A 13-mile circuit closed for everything but bicycles saw cyclists of all ranges and abilities take part in the fourth Great Manchester Cycle. Over distances of 13, 26 and 52 miles, entire families, old and young, from all over the country came to enjoy what is becoming familiar event for the City of Manchester. 

Those riding braved wet conditions in the morning, but even this couldn’t dampen spirits, with many families taking advantage of the free children’s entries, giving some the opportunity to take part in their first cycling event. 

Professional boxer Anthony Crolla, who is returning to full strength after a life-threatening attack by burglars at his home, was on hand as official starter for the 13 and 26 mile events, setting riders off to a round of applause from those watching.

A host of famous faces took part, including Rugby League legends Kris Radlinski MBE and Paul Sculthorpe MBE, who rode the 52 mile event alongside multi gold medal winning and world record holding Darren Kenny OBE, all riding on behalf of the Joining Jack charity. Joining Jack had around 200 people riding in order to raise funds and awareness of Muscular Dystrophy. 

Despite the conditions Radlinski expressed his pleasure when stating, “It is a bit damp out there, but that wasn’t going to stop us having some fun.” He then added, “It is unique to be able to ride around the city without any traffic, and to do so, even in this weather, just show what a great event it is.” Riding with Radlinski was his ex England teammate Sculthorpe, who added his thoughts saying, “There is a great atmosphere on the course, with a mix of people that love cycling chasing a good time, or those like me that just like to ride and enjoy the experience.”

TV & Radio presenter OJ Borg took part in the 26 mile event with his mum, author Kathryn James. OJ commented, “I go to a lot of cycling events, and this is one of the best for making everyone feel part of the occasion.” He added “There are lots of families out there and different generations of people enjoying themselves together, without the hassle of having traffic around you. And I have proved today that you are never too old to go on a bike ride with your mum!”

The course started and finished at Etihad Campus, the home of Manchester City FC, offering riders the opportunity to pedal through the closed roads of Manchester city centre and take in the sights from a whole new perspective. The route included landmarks such as Old Trafford, plus a stretch of the iconic Mancunian Way – a section of motorway normally off-limits to cyclists.

With an event village hosting cycle industry exhibitors, charity partners, entertainment and food concessions, the Great Manchester Cycle proved once again to be a great day out in one of the UK’s most passionate sporting cities.

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