Traffic-free cycling with the HSBC UK City Ride – Manchester

manchester city ride in media city

Traffic-free cycling? Yes, please! Nobody can say ‘no’ to that, right? So when I saw a leaflet popping through a letter box with all the details about the HSBC UK City Ride, I was drawn to it straight away. I am still quite new to Manchester so I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to familiarise myself with the city a little bit more. As the ride was intended for everybody, I was expecting families with kids and people who don’t normally cycle much but that didn’t put me off. At least I get to be active, rather than staying indoors.

The HSBC City Ride organised by British Cycling was formerly known as ‘Sky Ride’ but its main goal is still the same – to get people of all abilities and ages on the bike and have some fun while cycling. Most important, it’s a free event where you even get a free reflective bib so there is no reason why not to join in.

Manchester city ride started on Albert Square

The HSBC UK City Ride comes to all major cities in the UK, not only Manchester. See whether your city is participating by searching here. The next HSBC City Ride is in Cardiff.

I am not sure how come I never participated in this free event before. It’s definitely worth it. On the Albert Square I managed to get a free bike check from Halfords and I was so happy after a friendly bike engineer adjusted my breaks and gears, I am crap at bike maintenance. 

mobikes on albert square

There were also free muffins for the first 500 cyclists. 

The route length was 11 km in total with no hills so really easy, great for families. You could do as many laps as you wanted to or just part of it. I did two laps in total but I decided to head home after I felt some drizzle, but it didn’t really rain properly at the end.

the hsbc uk city ride cyclists in media city

On the day you were also able to meet Olympic gold medalists Sir Chris Ahoy and Joanna Rowsell Shand.

And let’s not forget the entertainment along the route: ‘Toot your Horn’ zone, a bubble tunnel and Sir Chris Hoy Speed Challenge. It was definitely lots of fun!

Would I do it again? Yes, I definitely would and I recommend it to anybody, fit or not fit. Check Let’s Ride website to find the City Ride near your city.


  1. Cycling is a good thing. My hubby is a die hard cyclist. In my 7 years of marriage he made me a cyclist too. My son and daughter also take parts of these kind of events in our locale.

    Nice event. I hope more people turn into cycle rather then more private cars and do nature a favor.

    Nice post Petra 🙂