Second City Divide is a bike-packing route between Glasgow and Manchester; Two proud second cities linked by, if you look carefully, some of the UK's best all-road riding.

Once a year it’s run as a fully unsupported event, with all riders following the same route and aiming to finish in Manchester at roughly the same time for a reet good knees up, avoiding the finishing with no-one there to clap you in scenario. A bit like a handicap race, with everyone converging towards the end.

2018 will be our Beta edition. The route has been lovingly researched and recce'd, but is yet to be ridden in one go. The finish is in Manchester on Saturday 29th September. When you leave Glasgow is up to you.

No entry fee, no prizes, except for a free beer* on us at the end. Book your train to Glasgow, find a place to stay in Manchester on the 29th and let us know at @secondcitydivide that you’re coming to look for the Glasman.

Exact start and finish locations TBC.

*we actually need to confirm this.


See the 2018 BETA Edition gallery here.

Rules: (More guidelines, but try and follow them)

  • Don’t be a dick.

  • Be nice to other trail and road users.

  • Be nice to any businesses that you visit along the way.

  • Leave no trace.

  • Try the local stuff and let us know what gems you find.

  • Wild camping/sleeping is encouraged but check the legality of it.

  • Follow the route, cheaters aren’t cool.




  1. This is an unsupported, so carry everything you need to get out of trouble and look after each other.

  2. Obey traffic laws on open roads, though there shouldn’t be many cars where we’re going.

  3. Read the route notes before setting off. Heed their advice. Proceed with sense of adventure.



This is not a race, but if you'd like your name on the finishers list, as pioneers of the first edition, tag a time stamped photo of you in Glasgow, and one at the end in Manchester.



We've spent a fair bit of time researching the route and putting on the event. Mainly as it's rewarding and we wanted to give something back to the bike packing community. The route is open for use by anyone. So if you've enjoyed riding it, we'd be made up if you donated some pennies to some of the people that make bikepacking in the UK some of the best.

Mountain Bothies Association

- Great North Air Ambulance service

For the beta event, this isn't mandatory, but it will make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.



But Birmingham is the Second City?

Will there be prizes?
Yes. Best photo (spirit of the ride) submitted under the #Secondcitydivide18 hashtag wins a SECOND FREE BEER.

What bike do I need?
Good question. It’s a demanding, adventurous route and even if you plan to travel light you’re going to have some luggage. A real test of rider and bike, it’s suited to wider, higher volume tubeless tires and a bike that can handle the rough stuff. We think 700 x 35c minimum.

Where do we sleep?
Up to you. This isn’t a race so you don’t need to sleep in a ditch for 30mins before heading off again. The route is designed to go past bothies, campsites, hostels and bunkhouses so you have options.

How long will it take?
Hard to say - it hasn’t been ridden start to finish yet. There are road sections where you can make good time, but it’s lumpy and slower going on the rough bits. 4 days and 3 nights would be very good going, we think.

Is the Glasman real?
We think we heard him one night when recceing the route, but have never seen him. All our danglemugs were gone in the morning. We're told he’s allergic to chamois cream, so make sure you’re lathered up.

Are there any alternative routes?
We’re working on route alternatives for the skinny tyre'd types or the very tired types and just because we have FOMO on all the other good roads. But the 2018 edition is a one route to rule them all event.

When will you release the GPX?
ASAP. With some route notes about terrain, re-supply, best cafes, etc. In the spirit of the event we’d like you to follow the GPX file provided as closely as possible. There will be no way-marking.

More questions?
Message us @secondcitydivide

Does a mix of 600km+, gravel roads, forests, haggis, wind farms, bothies, drovers roads, Irn Bru, lochs, 10,000m+ ascent, Cumberland sausage, bridleways, backroads, byways, (a tiny bit of) hike-a-bike, lakes, black pudding, Vimto, Hadrian's Wall, viaducts, National Parks, canal paths, strada bianchi and farm tracks sound like your danglemug of tea?

Here's the working version of the route, so you can start looking at re-supply and accommodation logistics. We plan to release a fully finished .gpx file(s) in mid September. We'll also release a document marking bothies, stations, POI and must see bits, but as an unsupported event aimed at the adventurous type, you'll need to plan you're own trip and come prepared.

Get in touch if you have any questions about the route, the terrain, the 2018 BETA edition, good bivvy spots, the best Cumberland Sausage, or just to let us know you're planning on riding.

The best way to get in touch at the moment is to send us a message on Instagram @secondcitydivide



Inspired by a desire to ride more off the beaten track, to get away from cars, deeper into the UK's wilder places. Living on the road for a few days and pushing a few of your limits is good for the soul. Stoked on events like Torino Nice Rally and The Badger Divide – big, slightly intimidating, A to B unsupported adventures got us thinking about something closer to home.

Glasgow and Manchester have a good bit in common. As Second Cities of their respective countries, both have the good vibes, creativity, industrial heritage, commonwealth velodromes; gritty, grand and gregarious in equal measure. Between them is a load of food, culture, wildlife and history for exploring on two wheels. While this route can’t compete with the grandeur of the Alps, Central Asia or the Americas, it involves a lot less planning, supports local economies and makes you think twice about needing to travel far before riding your bike – most of the UK can get a train to Glasgow within a few hours.

Treat it as your big challenge or your kit shakedown for bigger things to come.