Cycling in Manchester
Manchester is a great place to cycle, and now there are even more opportunities to get out and about on your bike in the area.
Find out more about rides coming up in Manchester here, and see the tabs below for other cycling opportunities.
Spring Series 2014 Manchester
A special series of more challenging rides, perfect for jump-starting your spring cycling.
Guided bike rides
Organised rides supported by British Cycling Ride Leaders
Buddy bike rides
Rides organised by our social network for cyclists
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British Cycling can help you find a club that’s right for you. Use the club finder link to find a club near you. There are some great cycling clubs and groups in Manchester who welcome new and novice cyclists to come along and ride with them, including:
Go-Ride Clubs for under 16s
Commuter cycling is growing in Manchester. Pull up at the traffic lights in the city centre at peak hour and you’re seldom alone in the advanced stop box. There’s a definite cycling scene, partly based on Manchester’s historical position as a strong cycling city and fed by the growing tribes of urban commuters, fixie riders and a huge student population, many of whom move by bike.
Free adult cycle training and free Bike Friday led rides each month, together with a significant investment in cycle parking and routes have all led to encouraging modal shift in the city.
Cycle route provision
Manchester’s position as the cradle of the industrial revolution has left its mark in many ways. The lasting legacy for cyclists has been the canal and railway network, which forms the basis of the city’s major regional and national cycling routes, with a number of National Cycle Network (NCN) routes converging on the city. From north west, NCN55 uses the former Tyldesley and Roe Green Looplines to link Wigan with Manchester, traffic-free until Monton where it threads through quiet streets before joining Eccles New Road and heading into Manchester City Centre.
NCN 6 connects Bury and Manchester on a mixture of streets and traffic-free paths, joining NCN60 (AKA the Fallowfield Loop) at Chorlton-cum-Hardy. The Fallowfield loopline is essentially the cyclist’s M60, a partial outer ring road which encircles the south-eastern quadrant of the city. At its far end NCN60 joins the Ashton Canal towpath, linking up with Regional Route 86 near the National Cycling Centre.
Regional Route 86 follows the River Medlock from the eastern edge of the city centre, near Piccadilly, and follows the river through Phillips Park and Clayton Vale. The Trans Pennine Trail (NCN62) crosses the south of the city on its coast to coast journey, linking up with NCN60 at Chorlton.
Finally, NCN66 uses the Rochdale Canal Towpath to provide a traffic-free route from the north-east of the city, terminating near Manchester Piccadilly station.
Transport for Greater Manchester, the city’s primary source for cycling information, has a number of resources including free cycle training and maintenance courses; mapping; guidance on commuting, cycle parking and other resources.
There are currently 760 publicly available cycle parking spaces in the city centre and 2460 across the University of Manchester estate. In addition to on-street facilities, “Bike Lockers Users Club” (BLUC) is a cycle parking scheme to encourage people to use their cycles to travel to train, Metrolink and bus stations and town centre locations across Greater Manchester. Check out the new addition to the city - The Cycle Hub. Manchester City Council's Cycle Parking Map.
Cycling and trains
Manchester City Centre has three main railway stations. At Piccadilly station, there are cycle racks on Fairfield Street, in the long stay car park and on Station Approach. Manchester Victoria has 38 cycle stands on the platform and the station approach, while Manchester Oxford road has Sheffield stands on the approach. In terms of taking bikes on trains, check with your train operator for further details.
As befits a city with a strong cycling tradition, Manchester has many bike shops, ranging from the edgy GBH Custom Hacks in Northern Quarter to big chains like Evan’s Cycles, the latter having branches on Deansgate and at the National Cycling Centre. The long established Harry Hall Cycles is based on Whitworth Street near Deansgate station while Edinburgh Bicycle Cooperative is based in Rusholme to the south of the city.
Don’t leave home without...
TfGM's cycle map, which details cycle routes, parking, shops and more in the city. A range of further maps from TfGM details the entire Greater Manchester conurbation.
Open Cycle Map – Manchester
Transport for Greater Manchester– the place to go for news, events, advice and resources
Manchester City Council Cycling Pages
Greater Manchester Cycling Campaign
Loveyourbike.org – Manchester Friends of the Earth cycling campaign group
The National Cycling Centre is the home of British Cycling. The National Cycling Centre includes the Manchester Velodrome and the new National Indoor BMX Centre. The velodrome is Britain’s first indoor Olympic cycling track and widely regarded as one of the world’s finest and fastest board tracks. If you’d like to try track cycling there are regular beginners’ sessions.
The Tameside Cycle Circuit is situated in the Richmond Park complex alongside the East Cheshire Harriers athletics club and the Curzon Ashton Football club.
British Cycling works with Manchester City Council to promote a range of opportunities for people to get involved with cycling whatever their age and ability. Find out more about Manchester City Council's commitment to helping more people in Manchester get into cycling.
The Transport for Greater Manchester website helps you to started and join in local cycling events. There’s route information too.
The Love Your Bike campaign is based in Manchester. This group, co-ordinated by Friends of the Earth, promotes cycling to help make it an attractive, accessible and fun way to get around. If you’re a new cycle commuter you’ll find help and support at one of the Bike Friday events in the city.
The Greater Manchester Cycling Campaign is a voluntary group working to make cycling in Greater Manchester quicker, safer, easier and more enjoyable.
Long term British Cycling partner, Cycling Projects, is a charity dedicated to accessible and inclusive cycling. Together we have ensured that as many of our led-rides as possible are fully accessible by anyone with an impairment or disability, so that able-bodied and disabled people can ride together. And working together we have developed a model for inclusive cycle clubs, and recreational programmes.
Cycling Projects has expertise in cycling-related training, cycle for health schemes, working with excluded groups and bringing cycling to disabled people. The team has joined in many of the Sky Ride city events, bringing their experience and a range of bikes, and supporting families and new riders.
Find out more about our partners Cycling Projects.
Where to ride
There are lots of great cycle routes around Manchester, from traffic-free parks to canal paths and city routes. You can request a Manchester cycling route map here.
The Fallowfield Loop Line is a great way of enjoying largely traffic-free cycling in the city. The Fallowfield Loop is an off-road cycle path, pedestrian and horse riding route from Chorlton through Fallowfield and Levenshulme to Gorton and Fairfield in Manchester. It's part of a national cycle network of routes and paths developed and built by Sustrans.
The Manchester Airport and the Cheshire Cycleway is also a great route, allowing you to cycle from the Cheshire Cycleway route 70 to Manchester Airport, its railway station, and the new Aviation Viewing Park, using dedicated cycle paths plus quiet lanes.
At Heaton Park you can enjoy the beautiful parkland, formal gardens, wildlife and architecture, with plenty of refreshment stops available at the park’s many cafes. At just under three miles, its totally traffic-free cycle route is largely flat, making it perfect for young riders and newcomers to cycling.
Chorlton Water Park is great for cycling but its value to bird life and its status as a Local Nature Reserve reflect that it's managed for wildlife as well as people. There are a good range of well surfaced paths for cycling. The park also links into Sale Water Park which also has cycle paths.
The Medlock Valley, Phillips Park and Clayton Vale are great places to discover by bike. Neighbouring Sportcity is home to National Cycling Centre at Manchester, and the area is also part of the National Cycle Network. The new Clayton Vale Mountain Bike Trails and Skills Zone are accessible, fun, demanding and will definitely put a great big grin on your face whether you are a beginner or more advanced rider. The MTB trails are for riders of all levels of ability.