WTF?

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.
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Second City Divide is open to anyone, all year round. Once a year it’s run as a fully unsupported event, (2018 BETA Edition gallery here) with all riders aiming to finish in Manchester at roughly the same time, avoiding the ‘finishing with no-one there to clap you in’ scenario. Beers, story telling, back slapping and good vibes.

The 2019 2.0 edition will finish at Idle Hands Cafe Coffee in Manchester on Saturday 14th September. When you leave Glasgow is up to you.

Start: Whenever you like
George Square, Glasgow, G2 1DH

Finish: Saturday 14th September
Idle Hands Coffee, 35 Dale St, Manchester, M1 2HF

No entry fee, no prizes, except for a free beer* on us at the end - you’ll have earnt it. Book your train to Glasgow, find a place to stay in Manchester on the 14th and let us know at @secondcitydivide that you’re coming to look for the Glasman.

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 actually need to confirm this.


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

  • This is an unsupported event, so carry everything you need to get out of trouble and look after each other. Proceed with sense of adventure.

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

  • Don’t be a dick. Be nice to other trail and road users or any businesses you visit along the way.

  • Wild camping/sleeping is encouraged but check the legality of it. Leave no trace.

  • Follow the route as closely as you can, cheaters aren’t cool. We haven't done a route card as you're all capable of doing your own research but there are a few notable places to sleep and resupply on the map page .

  • DO NOT FEED THE GLASMAN


Donations

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.

 

FAQ:

But Birmingham is the Second City?
No.

Will there be prizes?
Yes. Best photo (spirit of the ride) submitted under the #Secondcitydivide2019 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


September 2018    The first full running of Second City Divide. Will, Adam, Nathan, Christian and Luke go looking for the Glasman. They don’t find him, but find a lot of good riding in the process.

September 2018

The first full running of Second City Divide. Will, Adam, Nathan, Christian and Luke go looking for the Glasman. They don’t find him, but find a lot of good riding in the process.

June 2019    Andy, Tim and Jon set off on the slightly refined Second City Divide route, staying in bothies, yurts and a rain enforced B&B. Click through for Gladiator long grass stroke pics and more.

June 2019

Andy, Tim and Jon set off on the slightly refined Second City Divide route, staying in bothies, yurts and a rain enforced B&B. Click through for Gladiator long grass stroke pics and more.

July 2019    Gaëlle Bojko   (@biketotheblocs)   rode the Second City Divide Route in reverse, starting in Manchester and heading north. Extra props goes to Gaëlle as she was doing it on a front pannier loaded touring bike. Chapeau!

July 2019

Gaëlle Bojko (@biketotheblocs) rode the Second City Divide Route in reverse, starting in Manchester and heading north. Extra props goes to Gaëlle as she was doing it on a front pannier loaded touring bike. Chapeau!

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?
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Download the GPX/TCX route files below. The route is well researched but there is still scope for refinement - let us know where you think it could be tweaked. You can trust the route to take you from Glasgow to Manchester, but all attempts are unsupported and aimed at the adventurous type, you'll need to plan your own trip and come prepared.

Files for navigation, click map to download to your chosen device:

00_SCD Official [Full Route] - The full fat Second City Divide route, North to South / 609km.

01_SCD Official [Scotland] - Second City Divide, Scottish Half / 239km

02_SCD Official [England] - Second City Divide, English Half / 369km

Useful jibs:

03_SCD Edinburgh to Tushielaw Inn - If you fancy starting in Edinburgh, follow this track until it meets the main route @ 175km, saving you 80 tough kilometers / 95km

04_SCD_Lanark Hostel - The main route bypasses Lanark, but use this to go there for resupply and/or stay at the Hostel at New Lanark before rejoining main route / 16km

05_SCD_Newcastleton/Kershopehead Bothy - Leave main route to resupply in Newcastleton and/or navigate to Kershopehead Bothy before rejoining the main route / 35km

06_SCD_Hartside Pass - Use to avoid Cross Fell/Greg’s hut crossing in very bad weather / 17km

07_SCD_Rochdale Canal - Option if you’re really flagging on the way into Manchester, saves a tough (but good) 15km of riding / 23km

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

 

Background:

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.

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TORINO NICE RALLY 2017: