Manchester is considered by many to be the ‘home of British cycling’, and rightly so too.
Not only is the city home to the British Olympic cycling team, but it also boasts the enviable facilities at the National Cycling Centre in East Manchester.
Sir Chris Hoy, who made history yesterday by winning his fifth Olympic gold medal in world-record time, equaling Sir Steve Redgrave’s record, proudly carried the Olympic torch down Manchester’s Deansgate in June as part of the torch’s whirlwind tour of Britain.
The profile of the sport also received a massive boost with the remarkable success of Chorley-born Bradley Wiggins, achieving his fourth Olympic title in the men’s time trial and becoming the first Briton ever to win the coveted Tour de France earlier this month.
Now, Manchester is to further bolster its position as ‘the home of British cycling’, with the announcement of a new bike trail to be built at Clayton Vale.
The 9km Clayton Vale Mountain Bike Trail, jointly funded by British Cycling and Sport England, will be the first of its kind in Britain and will be welcomed by both professional and amateur cyclists throughout the UK.
Jarl Walsh, General Manager at the National Cycling Centre, said the development of the track will not only further cement Manchester’s status as the centre of GB cycling, but it will also add yet another dimension to the range of facilities on offer to the people of Manchester and beyond
The trail will also include a run designed specifically for disabled people, which as far as the National Cycling Centre is concerned, a ‘world’s first’.
Mr Walsh added: “Our fervent hope is that with the BMX track, and now the MTB trails, we will eventually see future champions emerge from the NCC in those sports, preferably from Manchester.”
Residents have been given the chance to highlight any concerns ahead of the development of the trail at a public consultation, which closes today (August 3).
The network of trails looks set to challenge cyclists of all abilities, with varying routes of varying lengths and difficulties.
Manchester City Council and urban regeneration company, New East Manchester, have worked closely with professional trail designers create an exciting and challenging site which works with the natural setting to absorb the track into the vale with as little disruption to flora and fauna as possible.
Designers have worked closely with local community groups, such as Friends of Clayton Vale, to ensure their concerns have been addressed to protect important copse areas and ensure the trail does not inflict upon wildlife.
As such, badger surveys and extended habitat surveys have been completed and have satisfied the concerns of the trail developers.
Cllr Rosa Battle, executive member for culture and leisure, said the trail will become a new ‘mecca’ for cycling enthusiasts up and down the country.
"Especially during the Olympics, Manchester is reminded that we are the home of British Cycling and the Clayton Vale trail plans are yet another reason why we rightly hold this mantel,” she said.
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