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Riding and maintenance training offered for all types of rider

Transport for Greater Manchester is encouraging cyclists to keep riding through winter with a new web page of advice and tips for keeping warm and safe in the wet, dark months.

The city also offers a range of free cycling courses and bike maintenance lessons.

The courses involve up to six hours of free one-to-one cycle training tailored to your individual needs, and the maintenance courses include advice on how to keep your bike in good shape in the winter.

For those new to cycling, or who haven’t been on a bike for a while, free ‘Learn to Ride’ courses for over-16s are also running throughout the winter at venues across Greater Manchester.

Councillor Chris Paul, Cycling Champion on the Transport for Greater Manchester Committee, said: “Staying warm, riding safely and making sure your bike is in good condition is especially important at this time of year.

“Colder weather and dark evenings need not necessarily be a problem for cyclists. Our website gives some really useful advice and our cycling instructors offer free, personalised sessions that teach skills for all levels.”

The first 50 people to sign up to the one-to-one training between now and 31 January will get a free commuter cycle pack including lights and a high vis rucksack cover.

TfGM’s cycling team will attend events throughout the winter months to offer advice on all aspects of winter cycling. For more information, visit: http://cycling.tfgm.com/whats-on.htm

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.