By Nigel Wynn
Manchester looks set to have a cycle hire scheme similar to the successful London system under new proposals drawn up by Manchester City Council in a bid to become Britain's biggest cycling city.
The City already plays host to the National Cycling Centre, home of British Cycling (BC) and location of the world-class Manchester velodrome.
According to the Manchester Evening News, MCC and BC have drawn up plans to get more people cycling Manchester by 2017 than anywhere else in Britain. The plans aim to get people cycling to work and enjoying riding as a leisure activity.
Alongside the cycle hire scheme, the plans include improvements to cycling infrastructure, including better cycle paths, improved road surfaces, more extensive cycle parking facilities and free cycle training.
"We hope that this will help cyclists at every level - from novice through to experienced and competitive cyclists - and make cycling a real transport option for people in Manchester as well as promoting recreational and sport cycling," said Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council.
Over Monday May 14 to Tuesday June 5 Transport for Greater Manchester ran a cycle challenge, where local workplaces were encouraged to get as many people cycling to work as possible. A leaderboard was produced showing the percentage of the workforce of each participating company that had cycled to work during the challenge period.
Transport for Greater Manchester led from the front in the large business category, ending up in top spot with 9.3 per cent of its staff taking part. Kelloggs and Sharston were second and third with 7.8 and 4.3 per cent respectively. Zen Internet topped the medium-sized business category with 23.3 per cent. Special mention goes to St Edwards CE Primary School which had 17 of its 18 teachers riding into work.
Manchester hosts a mass participation Sky Ride on July 15 which takes place on closed roads around the city.
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