Following last year’s announcement of a ten-year, £1.5bn plan to develop thousands of miles of interlinked bike lanes around Greater Manchester, there’s never been a better time to check out the city’s best-existing cycle routes.

From sanguine beginner loops to challenging Pennine slogs, here are some of the best bike rides in Manchester, broken down by distance, time and difficulty:

Bridgewater Way | City Centre - Altrincham

One of six new ‘cycleways’ opened around Greater Manchester, Bridgewater Way is a series of paved canal towpaths connecting Altrincham and the Trafford Centre to the centre of town. Flat, tranquil and with plenty of access points, this is a perfect novice ride.

Beginner | 18km traffic-free | ~1 hour

Holme Moss Loop | Gorton - Daisy Nook Country Park

Setting off from Gorton train station, this expert ride sends riders into the southern Pennines with a 4.5km climb at Dovestones and some breathtaking scenery along the way.

Expert | 71km | 3.5 hours

Green Plains Loop | Deansgate - Altrincham

Passing Castlefield’s Roman Fort and Emirates Old Trafford via some of Manchester’s newest cycle lanes, this intermediate loop swings out to Dunham Massey for a well-earned midpoint ice cream stop.

Intermediate | 2 hours | 48km

Tatton Mere Loop | Burnage - Tatton Park

Beginning with the broad, thrumming roads of south Burnage, this intermediate route sees the city give way to an achingly gorgeous landscape of open meadows and quiet lakes – Tatton Mere is especially beautiful in autumn.

Intermediate | 2.5 hours | 52km

Hebden Bridge Loop | Smithy Bridge - Blackstone Edge Reservoir

Packed with the North West’s best views across 70km of borderlands beauty, this long intermediate route swings by Hollingworth Lake, a couple of reservoirs and a climb at Great Edge.

Intermediate | 3.5 hours | 70km

Fallowfield Loop | Chorlton - Fairfield

Beginning at St. Weburgh’s Road tram stop, this short traffic-free ride uses a former railway line and stops by several scenic checkpoints, including the 130-acre Debdale Park.

Beginner | 30 minutes | 8.7km

Wolf McFarlane
Published on:
Tue 9 Apr 2024