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Seven times around the world for hardy northern cyclists

Manchester cyclists have pedalled nearly seven times around the world - 170,000 miles - as part of the Transport for Manchester Cycle Challenge.

The three-week competition, masterminded by the CTC, ran from the May 14 to June 5, taking some of the least summery summer weather on record, but still 2,000 cyclists took part.

Workplace teams pitted themselves against one another to win prizes including velodrome tours and bike shop vouchers by logging their cycling miles online.

One of the winning companies was Kellogs, where staff had clearly been eating their cornflakes, with nearly 7 per cent of them getting on their bikes to join in.

Jane Kynnersley from Kelloggs said: “I know that people have been inspired to ride again, it's been great fun and I topped it off with the Great Manchester Cycle on Bank Holiday Monday which was superb.”

Workplace cycle challenges have been held in dozens of towns and cities in the UK, and the CTC says that just taking part can dramatically affect long-term behaviour, with 84 per cent of 'non cyclists' deciding to cycle to work more often, and regular cyclists increasing the number of trips they make by bike.


Challenge Coordinator Ross Adams said: “Everyone is a winner: employers get a healthier workforce and a decrease in demand for parking spaces; employees save money and get fit; and everyone else experiences less congestion and pollution.”


2199 people from 137 organisations recorded trips, competing to clock up the greatest percentage of staff taking part. In total, 16,418 journeys were recorded totalling 170,446 miles cycled. 358 people took to a bike for the first time in over a year.

Manchester hopes to get more people cycling by 2017 than anywhere else in Britain, both to work and for leisure. Alongside the cycle hire scheme, the plans include improvements to cycling infrastructure, including better cycle paths, improved road surfaces, more extensive cycle parking facilities and free cycle training.

"We hope that this will help cyclists at every level - from novice through to experienced and competitive cyclists - and make cycling a real transport option for people in Manchester as well as promoting recreational and sport cycling," said Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council.

The winning teams:

500+ employees – Kelloggs Company of Great Britain Ltd: 6.9% of staff cycled
200 - 499 employees – Zen Internet: 23.5% of staff cycled
50 - 199 employees – St. Edwards Primary School: 77% of staff cycled
20 - 49 employees – Environment, Parsons Brinckerhoff: 75% of staff cycled
7 – 19 employees – Triangle Architects: 100% of staff cycled
3 – 6 employees – Human Resources, Zen Internet: 100% of staff cycled

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.