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Cycling around Manchester

12 April 2018

As a knee surgeon, I often encourage patients to cycle for general health and rehabilitation. Most of us learnt to cycle as a child and ‘just like riding a bike’ we do not forget.

It is a great exercise that gets you outside in the fresh air. There is limited impact on your knees to worry about. Weight is not a great issue and you can do as much as you like! You can start with small rides and work up to longer rides, as your fitness improves.

If you are already into exercise and keeping fit, then there are lots of different types of cycling to try. Manchester is very lucky, as there are lots of fantastic facilities that anyone can use.

Road cycling

This is the most simple option as it starts just outside your house. You can cycle as far as you like. All you need is a bicycle and a helmet. It’s the one option that does require you to set your bicycle up properly. If you do not know how to do this, then ask at your local bicycle shop.

The most common mistake is to have the seat too low which puts extra pressure on the back of the knee cap (patella). It does require confidence to cycle on the roads. As you get fitter, you can join local cycling clubs that are all around Manchester or set yourself a challenge such as the Manchester 100 in September and raise money for charity.

Trail cycling

This is cycling that can be enjoyed by all the family. Most are old railway tracks. They are traffic free, so an ideal place to take the kids. They are usually pretty flat and often have cafes en-route to get something to eat and drink, or you can make a day of it and take a picnic.

There is plenty of fresh air and often beautiful views. The Monsal Trail has the most spectacular views from the many bridges and well-lit tunnels to cycle through! Here are some trails which you can try:

Mountain biking

This can be as adventurous as you want! Its great exercise, lots of fresh air and often lots of mud! There are plenty of rides in the countryside around Manchester, which can be very easy or very challenging.

Remember that you cannot ride on footpaths, just roads and bridleways. If you have never tried mountain biking, then there are skills courses at the velodrome and centres such as One Planet, where you can also hire bikes. 

Try Clayton Vale next to the Manchester Velodrome.

Velodrome track cycling

Manchester has a world renowned velodrome for track cycling, where the likes of Jason Kenny train and compete. It is open to anyone over the age of 12 years to use.

There are weekly taster sessions that you can book. There is no need to spend a fortune on gear as you can hire the bicycles, helmet and shoes.

BMX

If you thought this was just for kids, then think again! It is suitable for all ages. There is an indoor international standard track at the velodrome and free to use outdoor tracks at Platt Fields, Fallowfield and Bruntwood Park, Stockport.

Try a starter lesson at the velodrome. You can hire bikes and safety gear. Your arms get as good a work out as your legs, as you ‘pump’ the bike over the mounds in the second half of the course.

Road track cycling

This is a great way to increase your confidence cycling away from traffic. There is a purpose built cycle track in Tameside which is available to the public, to learn to ride and control your bike away from the worry of cars.

Disability cycling

Manchester is one of the disability cycling hubs within the country. The Tameside Cycle Circuit has a range of cycles suitable for all disabilities to use on the track safely away from any cars.

The velodrome run specific disability sessions.

Useful information can be found on the following websites:

https://www.britishcycling.org.uk/disability/article/20141002-Manchester-0?c=EN

http://livewelltameside.com/tameside-cycle-circuit/

http://www.nationalcyclingcentre.com/track/disabled-riders-paracycling/ 

Mr Andrew Lavender, Consultant Knee Surgeon

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