All three longer rides head out on a flat, mainly downhill route, past Heaton Park, towards Salford and right through the iconic Salford Quays where you will pass Media City, Lowry Theatre, Imperial War Museum and Old Trafford. Then, staying on the flat across South Manchester, you will enjoy sweeping swiftly through the leafy suburbs of Cheadle Hulme and Woodford to our new feed station in Poynton, courtesy of and with thanks to the good people of Poynton. Shortly after the pavé (cobbled) section at Norbury Junction (mind the level crossing!), the Mad Manc splits from the others and for the first-time heads east out to the start of the Peak District. We sweep up to Disley, New Mills and Mellor, before rejoining the Classic and Challenge at Marple Bridge. Then onwards to our old friend, a closed road KoM/QoM section up the short, but very steep Werneth low climb, affording you a sensational view of Manchester and a panorama of the hills to the Northeast and North – enjoy that view! Here our second feed station awaits courtesy of the wonderful Chef and Brewer Hare and Hounds Inn – who kindly let us use their facilities. On another day you’d stop here and enjoy a beer and their great food, but not today.
After a quick “light” refreshment stop, you’ll head through Tameside and several climbs around Saddleworth, passing through Uppermill hills before a long steady climb to the third feed station at the fine and stately Saddleworth Hotel. Here you can enjoy great food (including scones) and coffee whilst taking in another great view.
On departing the Saddleworth Hotel grounds, you’ll take on a couple of testy climbs including the Grains Bar climb which featured as a Tour of Britain KoM segment. You then climb over to Newhey, ride through Milnrow and past the current sound of Big Ben (Rochdale Town Hall) before another stop (Number 4) at Norden Community Primary School. There will be more hot food and a chance to prepare yourself for the harder half of the ride. First you climb Owd Betts, then down to Ramsbottom and up the famous Ramsbottom Rake – you’ll remember that for a long time and you can tick off another ‘Great British Climb’. You’ll rejoin the main course heading through Edgeworth and taking on a closed road section to Belmont where you will enjoy another feed station. There’s great nutrition, truly incredible views and you will need to replenish your reserves at the Bolton Sailing Club (stop number 5) as you still have another handful of climbs over to Rivington then back towards Bolton. If you are still in need of sustenance, there is another feed station (Number 6) at Bleakholt after Ramsbottom before the climb back up Owd Betts. Then just to add that little sting to the tail, you have a short sharp climb to the Windmill before a fantastic winding descent which takes you to within a few miles of the finish. As you pass through Heywood you’ll have to keep up the pace up otherwise you’ll be diverted to the shorter route and you’ll miss the last climb of the ride up Heap Brow!
The Tour de Manc® is not all about the fastest and this is not a race – we award spot prizes for grit and determination too.
Please note that the route is subject to change.