From Monday, October 5-Sunday, October 11 the I Bike MCR Mini Festival takes over Manchester with a huge array of bicycling activities and events that would appeal to anyone on two wheels.
I Bike MCR are a grassroots community group of cyclists that began organising bicycle festivals and events in Manchester in 2006. The founder of the group, Nes Brierley said: “We are a diverse mix of people. On our rides we have architects, teachers, students, children, all from different backgrounds, genders, sexualities. We also have a real mixture of types of cyclists from commuters to racers to mountain biker
“We try to make our events cater to everyone's needs. We do that by being as inclusive as possible, encouraging everyone that takes part to take ownership of the events."
In addition to bike rides the group hope to equip Manchester cyclists with a range of skills that will help them on a day to day basis when riding around the city, such as bike maintenance and cycle confidence classes.
Anna Smith, who has signed up to a class said, "I use my bike to get all around the city every day and it's great but I have no clue about bike maintenance. I can't wait to take part in the I Bike MCR bike maintenance class, it will be really empowering to know that I can fix a puncture or mend my brakes. And even better that they do it for free."
Despite the group all organising these events in their spare time and with no funding all the activities are free of charge to enter. Mr Brierley thinks this is one of the most important logistical factors of the festival: “We want our events to be accessible to everyone no matter what their economic status, in the same way that the bicycle enables people from all backgrounds to move around the city.
“We simply make things cheap or free by using community spaces and materials that are donated to us from local bike shops or local businesses. Also many people that can afford to do give donations which covers things like publicity costs and things we can't source through donations. We all like to give our spare time to the project because we are all so passionate about creating a really strong biking community"
The timetable is jam packed with activities which are happening throughout the week all over the city, including an introduction to bicycle polo, a bicycle film screening, moonlight ride, a bike history tour of Manchester and bicycle treasure hunts.
For more information on the festival visit http://www.ibikemcr.org.uk or email info [at] ibikemcr.org.uk