The 7 Best Cycling Routes in Manchester

Manchester is a city on two wheels. The ever-increasing popularity of cycling is evident all over the city. So much so, that the local government have recently announced plans to update Manchester’s cycling lanes, bringing many more miles of hybrid pedestrian-cycling paths to the city over the next few years. 

The so-called ‘Home of British Cycling’, Manchester is the proud location of HSBC UK’s National Cycle Centre. The Centre was the UK’s first Olympic-standard indoor cycling track, attracting amateur enthusiasts to professional athletes. 

Reaching further afield, Greater Manchester offers a wealth of cycling routes, from canal towpaths to lush country parks. To help you narrow down your perfect choice, we’ve pulled together our seven favourite cycling routes in Manchester. 


The Fallowfield Loop 

Despite its proximity to bustling main roads, The Fallowfield Loop offers a traffic-free haven that connects the leafy suburbs of Chorlton-cum-Hardy and Fairfield. It’s a great way to get around for many South Manchester residents. Running along an old Manchester Central Railway line, it’s completely flat and great for beginners or those who are nervous about road cycling routes in Manchester. 


The Bridgewater Way

One of the most recently improved Manchester cycling routes, The Bridgewater Way is part of a wider regeneration project that aims to connect the city to suburbs from Trafford to Altrincham. Whilst the aim is to open up all 65km of the Bridgewater Canal towpath to cyclists, the currently completed series of resurfaced trails already allows easy access from Altrincham, Trafford, Sale and Stretford all the way to Castlefield in Manchester city centre. The route offers easy access to some great destinations, including the Trafford Centre and MediaCityUK. 


Ashton Canal Cycleway

Following the theme of waterside rides, the Ashton Canal offers riders a scenic route, extending out east of the city centre from Ancoats all the way to Ashton-under-Lyne. Along the way, you’ll see Manchester City’s home ground, the Etihad Stadium. The route offers plenty of opportunities to get off the beaten path and explore surrounding areas. One of these options is Clayton Vale, home of Manchester’s Mountain Bike Trails. For those looking to extend their journey, the connecting Huddersfield Narrow Canal opens up the possibilities to explore the Peak District and the Pennine Bridleway. Both parks are home to national cycle routes and offer great views of Manchester. 


Medlock Valley Way & Daisy Nook Country Park

Speaking of Clayton Vale, this mountain biker’s haven is just a stone’s throw from the more laid-back Daisy Nook Country Park, connected by the Medlock Valley Way. Sprawling throughout the Valley, it’s perfect for a pleasant pedal through one of the more scenic near-city cycling routes in Manchester. Here you’ll find waterside trails, birdlife and fishing spots. 


Route 66 

No, we’re not heading to the US for an epic road trip. The UK’s answer to the iconic highway stretches from Rochdale to Smithy Bridge, following the Rochdale canal towpath. Along this picturesque route, you’ll be able to take a quick detour around the scenic Hollingworth Lake. If you want to extend your adventure, you can continue through Littleborough and onwards into the picturesque market town of Todmorden.


Prestwich Forest Park

Near the banks of the River Irwell, this idyllic forest park offers a great selection of forest and waterside cycling routes in Manchester, just south of Bury. With over 200 hectares of woodland park space, Prestwich Forest Park is a great place for cycling for all the family. More than just one park, you can explore all the smaller parks within the area, made up of Philips Park, Drinkwater Park, Waterdale and Prestwich Clough. The River Irwell also conveniently runs back to Manchester city centre, so it’s a great way to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city for the day! 


Stalybridge Country Park 

Located just outside of Stalybridge, on the doorstep of the Peak District, this beautiful park offers a whole host of scenery within a short drive from Manchester. This 11-mile cycling track takes you around the parks many reservoirs; Walkerwood, Brushes and Shineshaw. Each offers great views, looking out to the vast moorlands of the Peak District. This route makes a great connection from the Ashton Canal Cycleway through to the Pennine Bridleway. You’ll also have the option to join the Tame Valley Way trail to extend your trip. 


If you’re a keen cyclist looking for a base in the city centre to explore Manchester’s cycling routes, our selection of 1, 2 and 3 bedroom apartments and townhouses could be the perfect place for you to call home. Check out our current availability here.