2024 is officially the year to get on your bike as Manchester gets into gear as the European Capital of Cycling.
At a celebratory event held at Station South – a cycling workshop and cafe found in the heart of Levenshulme – residents and Council representatives turned their eyes to what is sure to be an incredible year of events.
To commemorate this moment, a bespoke website has been crated where residents can discover everything around Manchester as the European Capital of Cycling 2024. From events, hands-on experiences with bikes, to guidance and support in making the switch to pedal power.
It is an incredibly exciting time for cycling in Manchester. After making a bid to ACES – the body which oversees the Capital of Cycling programme – last year, the Council was thrilled to learn just before Christmas it had been successful.
Cycling is at the forefront of the Council’s future transport policies, with plans in place to expand people’s access to cycle lanes throughout the city, to implementing strategies which make it easier for people to move away from conventional modes of transport.
By the end of 2028 the Council aims to have doubled the modal share of people using bikes to travel, meaning that the majority of short journeys in the city would be done via pedal power.
At the event, the public were able to get a taste of what cycling can offer, with a number of planned rides setting off from Station South throughout the morning. This ranged from gentle rides to Debdale Reservoir to a longer journey to Wythenshawe Bike Track.
Expanding events like this, as well as working to broaden the opportunities available for people to take up cycling will form a key part of how our year of cycling will play out.
Given the ongoing cost-of-living crisis the Council knows that residents are struggling, and barriers can stand in the way of people learning about and experiencing cycling. Being the Capital of Cycling will be an ideal opportunity to break down those barriers and ensure that cycling is accessibly for everyone.
Councillor Bev Craig, Leader of Manchester City Council said: “It was a wonderful opportunity for us to kick off our year as the Capital of Cycling in Levenshulme, just meters away from the Fallowfield Loop, and in the company of just some of the people who make our cycling community so special.
“This truly is a great moment for the cycling movement in Manchester and we hope to be able to use our position as the Capital of Cycling to drive interest as well as investment to our city, expanding people’s ability to get on a bike and enjoy the benefits that can bring.
“From being part of a community, to improving your physical and mental health, to playing your part in improving air quality, cycling can have a truly transformative impact on our neighbourhoods.”
Councillor John Hacking, Executive Member for Skills, Employment and Leisure said: “Our successful bid to become the first ever European Capital of Cycling has been the culmination of months of hard work, and I would like to extend my thanks to everyone who has made our vision a reality.
“There is a tremendous support network for cycling across Greater Manchester and I am sure that throughout the course of the next 12 months we shall see that network grow.
“We have a huge amount of work already in the pipeline, looking to expand cycling provision across our city, but, if we can capitalise on what this year can bring we will not only bring prosperity to our city but significant benefits for our residents.”
ACES President, Gian Francesco Lupattelli, said: “Manchester is a benchmark in sport and mobility. We are confident that with the European Capital of Cycling award they will improve even more and strengthen their positioning, as well as the participation and sustainable development of the city.”
Harry Radford, Great Britain Cycling Team track sprinter said: “It’s really great to see that Manchester has become the European Capital of Cycling. As someone who grew up and started their cycling journey in Manchester, this is a very special thing to see.
“Cycling is something I hold very close to my heart, progressing from watching racing on TV and club sessions at the age of nine to representing the Great Britain Cycling team at an international level.
“Cycling is also a sport of community and brings many people together just through the simplicity of riding a bike. I encourage everyone to try something different, get involved and find the enjoyment of cycling for themselves.”