Manchester Critical Mass – August 2018

August Critical Mass comes as summer is beginning to fade, with autumn and darker evenings on the horizon. After a couple of weeks of distinctly autumnal weather, we were greeted to a return of the summer sunshine.

There was a good turnout for August Critical Mass, probably helped by the sunny weather, and we were joined by a few unusual bikes, including cargo bikes and tandems, plus some scooters.

Arriving at Central Library

One of the cargo bikes was a fantastic new and very loud soundsystem, courtesy of Pavol at Manchester Bike Hire. While we were a bit delayed waiting for the new soundsystem to arrive, it was well worth the wait.

While we were waiting, the guys from Station South (a Community Interest Company) were handing out leaflets for their Crowdfunder campaign to restore Levenshulme South station, which is located above the Fallowfield Loop in Levenshulme.

1534263849_Station South Levy - Front (small)
Station South artist’s impression (I’m sure those bikes are going the wrong way!)

The plan is to restore the building and open it as a cycling friendly cafe, outdoor green space and more. It’s definitely worth having a look at the proposals and get involved if you can.

Setting off on Peter Street

Once the new soundsystem arrived, we set off down Peter Street towards Deansgate. We then crossed Deansgate and carried on down Quay Street, until we reached the now sadly demolished 88-100 Quay Street building.

Site of the former 88-100 Quay Street building

This lovely Art Deco building was originally a garage and part of the Granada Studios complex for many years. Unfortunately, it seems this is the price of progress in Manchester. We’re seeing the destruction of much of Manchester’s character for faceless glass buildings, emulating what happened in the 1960s and 70s.

88-100 Quay Street as it was before demolition © Copyright Gerald England and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Anyway, we turned off Quay Street and headed through Spinningfields, down Gartside Street. We then turned left at Bridge Street and onto New Bailey Street, passing over the bridge into Salford and under Salford Central station.

Crossing into Salford, that bike looks familiar

We turned right onto Chapel Street, which will soon be the lucky recipient of a Beelines scheme to provide protected cycling infrastructure. I used to work on Chapel Street many years ago and I’m amazed by how much it has improved. It’ll no doubt be even better once it has decent cycling infrastructure.

Riding along the soon to be improved Chapel Street

We turned right at Blackfriars Street and over the Irwell to return to Manchester. Back at Deansgate, we turned left and past the Cathedral and right towards Cathedral Gardens and The Corn Exchange.

Waiting to cross Corporation Street at Cathedral Gardens

We carried on up Withy Grove between The Printworks and Manchester Arndale and arrived at Shudehill. From there, we went into the Northern Quarter, passing along Thomas Street, High Street, Turner Street and Union Street before turning onto Church Street.

Scooter ladies on Church Street

Carrying on down Church Street and onto Dale Street, we turned right at the end and onto Portland Street, passing Piccadilly Gardens. We then took a left onto Chorlton Street, then right onto Bloom Street and carried on until we reached Princess Street.

The new soundsystem on Portland Street

After joining Princess Street briefly, we turned right onto Whitworth Street and carried on until we reached Oxford Road. We then turned left at Oxford Road and carried on until we reached All Saints Park, where the ride ended.

Riding down Oxford Road as the sun’s setting

Quite a few of us hung around in the park on a very pleasant late summer evening as the sky darkened and the soundsystem continued to play. Another really enjoyable Critical Mass and the penultimate ride in daylight, with the clocks changing and darker evenings on the horizon.

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