New route for 100-mile cycle ride across region Organiser shakes up Vélo event following complaints in 2017
ORGANISERS of a 100-mile Midland cycle ride have vowed to overcome complaints that dogged its inaugural event last year.
The new route of the 2019 Vélo Birmingham cycling sportive was revealed this week.
The route will start and finish in Birmingham city centre and take in towns and villages across Warwickshire, Solihull, Dudley and Sandwell as well as Coventry.
It is a dramatic change from last year’s closed-road route which was focused on the Black Country, Worcestershire and Staffordshire.
The 100-mile sportive has also been rebranded to Vélo Birmingham & Midlands. It will take place on Sunday, May 12.
But organisers will be hoping to avoid the negative headlines around the 2017 Vélo. Some residents complained of poor information, lost business due to road closures, and homes encircled by the route. As a result there were reports of cyclists having to dodge razors blades and drawing pins thrown onto roads.
A spokesman for the event said: “Vélo Birmingham was a huge success, with over 30,000 local residents lining the route in support of the riders and over £2 million raised for charity.
“It is well documented there was a small and vocal minority who opposed the event but, on the whole, it was incredibly well received by communities right along the route.
“For the 2019 Vélo Birmingham & Midlands, we will once again be executing a robust business and resident communication strategy which is aimed at raising awareness of the event and the road closures that will be in place on the day.
“As per 2017, we also have an inhouse route team who work tirelessly to help residents and businesses overcome any access issues the road closures may cause on the day. The 2019 route has been developed in partnership with six local authorities and emergency services and has been meticulously planned to ensure it causes the least amount of disruption possible for the West Midlands.
“We are hugely excited about next year’s event and are confident it will be positively embraced by local communities.”
The number of cyclists will increase this year by 2,000 to 17,000 and Vélo said it was aiming to take female participation to 50 per cent by the time the city hosts the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
The 2019 ride will again feature the Business 100 corporate challenge which will aim to attract 100 Midland-based companies to sign up teams of four.
Birmingham City Council leader Ian Ward said: “I am absolutely delighted that this exciting event is returning to Birmingham and the West Midlands and we look forward to welcoming 17,000 cyclists back to our magnificent city.
“Birmingham has a proud history of hosting world-class, large-scale events and the Vélo will be no exception. Events such as this are hugely important, not just in terms of economic benefits to the region and the charity fundraising by those taking part, but also because of the legacy it creates by inspiring people of all ages and abilities to take up cycling, whether for competitive sport, recreation or as a more environmentally friendly way to travel around our city.”
Entries will open on October 4 exclusively to everyone who pre-registers before midnight the day before.