Well, there was an ominous sky as we set off for Manchester, collecting friends on the way. When we reached Deansgate, the sky began to open up for what would become a rather damp ride.

It wasn’t long after we set off that we hit what would become the main theme of the ride (other than the rain), standstill traffic. Wherever we went, we hit queue after queue. This meant the ride got split up a number of times, with everyone needing needing to negotiate a way round the traffic.

Initially, we headed down Hewitt Street, turning left onto Albion Street and heading for shelter on Great Bridgewater Street. Once there, we passed a rather substantial police presence on Watson Street for the conference. The ride then headed for Albert Square via Peter Street and onto Princess Street, avoiding the trams.

We took a right onto Portland Street, where we hit more traffic, and the ride split up as everyone tried to negotiate their way down onto Chepstow Street, and round to Lower Mosley Street to reach our destination outside the Bridgewater Hall.

Once we arrived there, I didn’t hear much of the speeches as we were busy entertaining the kids and warming up with some hot chocolate. I did get the impression though that quite a few didn’t make it in time for the speeches and were still stuck in the traffic.

After the speeches, the ride set off for another lap and we set off for home, to get the kids in bed. All in all, a very damp and at times a very frustrating ride, with the congestion. Though it did illustrate quite clearly why we need space for cycling in Manchester, and why rides like tonight at so important. Though next time, I’ll pack a waterproof coat that’s actually waterproof!

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