June 12, 2014

World Cup 2014: A Cycle Commuter’s Guide to Catching the Football this Summer.

One of the things you learn very quickly when you take up cycling to the office every day is that you’re rarely restricted to where you can go straight from work. Very few things can hold you back from getting to the best parts of town at the drop of a hat, with cycling giving you more energy than ever before to want to go out and see the city at large once the work clock strikes closing time – especially in the summer.

What makes this all the more tantalising is the impending launch of the World Cup. Delusions about England’s chances aside, it really doesn’t matter whose playing. This is three weeks of the world’s best footballers to keep us entertained before the new Premier League season starts again.

With a chunk of matches kicking off at 5:30pm and 8pm, it’s a good post-work diversion and thanks to your two wheels, you can be on the other side of town in no time at all. There’s so many benefits; meeting mates for some pre-match analysis, eating the sort of food well-deserved after a 9 mile commute and beating the crowds to the best places.

But where to cycle to? You need the good food, big-screens and ample space for you and your friends. But most importantly, it needs to be somewhere you know you can lock your bike safely without worrying about it.

So without further ado; we present our top 5 cyclist-accessible destinations for watching all the World Cup 2014 games.

1) Camp & Furnace, Liverpool
Location: 67 Greenland St, L1 0BY
Distance to cycling parking: Stones throw
Accessibility rating: 10

Image courtesy of @tomjohnsonuk, taken for Vice Magazine.

‘Fan Park’ at Camp & Furnace is fast becoming the best place to watch the football in Liverpool outside of Anfield and Goodison Park. The cavernous converted warehouse is currently one of the most popular venues in the city. It’s the watering hole of the city’s cool kids and hosts many brilliant events outside of football. It’s about five to ten minutes ride from the commercial district and is situated in the city’s creative hub: The Baltic Triangle. Once there, there’s a good number of cycle racks just outside the venue, in a safe, populated area.

2) Shooters Sports Bar & The Bierkeller, Manchester
Location: Withy Grove, M4 2BS
Distance to cycle parking: 3 minutes by bike, 7 on foot
Fun Level: 10

Images courtesy of The Bierkeller, Pocket Manchester and Onion Ring.

The best way to describe Shooters is a bar-within-a-bar. They’re based within the increasingly popular German Bierkeller complexes, but don’t let the sound of the Bierkeller’s infamous Oompah Band detract you from what is a proper sports bar – with a large projector screen and more 50 inch TV’s than Curry’s showing all the action.

Situated in Manchester’s Printworks, it’s handy for city workers wanting to surround themselves with live sport whilst chomping on one of their football hero themed burgers. It’s relatively cycle accessible too, with 36 bike locking points located four minutes away on foot. (Behind the Holiday Inn Express on Goadsby Street, M4 5JY)

3) No. 1 Moorgate, London
Location: 1 City Road, EC1Y 1AE
Distance to cycle parking: 5 minutes
Staff friendliness: 10

Image courtesy of No.1 Bar

No.1 is a great halfway house between Moorgate and Old Street station. It’s set over five floors with pool tables covering the top floor and loads of screens, many of which are 3D. The chatty manager is something of an online legend for his friendly, outgoing conversations with punters.

Another interesting quirk is the rooms you can book for you and your friends. They’re a bit like the corporate boxes at The Emirates, only you don’t have to be a high flying stockbroker to afford one.

You’re also a matter of minutes away from your bike if you lock it up outside The Bezier Apartments, where you’ll find a good spot at the top of the Old Street station steps.

4) Millennium Square, Leeds
Location: Millennium Square, LS2 3AD
Distance to cycling parking: 5 minutes
Atmosphere: 10

Images courtesy of Leeds Virtual News Room, Leeds List and Leeds Metropolitan University.

Millennium Square has shown some of the best sporting events live on a big screen in recent years, with London 2012 coverage being an absolute highlight. The square sits behind Leeds Metropolitan University’s Rose Bowl campus and is no more than five minutes away from two other campuses (Broadcasting Place and Queen Square) all with modern and secure cycle parking facilities.

A top cycle tip would be to get down early and beat the crowds, finding a table on the elevated terrace at Cuthbert Broderick.

It’s not just football; they’ll also be showing all the opening stages of the Tour De France, taking place in and around Yorkshire this year. So if you work in Leeds it’s a great place to have on your doorstep and costs absolutely nothing but your time!

5) The Electric Cinema, Birmingham
Location: 47-49 Station Street, B5 4DY
Distance to cycle parking: less than 10 minutes
Quirkiness: 10

Image courtesy of Trip Advisor

If you’re looking for something a little more alternative, here’s a fantastic option. Holding the title of Britain’s oldest working movie theatre, The Electric in the Southside district of Birmingham is now home to modern sofas, a bar and waiter service.

Tickets for matches are bookable online at just £7 for sofas, £5 for seats on the front row and £3 for standard seats, a perfect solution to watching the World Cup in absolute comfort.

The cinema is just a five minute walk from Birmingham New Street station, where there are under cover racks for 46 bikes off Stephenson Street to keep your bike safe and dry.

So there you have it, our top 5 World Cup hotspots for cyclists. We hope you enjoy the games, but please remember not to drink and ride!

By Claire Hogan
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