The Suicide Cycle Tour is an exclusive series here on The Proto City that covers the trials and tribulations of the cyclist in cities that just aren’t friendly to them, including Hong Kong, Moscow, New York, and Vienna.
Dare to see Manchester, Dare to cycle on Oxford Road.
Ever been to Manchester? It is the third city of England and has a big history in music and art, has the biggest student population of Great Britain and includes all the cultures which inhabit the island. You can visit the wide range of museums, the football stadiums or just have a good pub tour through the city. By doing all these things, you get to know Manchester piece by piece.
But wouldn’t it be great to experience the full flavour of what Manchester has to offer in just one activity? Wouldn’t it be great to feel the urban atmosphere of the cities’ people and institutions? To watch it from within, rather than from outside? To explore the variety of multiculturalism and to interact with drunk students while you are on your way to see more. Now, it is possible. You can experience the city in just 2 miles and 1 road. By doing the Suicide Cycling Tour.
I know, the title of the tour seems rather dangerous and lethal, but what’s in a name? If you want to survive in a city and you want to delve into the urban core, you need to take some risk. I guarantee, you wont be disappointed.
So, what is it? The Suicide Cycling Tour? Well, ittakes you from the one-of-a-kind student village Fallowfield where you can smell the alcohol of drunk English students, along the big green Platt Fields park, where you breathe in the freshness of grass and trees, through the spicy and flavoured Curry Mile where you taste the Indian quisine in all its glory, passed the famous Withworth Art Gallery where history comes to life in paintings from Van Gogh, Monet and Picasso and leaving on the right side the wellknown Manchester’s University Hospital where new technologies safe people’s lives everyday, crossing the biggest University Campus of the Island with the two big institutions University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University, where you feel the serene atmosphere of knowledge and intellectuality.
After you leave behind the universities, the cherry on the pie comes in: Music! Manchester breathes music. While you take your cycling tour further up the road to the city centre, you pass the wonderful building of Manchester Music school. A mix of different styles welcome you in this part of town. A young girl plays the violin, a pod-user tries to bang on his guitar and a phrantic old guy touches the piano in such a way that classical and modern music come together. It is the start of the second part of the Suicide Cycling Tour. Many bars are on this section of the road, such as the famous The Pub, The Odder Bar, and The Thirsty Scholar. More cultural institutions such as the artmovie filmhouse Cornerhouse, and the wonderful Palace Theatre show you the way to the city centre with the Pantheon-like structure of the Public Library as its full climax.
So far so good, these cultural beholdings show Manchester’s glory. But what about the suicide part? Well, let me put it this way. Oxford Road is the traffical bloodstream of Manchester. It is the busiest bus route of Europe. It holds numerous bus stops, cars, intersections, and crazy people crossing the road. It only facilitates a 50 centimetres wide cycle lane, which normally is quite slippery due to the regular rainfall. As one picture shows, the road itself is not the best maintained in Northern England. Cycling on such a road will get you to the urban core, but it will ask a lot of you.
It asks determination, alertness, concentration, but most of all: flexibility to adjust yourself in any possible situation. Either being caught inbetween the Magic Bus stopping at a busstop and the sidewalk, or having to break heavily when a cardriver just didn’t see you, or just because some people tend to cross the road impulsively only focussing on four tyred traffic and totally forgetting the pace with which two tyred cyclists cycle the road. But when you survived all these different encounters, you see Manchester as never before.