Itchy's Guide to Cycling in Manchester
We're going for gold!
That’s when Itchy stumbled across iCYCLE. It’s based at the Manchester Metropolitan University’s Student Union, on Oxford Road and seemed like the answer to our ‘to-buy-or-not-to-buy’ problem. Open to the public and students alike, a brand new bike can be rented for £15 a week... a deposit is needed, but you can get the money back when you return the bike (cue celebratory drinks that Itchy survived a week of cycling.) The service also gives you lights and bike chains, and has workshops for bike maintenance so you don’t need to worry about chains falling off or the dreaded punctures.
Itchy was impressed: fifteen quid a week is cheaper than most gyms, but you still end up with killer legs (apart from the first week, when the aching muscles feel like they’re going to kill you, not just look killer). Plus you don’t have the cost associated with driving or the nerves as you stand at the bus stop willing the metro-shuttle bus to arrive on time.
City centre cycling scared Itchy a bit when the first day of straddling the bike arrived, but it was surprisingly safe and easy. Manchester as a city has a lot of bike lanes, and with the amount of students cycling to the various universities the motorists are considerate. The website www.cycle-route.com also shows you routes throughout Greater Manchester and the rest of the UK, as well as rating them on difficulty so you don’t get in over your head.
Itchy found the cycling to be quite fun, and not as nerdy as it sounded. The gym membership has been cancelled and replaced with iCYLE which saved us money as well. We at Itchy are well on our way to being super-toned for our next big night out, not to mention on track for gold at the next Olympics... well Itchy can dream...