The Great Manchester Cycle, officially the UK’s largest timed cycling event, took place yesterday [Sunday 30 June] with 8,000 riders taking to the city’s closed roads in ideal conditions.
Olympic Gold medallist Joanna Rowsell, along with a team of stars from Emmerdale, were amongst those on the start line to tackle the event. The 13-mile circuit took in several districts of Manchester, allowing riders the chance to see the city on two wheels from an entirely new perspective. It also included the unique opportunity to ride a section of Mancunian Way – normally strictly off limits to cyclists.
Designed to cater for all abilities, participants could choose from ‘A Great Day Out’ over 13 miles, ‘Rule the Roads’ over 26 miles, or for more established riders, ‘Break Away from the Pack’ over 52 miles. British Cycling members were able to start at the very front of the ride thanks to an exclusive start zone, and there was a great presence from the Breeze Network, with ride captains out in force to promote women’s cycling.
Having lived and trained in Manchester, Joanna Rowsell was cycling on familiar terrain as she took on the 52-mile route. After crossing the finish line, she said: “Having fully closed roads is a massive luxury as a cyclist; it’s absolutely brilliant! It’s quite a unique thing to go on a motorway as well.”
She continued: “The route’s fantastic going over the Mancunian Way and being able to see the main road beneath you. It’s just fantastic to see so many people out on their bikes – I couldn’t believe how many people there were! Out of training, I’ve seen a lot more people out and about: loads more than before. It’s probably reflective that here, today, there are thousands of people riding.”
Other celebrities to take part included Emmerdale stars Liam Fox (Dan Spencer), Rik Makarem (Nikhil Sharma), Kelvin Fletcher (Andy Sugden), Zoe Henry (Rhona Kirk), Michelle Hardwick (Vanessa Woodfield), Nicola Wheeler (Nicola King), Jeff Hordley (Cain Dingle), James Hooton (Sam Dingle) and ITV’s Director of Drama, Steve November, all riding to raise money for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research.
Event organisers, Nova International, announced on the day that the 2014 event has been confirmed to take place on Sunday 29th June 2014 and that entries are now open. Within hours of finishing, many participants took to Twitter and Facebook to say that they had already signed up for next year.
Jamie Still, Event Manager from organisers Nova, said: “This year’s event was a huge success and we’d like to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone who made it possible and to each of the 8,000 riders who took part. While the ride is only just behind us, we’re already really excited for next year and have been blown away by the number of entries so far!”
The 2014 event will again have a choice of 13, 26 and 52-mile distances, with entry for each costing just £21 for adults. Children aged 3-7 can take part (free of charge) in the 13-mile event. Two children (aged 8-15) can be entered into the 13-mile event for free with one paying adult (over 18 years old) as part of their group entry.
For further information on the 2014 event and how to enter please visit: http://www.greatcycle.org.