Dave travels 24 miles a day on his commuter-honed mountain bike, choosing the urban escape of the Outwood Trail in Great Manchester to get him away from traffic and closer to nature.
Name: Dave Bryce
Workplace: I work for HMRC in Salford
Tell us about your commuting rig: Dawes Saratoga Elite – no stunning modifications whatsoever, I added a pannier rack and a Mountain Bike front mudguard; the original full guard on the back, a true hybrid! Oh and I changed the tyres to Specialized Crossroad Armadillos which I swear by. Highly recommend for anyone who commutes on and off road.
What’s your commute like? I commute from Bolton to Manchester, 12 miles. So coming in to Manchester in the morning from late Autumn to early Spring is mainly by roads that trick you into thinking it’s all downhill from here whereas there’s always another uphill stretch until the final two miles into work. And on the way back it’s all uphill! At least that was until I was told about National Route 6! As the days get longer this is six miles of off road bliss.
Access the Outwood Trail behind the ASDA at Radcliffe then over the crowded motorway into Phillips Park/Waterdale , a kind of suburban Nature Reserve owned by the Forestry Commission, and from there a mile or so along the banks of the River Irwell until being expunged into the salubrious suburbs of Salford. Unfortunately there is about a mile of this route that is rough ground and muddy except in the driest of weather so come on Bury Council get some funding and smooth that awkward mile or so up to the motorway! The best of it is, is that it is reasonably flat, in essence it follows the course of the River Irwell. On this part of the route I get to see various flora and fauna throughout, including rabbits, the occasional Jay and if I’m lucky a fox. Every morning I am serenaded by birds along the Outwood Trail.
How many days a week do you commute by bike? Usually two days out of a four day week.
What do you enjoy the most about bike commuting? In the beginning it’s the working out of a ‘safe’ route and then modifying it as you get to know the alternatives open to you. Once a settled route is established the fact that I don’t have to rely on anybody else to get to where I want to go. Also that it takes me just as long to cycle as it would travelling by bus. I enjoy the warm summer air, sunshine and the feeling of accomplishment at the end of the journey.
What’s your least favourite thing about commuting by bike? Punctures. Young motorists and their passengers, who sometimes shout abuse at me for no apparent reason.
What are your main reasons to commute by bike? Saves money, keeps me relatively fit, and, even when cold and wet, it makes me realise that I’m alive – that sounds a bit ‘hippy’ but it’s true!
Have you got any funny or interesting bike commuting stories or experiences to share? I used to cycle into work from south Manchester by the side of the Manchester Ship Canal. I will never forget my first flash of iridescent blue that is the Kingfisher and stalking a Mink along the bank until I could get a decent photograph.
What’s your killer commuting tip? Two in fact – make sure you can be seen, day or night – what is this with black cycle jackets?!? Be courteous to drivers – it takes two to tango.
Are you a British Cycling Member? If so how does your British Cycling membership support your bike commuting? I have just joined and look forward to being part of the larger cycling community.
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