Manchester commuting and non-covered bike parking at work

ManiaMuse

Veteran
Moving to Manchester to start a new job next week. Just wondering what it is like commuting in Manchester? Lots of cyclists? Considerate drivers or not? Does it rain all the time?

Spent 4 years cycle commuting in London so pretty road savvy, but there are so many cyclists down there that I think drivers are a bit more aware of cyclists generally.

Also found out that there isn't any secure or even covered bike parking at work, just a few Sheffield stands in the car park which is a bit rubbish considering it is a fairly new building. I know my bike won't melt, but any tips for taking care of it when exposed to the rain and elements all day?
 

shouldbeinbed

Rollin' along
Location
Manchester way
Depends where in Manchester you'll be.
South side is much more bikey than the north, The Oxford Road corridor heading to the south out of the city centre is Universityville and as busy bike wise as it gets, not really the embankment peloton tho. Elsewhere pretty quiet for bikes for such a large urban sprawl

Manchester rain is a bit of a myth really, its no more than 350 days a year :biggrin: *joking, its really not a concern*
I get properly wet commuting maybe a dozen times a year and ride near as every day, I don't bother with a rain jacket on me or the bike and don't think I'm missing out by not having one.

Motorists, as everywhere, most are ok, very few perfect, some right a**eholes. The main arterial routes from the satellite towns into the city can be a bit hairy but as an experienced rider nothing you can't handle happily enough.

Getting out of the built up area is great riding too, whatever you like. Cheshire Plain, into the Pennines or Lancashire hills. Lots of space and big skies.

Where will you be working/leaving your bike in the day? If you're anywhere in Manchester City Centre then I would be getting friendly with http://popupbikes.co.uk/

On Corporation Street just north of Victoria Station, minutes walk from the heart of the city, secure cheap indoor parking, mechanic on site at excellent rates, good snacks and coffee & Dipak is the nicest man in the world.

Otherwise, the usual precautions & keep it clean and lubed.

Good bike shops in the centre area and not far out: Harry Halls, Bicycle Doctor, Edinburgh Bikes, there is as Evans too very central and another at the Velodrome & many family run & proper old style LBS's slightly further afield depending on where you're going to be living.

If you're into campaigning: Greater Manchester Cycle Campaign meets 2nd Monday of each month in the city centre. Google GMCC & they're 2nd on the list for more details, nice people and a pint afterwards, again quite south side dominated. There's a critical mass once a month too if you go for that sort of thing.
 
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S.Giles

Guest
Also found out that there isn't any secure or even covered bike parking at work, just a few Sheffield stands in the car park which is a bit rubbish considering it is a fairly new building. I know my bike won't melt, but any tips for taking care of it when exposed to the rain and elements all day?
Cycle parking places seem to be the last thing on the minds of most architects, unfortunately.

Regarding leaving your bike outside. You'll need to do the routine maintenance things more often (oil, cleaning, etc). Replace bolts, nuts and washers where possible with stainless-steel (a few of the bolts should be high-tensile type so leave them alone). Hopefully your saddle doesn't have stitched panels, and hopefully your bike isn't too desirable an item for thieves.
 
OP
M

ManiaMuse

Veteran
Thanks for the info. I'm going to be living in East Didsbury and working at the Bridgewater Hall so Pop Up Bikes is probably the wrong side of town but looks like a good idea. Commute looks pretty straight forward, just straight on Wilmslow Road/Oxford Road I'm guessing?

I don't bother with a rain jacket either, just get too hot and sweaty underneath. Bag has a waterproof cover which is enough to keep my change of clothes dry most importantly. Although I think changing facilities/showers are going to be non-existent as well at work so will probably have to join the wet-wipe brigade. It's impossible for me to cycle slowly and I still get sweaty when I cycle slowly anyway.

Current commuting hack isn't my favourite steed in the world, although I would be pissed off if it got nicked as I have spent hours adjusting the mudguards to perfection and have spent a fair bit on upgrading bits. Guess I'll just have to make sure to double-lock it and be a bit more rigorous in cleaning/maintaining it. I have been meaning to buy a cheap SS/fixie and work does take part in the Cycle to Work scheme so maybe that's my excuse to get one.

Would definitely like to try out riding at the velodrome. Do you know how far in advance you have to book for the taster sessions? Have been working in Nottingham for the last few months and the new Velodrome in Derby has finally opened just as I'm starting this job.

Is the Manchester Critical Mass less....angsty than the London one? The first (and last) critical mass I went to in London decided in its infinite wisdom to cycle to the Olympic Stadium on the night of the opening ceremony despite being told by police not to and I nearly got mass-arrested...
 

shouldbeinbed

Rollin' along
Location
Manchester way
you sound pretty well spot on and are well in the cycle friendly area. The out of town Metrolink stations have bike lockers, but not sure if the central ones do, you're a minute away from St Peters Square and Deansgate/Castlefield stops.

You're bang next door to Manchester Central exhibition centre. (used to be GMEX) it hosts the big expos and party conferences etc. It has an underground NCP In the old railway storage vaults, maybe worth talking nice to them for covered bike parking with CCTV, there's even a tunnel under the road to BWH.
You may do well to google TfGM as well, Transport for Gtr Mcr. IMO they pay lip service to proper cycling provision but we're promised chunks of money & they like the idea of bike hubs over proper infra.

I'm not well up on the Velodrome, (bad as I work next door) there's a good few CC ers use it and socialise more than I do, off the top of my head @fossyant should be more help than I'll ever be on it.

Again Critical Mass really isn't my thing, I think they have an internet presence or facebook page, last Friday of the month. They don't seem to generate bad press that I notice.
 

Origamist

Legendary Member
Location
Sandbach
Moving to Manchester to start a new job next week. Just wondering what it is like commuting in Manchester? Lots of cyclists? Considerate drivers or not? Does it rain all the time?

Spent 4 years cycle commuting in London so pretty road savvy, but there are so many cyclists down there that I think drivers are a bit more aware of cyclists generally.

Also found out that there isn't any secure or even covered bike parking at work, just a few Sheffield stands in the car park which is a bit rubbish considering it is a fairly new building. I know my bike won't melt, but any tips for taking care of it when exposed to the rain and elements all day?
Manchester is not an awful city to cycle in, but neither is it a velocipede paradise. London is generally more cycle friendly (well, at least zones 1-3) whilst Manchester reminds me a bit of London in the 90s as far as cycling goes i.e. still very motor centric. That said, once you're out of the burbs, there are some great rides. Cheshire plains for big-ring stomping and the Peak District to justify having a compact etc.

Not that many commuting cyclists though - the highest density are obviously in the centre. You'll only have a short commute so will be able to pick a reasonable route, I'm sure.

You'll need to grease and lubricate the bike more if you're leaving it outside. I'd also make sure you do a proper bike check before jumping back on in case a "joker" has messed with the brakes or QRs.

You never know, once you start work you might be able to find a space in the building to secrete your bike as I did.
 
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Hicky

Veteran
Get friendly with a student of sorts as the uni nearby has covered bike sheds and showering facilities.....you just need a pass/swipecard.
As mentioned the metro has small bike locker type things.
 

biking_fox

Veteran
Location
Manchester
Or there's the CycleHub http://cycling.tfgm.com/Pages/join-a-hub.aspx at City Tower - but that's not very convenient for Bridgewater Hall. The tgfm website is quite useful with route planners and general advice. YOu might be able to get the canal most of the way in, but otherwise the roads are fine, if currently a bit potholey.

Didsbury is a nice part of the city. Enjoy the rides!
 

fossyant

Ride It Like You Stole It!
Location
South Manchester
Dont use Wilmslow Road Oxford Road. Not my favourite roads. You are OK until Fallowfield when headding north, but try and run a few back roads instead.

I'm sure, talking to the right folk youll be able to take your bike inside in a store room.
 
OP
M

ManiaMuse

Veteran
Thanks for the replies.

Impression I get is that the orchestra members complain about the bike parking situation from time to time but they haven't put anything better in place yet. Then again they are not rehearsing/performing there 9-5 and I will be working there full-time so might be able to wrangle something better. Will check out the car park across the road as well.

Thanks for the tip Fossyant. Will try out some of the parallel roads, although knowing me I will probably get lost so best to try out in my own time I guess...
 
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