Rider's eye view: Skyride Local

Rider's eye view: Skyride Local


Case Study: Skyride Local

What it's like to ride a Skyride Local event

Skyride Manchester made an immense impact in the area, elevating the status of cycling in Manchester and resulting in fully booked Skyride Local events. British Cycling's Luke Webber went along for the ride at Chorlton's Water Park along with thirty others to discover the impact Skyride events are having at the home of British Cycling.

One week on from the first Skyride of 2009 Manchester is experiencing a revival in cycling for the masses. Over 15,000 participants proved that there was an appetite for bike in the city home to British Cycling and Skyride Local events are showing this was far from a one day stunt, with Manchester taking the lead when it comes to being a great place to enjoy a day out on two wheels.

With over 15,000 people enthused by the promise of traffic free roads there was no better way to reintroduce a city strangled by the motorcar to the most liberating form of modern-day transport.

And one week on this two-wheeled revolution is not only striking on a national level, but also locally with an ongoing series of events designed to get people back on their bikes in locations they might not have expected, under expert guidance and all for free!

Each Skyride Local is organised in a variety of locations across each Skyride city before and after every Cityride. What's more, these Local events vary in distance and difficulty, with road and off-road options should you prefer to completely avoid the traffic.

Signup is simple online and there are thirty reserved spaces for each event. This ensures that the trained cycling experts - who also guide each ride - can pay attention to handing out advice on any cycling topic you can think of. This was something confirmed by ride leaders John Baguley and Paul Thomson, who told me:

"Coming to one of these events takes the fear factor out of riding a bike again, proving that anyone can have a go at riding a bike and it is surprisingly easy and fun. We are sure to look after you, we go at the speed of the slowest rider - you can be sure that when you come to a Skyride event it will be exactly as described and you won't be left behind - or if you are looking for a longer or faster ride neither will you be disappointed."

Each ride starts with participants assembling at a predetermined point, hi-vis Skyride tops distributed and bikes being checked - and if necessary fixed - before the off.

And as I talked to the riders -from those too young to ride without stabilisers, to those who could no longer recall their first time on a bike - the consensus was that the Local rides were the best bit - a way to continue the good work done at the Cityride, or simply an alternative if the Cityrides were at an inconvenient time.

Today's excursion around the water parks of Chorlton and neighbouring Sale was on smooth gravel paths at a pace anyone could enjoy, with plenty of time to take in the jetskiers and stop for an ice cream; encapsulating the essence of Ride Fun events.

Following the river banks and waterside back to the start there was opportunity to take in another loop of the park on its quiet, winding paths but not before collecting free t-shirts, so on Monday morning you can prove that your weekend held something more than the ordinary.

If the Manchester effectis anything to go off, the target of a million more on bikes by 2013 seems within easy reach.

Find out more about Skyride Local