Olympic champion Joanna Rowsell Shand

With HSBC UK City Ride visiting Manchester this Sunday, the mass participation initiative is the latest activity to further cement Manchester as the home of cycling in the UK.

Manchester is the sixth stop on the HSBC UK City Ride tour as it travels to 14 cities nationwide in 2017, with thousands of cyclists already turning out at events in Birmingham, Nottingham, Southampton, Newcastle and Sheffield.  The HSBC UK City Rides are the first step in British Cycling and HSBC UK’s ambition to make cycling the most popular activity and sport of choice in the UK, with the target of getting two million people on bikes by 2020.

As well as closing the city centre streets for cycling, the events also include a number of other activities such as the HSBC UK Go-Ride Course which gives young riders the opportunity to test their bike handling skills on a course which features a variety of obstacles and challenges.

The event will also see Mobikes free to use around Manchester on the day. The bike hire scheme, which was launched in the city in June, aims to change the way people make short journeys across the city. To use the service people must download the Mobike smart phone app and pay an initial deposit. Usage of the bikes is then normally charged at 50p for 30 minutes, but on Sunday, to coincide with HSBC UK City Ride, the bikes will be free to use.

Manchester’s love of cycling dates back to 1994 and the opening of the velodrome. Built for Manchester’s bid to host the 1996 Olympics and Paralympics the venue has been the home of the Great Britain Cycling Team throughout the course of the last five Olympic and Paralympic cycles which has seen the Great Britain Cycling Team top the medal table at Beijing, London and Rio.

Manchester’s newly elected mayor Andy Burnham has also pledged to use the inspiration provided by the success of British cyclists to turn Manchester into a city that travels by bike.

Hailing the success of the Great Britain Cycling Team and the inspiration they provide, Burnham said earlier this year:

“We have been the medal factory that has kick started so much Olympic success, but if you go out on to the roads of Greater Manchester you see very few people cycling. So we have got an opportunity here to put that right, to learn from where London got things right, where they got it wrong, and come back with a really strong plan to boost cycling across the city region.”

British Cycling chief executive, Julie Harrington, said:

“Manchester has been the home to British Cycling and the Great Britain Cycling Team for over two decades and it’s important that the inspiration provided by our elite cyclists translates into more people getting on bikes, whether it is for fun, fitness or to commute to work.

“The HSBC UK City Ride provides an amazing opportunity for people to dust off their bikes and ride with their family in a friendly traffic free environment.

“One of the key elements of British Cycling’s new partnership with HSBC UK is societal change and getting more people cycling, which can have a huge impact on problems such as obesity, congestion on our roads and pollution. Initiatives like HSBC UK City Ride and Mobike can play a huge part in making that happen and help turn Manchester into a true cycling city.”

You can register to ride at HSBC UK City Ride in Manchester here.