Fallowfield Loop, urban off-road cycle path.

My first cycle along the Fallowfield Loop, or Floop as it is known to the locals. The Floop is a fantastic off-road cycle route that crosses South Manchester utilising old railway cuttings and canal basins. The Floop is part of National Routes 6 and 60 of the National Cycle Network. I cycled from Chorlton to Levenshulme. The surface was really impressive all the way. The only problem I had was at Chorlton, where National Route 55 links to the Floop. There was no signage at Wilbraham Road bridge at all which is surprising given that its the juncture of two major cycling routes. I will contact Sustrans, who do a great job of maintaining the route, to inform them of the lack of signage. It may have been vandalised as I’d be very surprised if signage had never existed here. The Floop was brilliant. Much like the Trans Pennine Trail route in the same area, I love where it shares the old railway cutting space with the Metrolink. Two modern, effective and environmentally friendly modes of transport sharing re-used space well is a great thing to see. I’ll definitely be using it more during bike rides in the summer. Have you experienced the Floop, is it one of your regular commutes or part of your weekend rides? If so let me know by commenting below…

Cycling past Old Trafford.

My Trek Tread 1.5 2015 adventure road bike in front of the Theatre of Dreams. I pass Old Trafford, my second home, most days on my commute. In winter I use Route Number 55 of the National Cycle Network which crosses the Old Trafford forecourt. On match days I stand with pie in hand sympathetically watching cyclists who don’t know there is a match on trying to find a route through tens of thousands of fans. In summer I use the Bridgewater Way which utilises the tow path of the Bridgewater Canal and passes the huge North Stand of Old Trafford under Sir Matt Busby Way. I love only my family and friends more than I do football and cycling. I have been cycling and playing football since I was a toddler. I am a life long Manchester United fan and season ticket holder and follow them home and away. So when I passed Old Trafford on my leisurely bank holiday Monday bike ride, I took the chance to stop and take a photo of my bike in front of the stadium. Do you get to mix your cycling with other passions? If so let me know by commenting below…

I once parked my bike in a tree.

Locking your bike to a tree branch isn’t the best idea. In fact locking your tree to any object that can be easily removed, knocked down or sawn off is not the best idea. A few years ago I took my Kona Caldera hard tail mountain bike on a a train to the Lake District. I cycled from Windermere to the bike friendly Thorney How youth hostel near Grasmere. On the way I took a quick hike up Loughrigg Fell. That time I could lock my bike up against a bike lockup area behind the toilets in the public car park at the foot of the hill. The next day I got up at 5am and cycled back to Windermere. On my way I stopped at the small hamlet of Rydal where I needed to park the bike for a hike up the Fairfield Horseshoe. There was nowhere to lock the bike at all. I thought about leaving it deep in the woodland out of view from the main road unlocked. In the end I found this tree with a fairly thick branch and hung the locked bike on it. It was a lame deterrent that I would not have trusted elsewhere but decided in the quiet setting of a Cumbrian woodland at 6am on a Sunday morning I could probably get away with it. I certainly wouldn’t recommend doing it elsewhere. Have you ever had to lock your bike somewhere daft? If so let me know by commenting below…

Frosty roads this morning, proper winter cycling.

Roads were treacherous this morning. In areas shaded from the low and weak winter sunshine of recent days, the build up of several frosts made it look like snow. I’m a lover of snow but when on the bike and it is hard and icy the is no more love. When it is like this I tend to stay off the cycle lanes and stick to the main roads as they are more likely to have been gritted and salted. Going slower and not making sudden movements when you hit unavoidable patches of ice also helps. Do you have any advice or tips for cycling during the winter on icy roads? If so let me know by commenting below…