Thursday, 16 September 2010

Fallowfield Loop 2

I decided to take a more scenic route home the other day so headed down Wilmslow Road to get to the Fallowfield Loop which would take me to Reddish Vale to get over the motorway and back towards Denton.

Since I forgot my camera when we visited the Fallowfield loop for the first time a few weeks ago I took the opportunity to snap a few photos of the route. I also came across a nice webpage that has plenty of photos of the railway line when its was in use, disuse and being built into the route it is today, worth a quick look. As is this page where I found out there is actually a tunnel underneath Sainsbury's on Wilmslow Road, the design was a cock-up though so it's not in use.

There were quite a few other cyclists making their way along, I just wish it was as busy as some of the bike paths we are all so envious of in Holland. A quick look at many posts on David Hembrows blog shows what rush hour on a bike path like this should be like.

I'm reliably informed by 'he who knows all' that the huge pipes crossing the loop on this trussed bridge are part of the Thirlmere Aqueduct. Most of the aqueduct is underground and doesn't appear on any internet maps, but you can trace the route on your A-Z of Manchester. It's one of those ridiculously big engineering feats that, sadly you just can't imagine us achieving today.

Most of the barriers on the Loop have a decent enough gap (although still a pain) for you to slow right down on the bike and navigate through without having to put a foot down too much, but for some reason this one had to be different. Bit annoying that.

Sneaky peek at part 6 of my Nexus build
It's lots of fun being able to cycle along with one hand on the bars, taking photos with the other when there's no cars, potholes, grids etc to worry about.

I came off the Loop for a short section of road to get down this road (National route 6) to get to Reddish Vale. (note to self camera in pocket with lens against leg causes misty lens syndrome)

Passing underneath the Railway line

This section is the only real bugger on the whole journey, it's perfectly rideable but crashing up the very lumpy track (photo below) might become a chore if it was day after day. On the other hand maybe the car-freeness of the rest of the route makes up for it. It's a compromise really, If I was on my old Mountain bike then this section would be the highlight of the route, but on the Nexus it's it'd be nicer to have a entire route of tarmac. It's fine though, I just trundled up it slowly in 1st gear.

Once you have made it up this track and over the motorway there's a short section of wide track then it's back onto residential streets and off to home. You can also carry on beside the River Tame to get over to Gee Cross/Hyde.

I enjoyed this ride so much I came back the same way the next morning, and each day after that (this was a week ago). It takes about 10 mins longer than going the direct route down Hyde Rd, but if I'm not in a rush I think this might become my regular route for a while.

Below is a rough map of the route. Blue is entirely seprate from motor traffic, orange is quiet roads and red is busy Wilmslow road, but it does have cycle lanes for the whole way along. For anyone who wants to start riding into Manchester from the Hyde/Denton area but is still put off by the amount of traffic on roads such as Hyde road I'd definately recommend this route as a fun starting point.


  1. I use the loop sometimes on the way home, just to get me off Hyde Road in the rush hour.

    Its lovely.

  2. Yea, the Loop is fine. Just wish I’d access to a JCB. I, er..., alter those barriers.

  3. Ive been going this way for a week now. I think I'll have to go via Hyde road again soon to remind myself what it's like. JCB sounds like a good plan, but I think I'd use it to create some roadworks on the major A roads first. Nothing like some good roadworks to make cycling past the queues of cars fun :-D

  4. I followed it right to the end to Fairfield Station... Here is a video.

    Was appalled at the end of it:

  5. It's great that the barriers have now been removed to allow all kinds of users to get access along the Fallowfield Loop.