Vibrant Manchester has a bright biking future. Very bright.
When it comes to cycling in Cottonopolis, a lot is changing, and fast: A £1.5 billion masterplan — including a thousand miles of routes, 75 miles of dedicated bike lanes, and 1,400 safe crossings — is slated to finish up by 2028, making it the biggest network of its kind in the entire country. It’s also home to one of the world’s best velodromes and professional Team Sky.
For now, urban riding tends to be challenging (tram tracks, one-way streets), so your best bet for a relaxing roll is outside the city centre: National Cycle Routes 5, 55, 60, 62, 85, and 86 cut through different parts of Manchester and deliver you to the country (and the Fallowfield Loop is especially lovely). Or cruise the Ashton Canal, a green link past cool architecture and out to Ashton-under-Lyne.
That velodrome? You can book a session at the National Cycling Centre, which also has an indoor BMX track and seven miles of mountain biking trails.
MTB is also stellar at Clayton Vale, with 12km of rollable features, fun berms, adverse cambers, and white-knuckle rocks. Or try Lee and Cragg Quarry for natural, South Pennine terrain. The 205-mile Pennine Bridleway provides off-road adventuring for days, whether MTB or CX is your style|| gravel grinders brave the gritstone of Dark Peak and the limestone of White Peak (and everything in between).
The Christie Manchester to Blackpool ride, along scenic lanes to a huge beer garden, sells out every year. And the Tour de Manc, with a range of routes, is packed with tough climbs—including the Mad Manc, with 124 miles, 10 boroughs and 10,000 feet of up, up up.