Taking a longer road home – 30 Days of Biking: Day 1

After what seemed like weeks of grey and wet, Manchester’s weather today ended up being perfect to kick off 30 Days of Biking:

My original plan for today to get up early and take a long route cycling into work. Unfortunately, I’m still not enjoying the switch to British Summer Time and when I looked out of the window this morning, the raindrops clinging to the balcony glass didn’t inspire me. It also meant that the route I’d had in my head involving part of a canal path might be slightly muddy.

Usually, my two mile commute from my flat in Ancoats to the office in Hulme takes less than 15 minutes – barely enough to break a sweat, now that I do it every day. That’s the most direct way: if I was more disciplined and woke up an hour earlier, I could easily make it a 10 mile daily morning ride, using mostly traffic-free routes.

So after a day spent mostly inside, tapping away at my computer while the sun blazed through the windows, I was pretty set on riding home on a longer route. And suddenly, it’s hurrah for BST: 6pm and it’s still plenty light.

Leaving the office, I headed south to along one of Manchester’s major bike routes – National Cycle Network (NCN) 6, which in Manchester is a pleasant mix of traffic free and residential streets. It seemed the good weather had brought out a lot of riders on a wide range of bikes, rather than just the hardcore who do it everyday. Kids on mountain bikes, a few Dutch style city bikes and, of course, the odd racer joined me on the ride through Alexandra Park down to the Manchester Cycleway.

The Manchester Cycleway is one of Manchester’s ‘hidden’ cycling gems. For most of its route, it’s made up of the glorious Fallowfield Loop, a disused railway that’s been reborn as off-road pedestrian and cycle route that stretches from Chorlton all the way to Gorton in east Manchester. It’s a joy to ride and I’ll definitely be covering it in a future blog post.

This evening, I only cycled a couple of miles along the ‘Floop’ if that, turning off after Sainsbury’s Fallowfield to take the quiet bike routes through Owens Park campus then up along Oxford Road’s cycle lanes and bus lanes to get back into town. The faster road made for a pleasant contrast as I took advantage of the full width of the bus lane to pick up speed (and happened to pick up a personal record doing so).

So, in all, a relaxed start to 30 Days of Biking but a positive one nonetheless. If I can hit 10 miles a day at least, then I’ll be finishing the month way up on my average, though I’m off to London this weekend and I don’t think I’ll be riding then.

For anyone interested, I’ve included the route below and you can check out my other rides from my Strava page.

Happy riding!