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Guided rides coincide with Go Green Week and aim to give people confidence riding to and from place of study

Students at two universities in Greater Manchester will this week get the chance to take part in 'Bike Trains' to take them to locations such as halls of residence to their place of study. The guided rides are aimed at helping students - and staff, for that matter - gain confidence in riding on city streets, as well as showing them sage routes.

The free initiative, which is being co-ordinated by Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), coincides with today's start of Go Green Week, an initiative of student campaign group People & Planet.

People taking part need to have at least some previous cycling experience, and will be given a safety briefing ahead of the rides. People can also borrow a bike and cycle helmet should they need to.

Councillor Chris Paul, TfGM Committee’s Cycling Champion, commented: “Bicycles are a cost-effective, environmentally-friendly and easy way for students to travel to and from campus, reach local services and link up with the wider public transport network.

“By running these Bike Train sessions, we will hopefully demonstrate the numerous benefits of cycling, boost people’s confidence and encourage a take up in two-wheeled transport.

“While these sessions  do require some previous cycling experience, TfGM offers free cycle refresher courses for adults who might lack confidence cycling on road, or who haven’t ridden a bike for a while.”

In all, there will be six Bike Train sessions this week:

Two take place tomorrow, Tuesday 11 February, starting at Dalton Ellis Hall in Victoria Park at 8.30am and 9.15am and ending at Manchester University.

There will be two more on  Wednesday 12 February, beginning at Owens Park Campus at 8.15am and 9.15am and finishing at Manchester University.

Finally, Thursday 13 February sees two rides that start at Castle Irwell Student Village at Salford University at 8.30am and 9.15am and finish at Salford University.

Those wishing to take part are asked to register here, and more information abvout the cycle training TfGM provides throughout the year to both existing cyclists and those looking to get riding can be found here.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

8 comments

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Ghedebrav [1100 posts] 2 years ago
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Ha! Routes to definitely avoid then!

Seriously though, a good idea to get people on bikes.

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notfastenough [3674 posts] 2 years ago
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Manchester drivers confronted with a peloton of inexperienced riders in rush hour, that's going to go down well. Still, a great idea. Other road users will just need to get used to it.

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farrell [1950 posts] 2 years ago
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They're also flogging D-locks for a tenner if you know anyone who is a student or tutor at the uni. I think the locks are On Guard Pitbulls but I could be as far out as a lighthouse with that one though my memory has been shocking today.

Still, a D-lock and shackle for a tenner isn't a bad deal if you need a back up one.

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pmanc [203 posts] 2 years ago
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These routes are relatively short rides on pretty flat roads. There are thousands of students and cycling *should* be a really handy way to get around.

Except the Oxford Road corridor (including Wilmslow Road) is regularly in the news as being dangerous for cycling - http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/wilm... - and the other options aren't much better - busy main roads or indirect residential back streets. You can argue that it is still rideable, and I do often cycle that way, but even a member of the Uni cycling club suggested cycling to Uni is unpopular because you "take your life in your hands".

Admittedly, some improvements are in the pipeline, but not along the curry mile, and until TfGM can make cycling feel safer I worry that cycling will only ever appeal to a small minority of students, who also have to deal with affording and safely storing a bike. Getting rid of all the cars parked in the cycle lanes might be a start? So bike trains, while well intentioned, are a bit of a sticking plaster job.

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farrell [1950 posts] 2 years ago
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It is stunning the lack of cycling in Manchester. Fallowfield to Town is home to Europe's busiest bus route for which students are paying £15 a week to travel 2 miles down a virtually flat, straight road.

It would be perfect to fit in dedicated, segregated cycle lanes but TfGm are more interested in using the Velocity money to make improvements on behalf of the bus companies and the council and the police just stick their heads in the ground and cover their eyes when the grim spectre of Rusholme's lawless motoring comes up.

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pmanc [203 posts] 2 years ago
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This promotional video from 1974 shows Manchester students campaigning for better cycle provision and less motorised traffic 40 years ago, but as far as I can tell things haven't changed much. Except maybe the students are more apathetic? (cycling at 3:20)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GkMUw9YKWjY&t=3m15s

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notfastenough [3674 posts] 2 years ago
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Which all makes the below far too topical:

http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/cycl...

RIP to the victim.

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Ghedebrav [1100 posts] 2 years ago
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notfastenough wrote:

Which all makes the below far too topical:

http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/cycl...

RIP to the victim.

Awful news. An eye-opener when it happens on a road you know well.

The facilities on that stretch are bizarre too. One of those spots where it would be better to have no cycling infrastructure at all.

Can't imagine how his poor family must feel. Really horrible to hear this story.