After winning the bid to be selected as the first ever ACES European Capital of Cycling for 2024, Manchester is looking forward to an exciting year of cycling.
The selection will enable the city to shine a spotlight on cycling, embedding it as a core mode of transport.
Amy Gardner, Interim Sports and Participation Director, British Cycling said:
“This is a fantastic opportunity for the residents of Manchester. They [the council] have heavily invested in cycling, both from an infrastructure perspective, but also from a community and programming grassroots perspective within the city.
I think this European-level status gives them the platform to be able to accelerate and amplify all the work that they’ve been doing today. It gives them that profile to really boost cycling this year.”
Manchester-based British Cycling have teamed up with Mancester City Council to form British Cycling City Academies, supported by The Rapha Foundation. The project aims to get more young people into cycling, particularly in inner city and deprived areas. It will do this over two phases – City Academy Hubs and City Academy Talent Centres.
According to the council, the Oxford Road cycle route, one of the busiest in the city, saw a record 6,980 users in a single day in October, 2023, and the Greater Manchester Cycle Hire scheme has seen over 500,000 rides and 1.3 million kilometers of cycling journeys since its launch two years ago.
Greater Manchester is also one of eight successful bids that received funding through the £191 million Cycle City Ambition programme.
In 2021, Manchester had the highest number of cycling commuters per capita in the UK, with over 400,000 cycling commutes recorded.
Local cyclist, David, 33, from Longsight said: “The best part about riding in Manchester is that I get to ride past the Quayside, as I work there. But because its Manchester and it rains all the time, water floods on the side of the road and thats really inconvenient. It splashes on my shoes and bag. I hope that is something that can be fixed.”
He added, “The roads are pretty good. Most of them have cycle paths especially in Salford, so that is great.”
Expanding on what this could mean for other cities in UK, Gardner added:
“I think it will give that confidence to more cities to put themselves forward for this and to apply to be part of it. I think what it’ll do is it will give cities confidence to say, actually, if Manchester could achieve that award we should go for it next time.
And hopefully, they’ll see the impact of that status and what it does for cycling.”