Sport online editor Nancy Frostick previews the upcoming HSBC City Ride event in Birmingham and discusses how the city is embracing cycling
Birmingham will host the first of this summer’s City Ride events run by British Cycling and HSBC UK on 11th June as the city centre opens its streets for a traffic-free ride. The event is the first to time the City Ride has come to Birmingham and is free to attend for cyclists of all ages. As the first of 13 City Ride events that will run in major cities across the country, Birmingham will launch British Cycling’s ambition of increasing the number of people on bikes to two million by 2020 to make cycling the UK’s most popular sporting activity.
The route will take cyclists past some of the city’s most recognisable streets and landmarks, starting off at Victoria Square before heading down Broad Street and past the Symphony Hall and Centenary Square. There will also be a number of family friendly activities on the day such as a cycling obstacle course for younger riders as well as information about local cycling clubs and where to access equipment like bikes and helmets.
Team GB Cycling Team member Helen Scott, who has won gold medals at the Paralympics, Commonwealth and world games is just one of the famous names supporting the event. ‘I spent most of my childhood cycling. I started when I was 11 at Halesowen Cycling Club and I wish I’d had the opportunity to cycle with my family.’ Speaking about the route, Scott added: ‘I grew up just south of Birmingham, so I know the route very well. I still go to concerts with family and friends at the Symphony Hall. It is a fantastic route.’
Other sporting stars that will be in the city for the event include British cycling legend Sir Chris Hoy, who will be starting the ride and will host a Q&A session in the afternoon. The activities don’t end there – you can even take on the Sir Chris Hoy Speed Challenge to test your spring skills, as well as taking a ride on the Street Velodrome in Victoria Square and trying out rickshaws and tandem bikes.
The City Ride events will continue throughout the summer, moving on to Nottingham, Southampton, Newcastle, Sheffield, Manchester, Cardiff, Leicester and Bristol before the final event in Glasgow in August. Launching the event in Birmingham, however, reflects the importance of cycling in the second city as Birmingham City Council continues their eight-year partnership with British Cycling.
The council’s Birmingham Cycle Revolution initiative supports cycling events in the city, as well as the introduction of cycle lanes and the improvement of local cycle routes to encourage participation. Another major cycling event the council are also in partnership with is the Velo Birmingham event in September, which will see up to 15,000 riders cycle a 100 mile route from Birmingham through Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire, Sandwell and Dudley in aid of charity. Both the City Ride and Velo Birmingham events are just part of the wider changes in the relationship between the city and cycling as the council move towards their target of ten per cent of all journeys in the city being made by bike by 2033.
Registration for the City Ride is still open at: https://www.letsride.co.uk/city-ride/birmingham
Content and interview courtesy of British Cycling.