Northern Roots Bike Hub & Trails

Northern Roots is proposing to create a fun and audacious Bike Hub & Trails facility. Back in December we asked you what you would like to find at the Bike Hub. A huge number of you responded to our consultation, so firstly, thanks to all of you who took the time to share your input.

From safe family cycling spaces, bike repair lessons and kids Enduro racing, to magically lit night routes and watching top professionals compete, you were not short of ideas when it comes to imagining what the Northern Roots Bike Hub could offer!

We can see there’s a lot of expertise, energy and ideas in the local community, and in the cycling and mountain-biking fraternity, that we can learn from when it comes to co-designing the Bike Hub.

We also  gained a valuable insight into what some of the barriers to cycling are – for example lack of confidence, a shortage of safe spaces for learning to ride or having to travel miles to access great mountain biking – and how we can make the Bike Hub truly inclusive, as well as outstanding.

The consultation confirmed that there’s a significant need for a facility like this in Oldham, that can offer a broad range of activities and benefits to both local communities and visitors to the borough.

We were reminded that we need to think about the Bike Hub and the 160-acre Northern Roots site in terms of how it connects to surrounding urban areas, linking to other cycle networks and providing safe transit through Oldham and beyond.

Oldham Council has secured funding through the GM Mayor’s Bee Network programme to design a new bridge for cyclists and pedestrians, connecting the Medlock valley adjacent to Park Bridge Heritage Centre. The project is in its initial phase, with designers and engineers developing the design for the bridge. Further funding will be needed to build the bridge, but once complete, it will provide a spectacular new southern access point to the Northern Roots site, providing connectivity into Oldham and out into Greater Manchester.

Thank you specifically to all of you who connected with us, telling us about the work you already do and what you could bring to the Bike Hub facility in terms of practical activities, expertise and connections. If we secure funding and can successfully progress the Bike Hub project, we’ll pick up with you to explore further.

We’ll continue to update everyone as this part of the Northern Roots project develops. You can read more about the Northern Roots Bike Hub & Trails proposal below, as well as some of the ideas and feedback you shared with us.


Your ideas and feedback

Be great to have single rider sessions. For people like me that don’t have any riding buddies and would like to meet others.

Create supporting features and activities that encourage young riders to explore further and so get more out of using the site i.e. trailside sculptures, nature quizzes, bike powered musical sculptures.

Space and sessions for people of all abilities. Disability cycling adaptations advice.

I’d like more integrated safe cycle routes to get around. I currently use this area to cycle to and from work.

Please, please do something for older folk! I’m 56 and I’d love to learn to ride a bike and be safe enough to use it as my main mode of transport.

Women only, culturally-sensitive sessions to learn how to ride a bike. As a South Asian woman, I would like to learn with a group of a women in a quiet place away from public and community view. 

National standard BMX track. Trail building/maintenance volunteering sessions – I would volunteer to help in the summer.

Family trails with picnic areas. Somewhere safe to leave your bike to go and look at what else is on offer. Somewhere to charge electric bikes.

Consider coloured lighting of plants and trees, like ‘light up the forest’ or the enchanted forest, along some routes – this will promote cycling during darker months too and maintain interest all year round.

Ensure wide access via a network of safe and continuous cycle routes with good toilet and refreshment facilities.

I’d like somewhere in Oldham that had specific off-road trails with some distance, but also the opportunity to try technical stuff, low to high in difficulty.

I used to ride twice a month with my husband and disabled daughter. We used to do a mixture of on and off-road cycling. My husband has recently been diagnosed with epilepsy and has been advised not to ride his bike on the road. We would now like to find safe places where we can ride.

I don’t own a bike so would look at renting.

I’m mainly interested in long-distance road cycling, but I used to ride cyclo-cross, and wouldn’t mind having another go at that, if there was a Dads’ race!

The proposed Bike Hub & Trails facilities will include:

  • A Pump Track, with start hill and slope and a circuit of rollers, banked turns, jumps and differing features along the track line, allowing for a diversity of riders with different skill levels.
  • A Duel Track, consisting of 2 riding lines running side by side with mirroring features and lengths.  Testing the speed and bike handling skills of two cyclists at the same time will speed up progression as riders push themselves to get better and beat their friends.
  • A Skills Area, including short trail sections with boulders, wooden skinnies, ladders, dirt and wooden jumps, reflecting natural obstacles a rider can expect to encounter whilst mountain biking, and allowing riders to practise balance, body positioning, and manoeuvres.

The Bike Hub would include a refreshments Kiosk with viewing platform, bike shop, repairs and hire, bike wash and shower facilities.

These facilities would be complemented by an extensive events and engagement programme in partnership with a range of organisations and include activities like learn to ride and improvers’ sessions, competitive cycling events, and Club and holiday club activities.

Existing mountain bike trails on the Northern Roots site will be restored, and new graded mountain bike trails will fan out across the site, through its woodland areas.

Follow Northern Roots on TwitterInstagram and Facebook and if you’re out and about on your bike on the Northern Roots site, share your photos and tag us in!

The Northern Roots Bike Hub is a fantastic opportunity to develop a safe environment for cycling. It will attract local families and children to enjoy top class facilities and give everyone a safe place to be more active. Let’s all get involved  and push for this amazing opportunity for our local town”

Matt Walls, GB Cycling Team & Bora-Hansgrohe

Artist impression of the proposed Bee Network bridge connecting the Medlock valley at Park Bridge Heritage Centre.
Back in March 2020, before the pandemic struck, Northern Roots hosted a Mountain Bike Discovery Day at Northern Roots - a chance to connect with local riders and talk trails, berms and drops!