New route for 100-mile cy­cle ride across re­gion Or­gan­iser shakes up Vélo event fol­low­ing com­plaints in 2017

Birmingham Post - - NEWS - Tam­lyn Jones Staff Re­porter

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.

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