles of cycling,[16] with Manchester Wheelers' Club being one of the most well-known.

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. Alex B (2012-04-13). "Manchester, first city to get a Brompton Dock hire facilty". Retrieved 2015-06-17.
  9. Transport for Greater Manchester Cycle Hire Study (pdf) (Report). 2013-09-13. p. 90 (section 6.4). Retrieved 2016-02-17.
  10. Helen Pidd (2015-08-18). "Why Manchester is a terrible cycling city". The Guardian. Retrieved 2015-08-19.
  11. "Cycle Commuting Guide - Manchester". British Cycling. 2012-03-29. Retrieved 2015-07-18.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. "Manchester makes strides with mass ride". London Cycling Campaign. Retrieved 2015-08-31.
  15. "Hundreds take to Manchester streets for naked bike ride – pictures and video". Manchester Evening News. 2014-06-06. Retrieved 2015-08-31.
  16. "Cycling Clubs in and around Greater Manchester". GMCC. Retrieved 2016-02-18.
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