Manchester, the city that is home to British Cycling, will this June host a mass participation cycling event on a 13-mile closed road circuit aimed at everyone from families looking for a leisurely ride to experienced cyclists looking to test themselves over four laps and 52 miles. The Great Manchester Cycle is being organised by Nova, which organises events including the Bupa Great North Run and Bupa Great Manchester Run, as well as the British Gas Great North Swim.
The event, which is to be held on Bank Holiday Monday 4 June, will see cyclists set off in waves beginning at 8am depending on which of the three rides they have entered. Those are the 13-mile Get Out and Pedal ride, described as ideal for beginners and families, the 26-mile Rule the Roads ride, aimed at leisure cyclists, and the 52-mile Test Yourself ride, which organisers say is suitable for club cyclists.
The circuit itself starts and finishes outside the Velodrome in Eastlands and heads along the Mancunian Way, normally closed to cyclists, towards Old Trafford and Salford Quays before heading back towards the start.
Online entries are now being accepted on the Great Manchester Cycle website, and adults applying before 20 April can benefit from a special offer on a jersey produced to commemorate the event, costing £15 instead of the usual £40.
The cost of entry is £28 for both the 26-mile and 52-mile rides, which includes chip timing, a Great Manchester Cycle t-shirt, medal and finishers pack, and there will also be feed stations along the route. Discounts are available for groups of five or ten riders.
Pricing is a little more complicated for the 13-mile ride. Children aged 3-7 go free, but must be on a tagalong or a child’s bike seat. The price for one adult is £28, rising to £38 for one adult plus one child aged over 8, £40 for one adult plus two children, £66 for two adults plus one child, £68 for two adults plus one child, and £78 for two adults plus three children. Family groups are limited to five, and every two children must be accompanied by at least one adult.
Entrants to the 14-mile ride will have to maintain a minimum speed of 7mph, rising to 13mph for the 26-mile ride and 18mph for the 52-mile ride.
The event is being backed by British Cycling, and also has the support of Olympic individual pursuit champion Rebecca Romero, who said: “I am thrilled at the prospect of the Great Manchester Cycle in my favourite sporting city. It will be a real boost for the sport and I’m sure will capture the imagination of the public.”
Councillor Mike Amesbury, Manchester City Council executive member for culture and leisure, added, “The Great Manchester Cycle is a unique chance for everyone, regardless of ability, to get on their bikes and enjoy riding through the city on roads free of traffic.
“The 2012 Olympics will see a national focus on sport that will help inspire everyone to get more active. Manchester is hosting a selection of mass participation events throughout the year providing as many people as possible with the chance to take part.
“The Great Manchester cycle has categories designed for cyclists of all abilities so there’s no reason not to hop on your bike and enjoy the city from a different perspective.”
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.