Tour de Manc, a non-profit brand that organises cycling events every year in support of various charities, aims to bring back the cycling culture and change the way cycling is viewed in Greater Manchester.
This year, the event is set to take place in the first week of June as for the first time a disabled ride is set on Saturday the 3rd at the Tameside closed circuit and will be followed by the main event on Sunday the 4th that will begin in Lancashire Health and Rackets Club in Middleton.
The tour was inspired by the Tour de Yorkshire when it came to the north-west a few years ago, which led co-founders, Danny Franks and Tony Rubins to create a similar tour for Manchester. In 2015, Mr. Franks, who is also the founder of SBS networks, planned the first route himself, rode it and managed to raise a thousand pounds for charity.
Last year was the first time other people registered to take part in Tour de Manc which is supported by other organisations, Greater Manchester Borough Councils, Transport for Greater Manchester and various charities.
Tour de Manc recognises the limited number of cycles in Greater Manchester and is hoping to change things and encourage people to ride bicycles more often.
Danny Franks said: “It is not just about the bike ride in June. It’s about trying to change people’s attitudes towards cycling in Greater Manchester and therefore we work with other organisations to make it more accessible to everybody and to ensure that the city becomes the number one place to cycle.”
Statistics on Cycling in Great Britain
According to the statistics released by the Department of Transport last year, the proportion of the population that cycled at least once a month in Great Britain has remained at about 15% since 2010/11 with the leading local authorities being Cambridge, Oxford and York. It also states that 20% of men cycle more than 10% of women and that in England 42% of people aged over five years old own a bike, with bicycle ownership being more prevalent amongst people under the age of seventeen.
As for cyclists killed on the road, 2015 was the lowest figure on record of which nearly half occur on rural roads because they tend to have higher average speed compared to the urban roads, however, the number of cyclists seriously injured has been increasing gradually since 2004.
Cycling in Greater Manchester
The building of infrastructures such as cycle lanes and hubs have already begun and Transport for Greater Manchester is currently working with schools and colleges like Droylsden Academy and Trafford College on a project to promote cycling to students.
In most European countries, cycling has remained part of the culture and the number of people that use bicycles to get to different places is significant.
Danny Franks said: “I think in the UK after the war, motorways and road became more focused on cars and trams not really taking bike riders into consideration. However, we just need to take a different approach by making sure bikes and pedestrians are considered”.
We asked the people of around the city whether they thought people don’t cycle enough in Manchester and why.
Josh Evans, 38, a bartender from Oldham said: “I ride my bike to work since it’s not too far from my house, however, I believe people don’t cycle enough in this city because it’s much easier and requires less effort to take buses and cars”.
Sarah Wood, 29, a shop assistant from Droylsden said: “In my opinion, people definitely do not cycle enough and this might be because it’s a very big city and the distance between the where we are and where we want to go is too far on a bicycle”.
Dave Phillips, 50, a teacher from Manchester said: “I think people are just lazy, to be honest, it’s more comfortable to drive a car or take the bus. I ride my bike to almost everywhere I go which helps me save a lot of money, it’s so much better for the environment and it helps me stay fit as well”.
Click on the link below to listen Mr. Franks talk about his vision for Tour de Manc in the next 10 years.
Let us know in the comment section if you cycle and what your experience with cycling has been like in Manchester.