Last Friday I rode into Manchester as part of the first monthly Bike Friday event. Manchester Friends of the Earth and the Greater Manchester Cycle Campaign have organised monthly ‘Critical Commutes’ on the last Friday of the month for a couple of years. On a couple of occassions I have been the only rider from Prestwich but most months we can muster about half a dozen from the north side and we meet up with about 30 riders in Albert Square who have ridden in from 5 different points around the city. The July even attracted about 70 cyclists to Albert Square and it was good to see a few different faces. Bikeright had a stall set up with a couple of mechinics available to check your bike over which was most welcome as I have had an intermttant problem with my front derallieur. Sometimes the chain doesn’t move across and engage on the middle cog when I shift down from the top on so I have to drop down to the bottom cog and back up again which kills all my momentum. I hadn’t tried to fiddle with it as I would probably make the situation worse and as it turns out the solution was to drop the whole mechanism slightly (which I would never have thought of doing) It’s been changing gear sweetly ever since. Manchester City Council also laid on free cycling breakfasts although I didn’t have time to claim mine – I just grabbed some fliers, a free cage bottle and an energy bar before posing for the obligatary photograph (which was in last night’s MEN) and then was off to work.
The Stretford ride is running weekly for this month as the Metrolink is not running south of the City whilst work is done on a new spur to the network. Let’s see if the rebranding and extra rides attracts more attention and wider participation.