Author Archives: Geoff Blunt

MECD Active Travel Hub nears Completion

The MECD Active Travel Hub is just off Booth Street East, neighbouring Manchester Business School East, the Aquatics Centre, and the southern entrance of MECD. As shown in the pictures, it has upper as well as lower level bike storage to increase capacity, and it will also have shower and changing facilities. If you would like to volunteer to be a guardian for this new shelter (responsibilities: reporting faults, being a point of contact for other shelter users and counting usage once a month), then please get in touch with us at

Access to the facility will be the same as for other shelters, instructions for this are on the Estates website. We will update the Facebook page when the facility opens.

The Cycle to Work Scheme limit is increasing

The Cycle to Work Scheme limit is increasing

As of last week, the borrowing limit on Cycle to Work has been raised from £1,000 to £2,820 (or 5% of salary, whichever is lower), to make the purchase of electric bikes possible. The Cycle to Work Scheme is a UoM benefit allowing staff to buy bikes and cycling accessories via salary sacrifice: effectively, you ‘hire’ a bike for 12 months and then make a small additional payment at the end of that period to become the official owner. This has the dual advantage of spreading the payments of what might be quite a large investment, as well as saving some money by paying for it out of your monthly salary before income tax is applied. The quoted overall saving on the normal bike purchase cost is 25-39%. For the full details, as well as instructions for applying, follow this link.

Rainbow Ride 2019

Rainbow Ride 2019

The cyclist breakfast on the 6th of February was at Manchester Children’s Hospital, and, as February is LGBT History Month, it was the Rainbow Ride. Rainbow laces, ribbons and badges were given out, as well as information relating to LGBT History Month events in Manchester, and the University of Manchester Equality, Diversity and Inclusion calendars.

Sign our petition on covered cycle parking spaces

Sign our petition on covered cycle parking spaces

We have some great cycling facilities at the University campus, including schemes to make bike purchasing easier, swipe card-protected covered parking, repair stands and regular events aimed at increasing the number of regular cyclists. So successful have these incentives been, that now 11% of staff regularly cycle to work1; that’s about 1,100 people. This is great news, until you realise that there are only 1,031 covered bike spaces to park in – a third of which are shared with the students, who also cycle in large numbers. That’s a lot of people competing for not many spaces to keep their bikes from rusting in the Manchester rain. Contrast this to the situation with car parking provision, and we find that, although only 2,604 staff regularly drive1, there are 3,124 car parking spaces on campus2!

Some very dedicated people have been collecting data on cycle shelter usage3, and regularly find that in peak times they are filled to capacity (and beyond, you often see extra bikes jammed into unlikely spaces in desperation). It’s impossible to say what effect this might be having on the uptake of cycling – who wants to make the change to a regular cycle commute if the chances are that their beloved bike will be exposed to the elements all day? It’s also a pretty regular sight to see cyclists taking their bikes into buildings, much to the exasperation of cleaners, fire safety officers and anyone who trips over it in the office.

All of which sounds like a big moan, and the intention is not to say that there is some zero-sum game with cycle and car parking provision, but to underline that the disconnect between the relative provision for each travel mode seems out of kilter with the University’s sustainable travel goals, one of which is to reach 25% of staff regularly engaging in ‘active travel’ by 20224. So we’re starting a petition to ask the University to invest in more covered bike stands. It can be accessed here (University login required). Please read it and submit your agreement to the statement, we aim to take it to the University this summer.

Petition link:


1Staff survey 2017

2UoM Estates car parking website, 2018

3Data gathered by UMBUG shelter guardians Jan 2015 – Nov 2016

4UoM Living Campus Plan, Environmental Sustainability

UoM Bike Maintenance Stands

How to use the on-campus bicycle repair stands

There are a 4 repair stands located across campus so you can repair a puncture and more on your bike. Find out how to use them here:

1. Locate your nearest stand using the interactive map.
We are using the stand located near the Renold Building on North Campus for this demonstration.



2. Hang your bicycle safely on the stand by putting the seat post between the posts ensuring your saddle rests on top as shown in the pictures. You may need to adjust or remove any bicycle lights, saddle bags or reflectors to do this. This safely holds your bike and frees up your hands for the next steps.

3. Select the tools you need for your job. Each repair stand has a comprehensive range of tools including spanners (various sizes), allen keys (various sizes), tyre levers, chain tool, screw drivers, adjustable spanner and pliers.

4. When you are done carefully lift your bicycle off the stand. Then ride away on your newly repaired bicycle!

5. If you notice there is a problem with the repair stand you can report this by emailing .

Do you have tips or comments to share on using the repair stands? Join our Facebook discussion.


Autumn is coming. It’s time to keep your bike on the road…

Autumn on campus

Join in the conversation on UMBUG Facebook with your tips and advice.

After what has been a hot and intense summer, autumn is back with a change  in the weather and dark nights. Some cyclists will be putting their bikes away, waiting again for the light nights and sunny days of spring.

Autumn and winter cycling can seem daunting, the traffic sounds louder when the roads are wet, the dark might seem more dangerous and more people take to their cars for the school run, to pop to the shops or just to avoid the walk to the station.However, more traffic means that it is often moving more slowly so it’s actually a great time to be on your bike!

There are a few things you’ll need to consider if you decide to keep up that fitness (and allow yourself some extra calories at Christmas for an extra three and a half months of cycling!!):


Check the weather forecast the night before and get all your kit together so you’re not dashing around in the morning trying to find your waterproofs or lights.

It’s also worth keeping a spare set of clothes in your office if you can, just in case you get caught in unexpected rain.


More regular cleaning is important, especially the chain and drivetrain components as the muck you pick up will act to wear the cassette and chainrings.

Check your tyres are properly inflated. This helps stop mud, which can conceal all sorts of sharp nasties, being picked up and sticking to your tyres.

Carry a spare tube – it’s much quicker than a repair kit or a long walk in the rain.

You should think about mudguards, if appropriate,to protect yourself and other road users from spray.


You might want to invest in a decent waterproof jacket if you’re riding at night something highly reflective is good. Decent jackets can be expensive but staff can buy safety equipment (like lights, jackets, helmets) through the Cycle to Work scheme, with a saving on tax.

Waterproof trousers and rucksack covers can also prove useful. I tend to wear cheap cotton combat trousers as they have a lot of pockets and dry quickly. I personally use walking gaiters to keep my trousers out of my chain and they help keep my shoes and trousers dry from the spray off the road.

A thin balaclava or hat to keep your ears warm and gloves that are wind chill and rain resistant are good for frosty mornings.


Lights – it’s the law! I strongly recommend USB chargeable ones as you can charge them up while you’re working and you can get some relatively inexpensive ones. The quality does vary though, so read the reviews.

Keep your lights clean.

If you’re going to go off road or on roads with little or no street lighting, you’ll probably also want to consider an extra bright front light (300-400 lumens on more) that shows up obstacles.

High visibility clothing will also help drivers spot you.

The environment

When riding in the autumn, fallen leaves can be a problem, as they tend to aggregate at the sides of the road where you want to cycle. When wet they are slippery and when dry they can hide potholes and nails, so it’s a good idea to keep away from the kerb.

Frosty mornings are not too bad, just be careful on quieter roads as they may not have been gritted and can be slippery.

You could also consider cycling into work and getting the train home if there’s a convenient one near your home.

Autumn cycling isn’t that different to the summer – apart from the fact you don’t sweat as much if you’re dressed prope

I’m relatively new to cycling; I got a Cyclescheme bike 4 years ago and for the first two years stopped cycling when the clocks changed. A couple of years ago though I decided I wanted to keep going through the winter because getting motivated to start again in spring was hard work! I got a Cyclescheme accessories-only package and haven’t looked back since.

By Dr Andrew Thomas, School of Materials and Photon Science Institute

We reproduce this press release without comment!


Hundreds of people are set to take to the streets of Manchester for a fortnight of free cycling events including the now infamous World Naked Bike Ride.

On Friday 9th June more than 200 brave cycling enthusiasts are expected to gather in Manchester for the incredible ‘bare as you dare’ ride. Ride organiser Andrew Fisher says “It’s all about getting cyclists to be more visible on roads. Drivers say they don’t see you, we’re saying cyclists need to be seen to get their fair share of the road.” Similar events take place in cities across the world and aim to highlight the vulnerability of cyclists.

The nude ride marks the beginning of North West Velo Fest 2017. This popular, free festival is now in its 6th year and despite appearances isn’t only for the naked or lycra-clad crowd. Festival organiser Joe Hulme says “There’s something for everyone, obviously the naked bike ride is the one everyone notices, who couldn’t? But it’s not all about getting your kit off. There are lots of other less scary opportunities to feel the wind through your hair in new places.”

The festival runs for two weeks from Friday 9th to Saturday 24th June. Events include a free bike tour of Manchester’s musical history, a street party, led countryside rides and races with cash prizes. The full lineup is available at

LGBT History Month

We helped kick off LGBT History Month in collaboration with All-Out, the LGBT staff network group, by wearing go-faster rainbow shoelaces and ribbons to the cyclist breakfast on 1st Feb.  Thanks everyone who took part!

Merry Christmas!

snow and cycle UMBUG would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year – we’ll be canvassing your opinions and ideas in January to direct our focus in 2017.  Have a great break!

Blindfold cycling and walking event

The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) is inviting cyclists to take part in a blindfold cycling and walking event on Friday 8 July on Oxford Road.

Only walkers will be blindfolded, so that they can understand some of the challenges blind and partially-sighted people face when they come in contact with cyclists in the streets, crossing a cycle lane or using a shared space.

As the cycleway on Oxford Road is being built, with bus stops being moved and a new cycle lane being laid, the RNIB wants to highlight the importance of making this scheme accessible to all cyclists and pedestrians. The new cycle lane will pass in front of the Manchester Eye Hospital, so it is more than likely that cyclists will meet blind and partially sighted pedestrians along the way.

RNIB will invite councillors, MPs and infrastructure designers to take part too.  They would like you to bring along your bikes and take turns between cycling along the road and walking with a blindfold on.

The activity will also be a good chance for blind and partially sighted people to understand how you feel when cycling on a  road and interacting with pedestrians. RNIB will give you some tips to follow when you meet a person with sight loss while cycling, as well as hearing your views.

For more information, please email