Sky Ride Manchester – July 2016

The 2016 Sky Ride marks the end of Sky Ride events in Manchester, with the Sky / British Cycling partnership that started in 2008, now coming to an end.

I’ve ridden quite a few of the Sky Rides since they began and I must admit, there’s quite a few aspects of the ride I’m not that fond of. In particular, the Sky sponsorship / corporateness of the event, the hi-vis vests, the weekend warriors in Lycra and a lack of atmosphere. Though given all that, it’s still been a great opportunity to ride traffic-free into the centre of Manchester and enjoy the streets to ourselves.

The ride took a very different route this year. Instead of the usual route to the National Cycling Centre in east Manchester, the ride headed west to Salford Quays and MediaCityUK, through Trafford. I heard the reason for the change was due to the ongoing road closures in Manchester, though I don’t know if that’s case or there were other factors involved (EDIT: The We Love Manchester 10k run was happening at SportCity on the same day).

Manchester Sky Ride map
2016 route to Salford Quays / MediaCityUK

We don’t live far from Salford Quays, so the route is well known to us already. Though it was quite nice not having to go far to join the ride. The weather for the day was mixed, some sun, some cloud and some rain. Though overall it was quite warm and it stayed mostly dry.

I’d say the change of route did make a pleasant change and there was probably more of a mix of people taking part this time. The atmosphere was still a bit lacking, though I’ve probably been spoilt by the great atmosphere you can get on Critical Mass.

With the end of the Sky Rides, it’d be a real shame if it marks the end of traffic-free leisure rides in Manchester. I’d really like to see them continue, ideally more frequent than once a year. Something like monthly traffic-free Sundays would be great. It’d also be good if it was less corporate and more of a homegrown event. Whether that’s possible, I don’t know.

EDIT: The Manchester Evening News are saying that British Cycling are working with Manchester City Council to do a similar event next year.


4 thoughts on “Sky Ride Manchester – July 2016

  1. I agree with pretty much all the points you’ve made, and nice to see a photo of us on the orange Edgerunner. 🙂

    Sunday was also the day of the We Love Manchester 10k, which takes place in SportCity – starting and finishing at the Etihad – and involves road closures, so maybe that was part of the reason for a different route. I would say that this year’s skyride route seemed to avoid all the stopping and starting at junctions, so that was a definite improvement.


    1. I spotted an orange Edgerunner on the recent Kidical Mass, any connection? Ah yes, the 10k run probably had something to do with it.

      I meant to mention about the new route not having any stopping and starting like the old route. Not sure why it was possible this year and not previously, but it was definitely a bonus.


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