Pedals & Pathways: A column about navigating Manchester’s urban paths

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Navigating Manchester’s Urban Paths

Hello Manchester! Welcome to a recurring column about getting around our lovely city on foot, bicycle, scooter, etc. Not always the fastest way, but often the most fun. And the exercise is just an added bonus. So let’s dive right in!

In this edition, let’s talk about some recent improvements to Manchester’s cycling infrastructure, plus an upcoming event.


New Bike Racks

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Bike racks outside City Hall

In the last few years new bike racks have been popping up at various spots around the city to ensure riders can securely lock their bikes. New racks are at:

  • Hartnett Parking Lot
  • Veterans’ Park
  • Tennis courts at West High School
  • City Hall Plaza
  • Market Street Parking Lot
  • Victory Parking Garage

These were all approved by Manchester’s parking division and the Board of Mayor and Aldermen. Funding came from a federal grant – a Community Event and Activation Grant (CEAG) – which was part of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). More info at this webpage.


Fixit Stations

FixIt Bike Stand and Air Pump outside City Hall

In 2020, working with the City of Manchester, Queen City Bike Collective installed the first of 10 FixIt Stations around the city. The stations provide cyclists with the tools they need to perform minor repairs outside of Shop time. Some stations include air pumps too.


Bike stand with attached tools outside City Hall

So if you have a small mechanical problem but are near one of these stations, you may be in good shape.

Existing and proposed stations are shown on the map below and also at this link. 



Earn-a-Bike

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A recent effort spearheaded by QC Bike gave over 130 bikes to “Earn-a-Bike” programs at Beech Street and Gossler Park Elementary Schools as part of the Manchester Community Schools Project. Each bike package included a fully refurbished bike, new helmet, lock, and lights. The bikes were earned through leadership programming at school. The bikes were distributed to the successful students at a big Block Party in May. In this effort, QC Bike partnered with the Manchester Health Department, the Granite United Way, and Speedway Children’s Charities to bring this to completion.


Rail Trails

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Trestle over Cohas Brook, after repairs & modernization.

The South Manchester Trail is a recently extended route constructed atop an abandoned Boston & Maine Railroad alignment. Though previously only one paved mile was available – alongside Nutts Pond and through a residential neighborhood, the new-for 2024 extension doubles its length with a new asphalt paved trail from Gold Street to the outer perimeter of Manchester Airport. The city still has a bit of remaining work to complete before the extension is open to the public, but that should happen soon, and we will keep you updated.


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Trestle over Cohas Brook, before recent work

Tour of Manchester

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Coming Sept 22, 2024, will be the annual Tour of Manchester (“Tour de Manch“?). Sadly I was not able to make it last year. But I absolutely cannot wait for the next one! It looks like I missed a glorious day. To quote Abby Easterly of QC Bike, this was “for the whole community, to create a ride that anybody can come on.” They had multiple lengths of ride, up to 30 miles, along with many rest stops with snacks & water.


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For the kids, they had bars, bananas & oranges. And, as one kid said emphatically, “At the next stop there will be gummies!” (Again, so sad I missed it!) At the end there was food galore. They were expecting 75 riders, hoping for 100. But they had 200 people turn out. Sounds like Manchester folks really wanted to see their city on a bike!

Here’s a great 2½ minute video from last year (it will make you want to attend!): click here.

And here’s InkLink’s article announcing last year’s tour.


One Trail + Two Roads = Busy Intersection

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Rockingham Rail Trail heads east out of the city toward Lake Massabesic and affords some lovely surroundings for walkers, joggers, and trail cyclists. But on the way to Massabesic it crosses Candia Road at a shallow angle, at the same spot where Proctor Road crosses Candia. This makes for a lot of white road paint and yellow crossing signs, plus yellow safety paint on trail entry & exit posts & gates. It’s a gorgeous trail, but if you take it, pay attention at this point. Get home safe!


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Future Columns

This column should appear monthly, occasionally more often. It will cover a smorgasbord of issues related to cyclists and pedestrians in Manchester. Future topics may include:

  • Manchester’s Bicycle Master Plan
  • Resources for Manchester cyclists
  • Benefits of good bike & pedestrian infrastructure
  • Recent developments
  • Upcoming meetings & opportunities to get involved

And we very much want to hear feedback from you, our readers! What kinds of questions or concerns do you have? What kinds of topics would you like us to cover? Send your feedback our way and we’ll get on it!

About this Author

Jeff Rogers

Jeff Rogers is a native Hoosier who’s lived in the Granite State for 30+ years. He’s worked on airborne radar systems and written a lot of software. Today he lives in Manchester where he seeks to answer the age-old question: saison, lager, ale or stout?