FOLLOWING the closure of the Metrolink tram service this month, commuters can bike to work each Friday.

Throughout August cyclists can be guided to work once a week as part of Bike Friday, formerly known as Critical Commute, which starts from the bus stop near Stretford Mall and St Matthew's Church at 8am.

The scheme also runs from Chorlton, Withington and Prestwich on the last Friday of every month, except December.

The purpose of the initiative, which is run by experienced cyclists, is to encourage people who might be afraid of cycling alone in busy city traffic.

One Timperley resident, Rachel Bailey, wanted to build up confidence and joined in the ride along the A56 last Friday.

Now she is willing to cycle to her job in St Anne’s Square by herself.

She said: “I’d wanted to cycle for a while but didn’t have the courage to do so.

“I found out about Bike Friday and joined in last week.

“I never really knew the rules of the road so it really helped. The leaders gave us lots of pointers and being in a group made me feel more visible to drivers.

“Also as there are no trams at the moment it gives an extra incentive to cycle and it only takes 45 minutes door to door.”

Richard Alderson, a cycle trainer and member of Bike Friday and the Greater Manchester Cycling Campaign, said: “The scheme has been successful so far but we decided to relaunch to coincide with the trams stopping this month, making them weekly, rather than monthly, from Stretford during that period.

“We follow the Highway Code and have no intention of slowing traffic down. We aim to train people so they are confident when cycling.”

Bike Friday also urges commuters to use their bicycle to get to work, encourages employers to make it easier for their employees to cycle to work, makes cycling and cyclists visible to drivers and demonstrates that it's a viable way to get around.

Richard, who is from Sale, added: “If you haven’t cycled for a while, it’s a chance to enjoy safety in numbers and learn from others who have more experience to have fun.”

If you are interested in taking part visit