One thing you might try Adam is to put those starting and finishing points into a (cycle) routing application and see what they come up with. https://cycle.travel/ or http://brouter.de/brouter-web/ might be helpful and also allow you to change some of the factors to suit your preferences, like prioritising off-road cyclepaths or not for example.
Reasonable length without much elevation to me means that you could use anything you like, with the only real consideration being road surface. Road bike would be my choice but you already have a good recommendation for gravel if you go off road sometimes.
He doesn’t appear to have been back since posting.....why do people do that?I don't know anything about Manchester but it looks a lot of A roads, it might be the most direct but might not be the most pleasant or even fastest. A few months down the line how are you finding it?
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