I've found the closure of pubs and restaurants to be somewhat liberating because it's given me free time to explore Manchester by bike. On sunny weekdays I'll be spontaneous after work, deciding a destination once already on the road. At weekends I might bike further with a picnic and partner in crime (I mean 'crime' literally because she's from another household and 'partner' figuratively because of commitment reluctance). There's so many nearby towns, parks and sights I've never thought to visit in my three years here. If you ate the compass of Manchester, it would taste a little like what you're about to read.
North On the steep journey towards Manchester's highest point, a cordoned-off observatory called The Temple, a handful of skyscrapers disappeared behind us as we transitioned past sleeping bougie bars, bustling international shops, and Synagogues. The destination bench looked out further north past two thick forests that were like opened theatre curtains revealing a green stage miles deep. It provided a moment of sitty dwelling to forget about my city dwelling. The moment was brief because the chaotic escapism of everyone else was within earshot.
East Our exploration method has been to head to any suburb-sized parkland on the map, enjoying the scenery and landmarks on the way. Neighbouring one Friday night greenspace destination was Sportcity, an area made from stadiums and concrete. We took full advantage of its abandonment by riding down a long bridge at speed onto the empty perimeter of the Etihad Stadium. We did this twice and took pictures. I felt like I was living the life of a young person. In those moments I wasn't doing much else.
South The busiest bus corridor in Europe has a dedicated cycle lane from which I almost feel like I can tour my impending trajectory. The University campus is prominent but quickly behind me and before and long I'm passing suburbs each seemingly inhabited by those a decade older than in the one before. Before my eyes, the houses detach from each other, birthing between them impeccable hedged barriers which one day I might spend my time attending. I sigh at the predictability, shudder at the privilege, but look forward to the kitchen space.
West A lot of the main roads coming from the centre tend to incline themselves upwards. We were so pleased at discovering the flat canals as an alternative, we accidently cycled to Wigan and Warrington. As casual cyclists our trips haven't been about covering distance or planning efficient routes. They're more about stopping to eat some chocolate and showing appreciation of the empty path ahead by saying something like
This is nice