Great Britain mountain biker Grant Ferguson joined the Lord Mayor of Manchester, Councillor Naeem ul Hassain, to officially open a brand new £850,000 mountain bike trail at the National Cycling Centre on Monday 27 May.
The 10.5 kilometre circuit, which is situated just metres away from the home of British Cycling, will provide free, unrestricted access to users on a large formal network within the Clayton Vale Local Nature Reserve.
British Cycling, through Sport England, has directly invested over £320,000 in the project.
Grant Ferguson, who is a member of British Cycling’s Academy Programme, is impressed with the new trail which has been created on his doorstep.
Ferguson said: “It’s incredible to see a facility like this in such a central location in Manchester. It should be great for getting loads of new people into cycling and mountain biking.
“It’s incredible to see a facility like this in such a central location in Manchester. It should be great for getting loads of new people into cycling and mountain biking."
“The trails themselves have a lot to offer both beginners and experienced riders alike, and I’m sure both myself and my teammates will be making use of them as much as possible!”
British Cycling has worked closely with Manchester City Council from concept to completion to help design, fund and deliver the facility and will now play a key part in introducing youngsters and adults alike to mountain biking.
British Cycling’s local Go-Ride coaches have been working with young people in surrounding schools in the build up to the facility opening with pupils from nearby St Willibroads RC Primary School amongst the first to experience the trails.
Through regular coaching sessions, the school already has pupils who have progressed from not being able to ride a bike to now enjoying the full 10.5 kilometre circuit. This model of developing new participation through investing in new facilities is a strategy that has been endorsed by British Cycling’s Chief Executive Ian Drake – not just in Manchester – but nationwide.
Drake said: “The mountain bike trail will be a brilliant addition to both the BMX track and the indoor velodrome at the National Cycling Centre.
“Manchester has long been the home of British Cycling and it is fantastic to see such an extension to this world-leading facility, which has not only produced Olympic and Paralympic champions, but also encouraged more and more people in Manchester to enjoy cycling, whether for sport or just for fun.
“We were delighted to be able to invest directly in the project, and the fact that young people are already using the trails and will continue to do so through the club, is a great example of how our strategy for facility development and effective coaching at Go-Ride level can inspire and develop the next generation.”