Velo Birmingham is set to return in Spring 2019 after a successful inaugural event
Birmingham’s Premier Closed Road Cycle Event
Birmingham is the UK’s second largest city with a population of over one million, expanding to almost three million across the wider West Midlands area.
It is therefore surprising to learn that there are so few sportives available for cyclists in Birmingham. A quick look on the British Cycling website shows just six sportives within a 30km radius of Birmingham (2017). These include; Bike for St Basils, The Swan Cycle Worcestershire Sportive, Tommy Godwin Challenge, Mad March Hare Sportive, The Lapierre Tour of the Black Country and Round the Wrekin.
In addition to these sportives, Bloodwise hold their annual Birmingham Bikeathon in Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham. Unlike the Wirral Bikeathon, the Birmingham event is more akin to a sportive, with a choice of three routes; 26m, 52m or 100m.
It was this tremendous gap for a good sportive in the Birmingham area that led to the first Velo Birmingham event in 2017, giving not only cyclists in the West Midlands area a great cycling event but also those further afield across the UK.
The event organisers aimed to attract 15,000 cyclists on a 100 mile closed road sportive and they achieved this within 4 days of tickets going on sale, despite the higher than normal cost for a sportive.
Velo Birmingham Key Facts
|Name:||Velo Birmingham Sportive||Organiser:||CSM Active Sport|
|Location:||Birmingham, West Midlands||Event Website:||link to event website|
|Date:||Spring 2019||Cost:||£75 or £115|
|Event Type:||Sportive||Start Time:||06:00am onwards|
|Distance:||100m / 160km||Feed Stations:||25m, 50m, 65m, 85m|
|Climbing:||6,000 feet · view climbing profile||Ride Profile:||Closed Roads, flat urban|
|GPS Route:||view route and download GPX||Map:||see below|
It is unclear what has caused the organisers to not repeat the event in 2018, instead favouring a return in 2019, but their announcement of a new route and a date move from September to Spring may give clues.
Some of the information on this page refers to the 2017 event, which is in part to give you a flavour of the previous event and in part because the info for 2019 is yet to be announced.
Following the initial pre-registration period in 2017, around 45,000 cyclists expressed an initial interest, although this was prior to the cost of the event being known. Whilst some cyclists expressed disgust at the high cost of the Sportive, Velo Birmingham sold out it’s full 15,000 capacity within just 4 days.
Pre-Registration for Velo Birmingham in Spring 2019 is now open so you may want to sign-up now
Velo Birmingham 2017
If you signed-up for General Entry (£75), you’ll have to be in Birmingham City Centre the day before the event to collect your Race Pack in person. However, if you opt for the more expensive Fast Track Entry (£115), the Race Pack will be delivered to your home in advance. Fast Track Entry also gives you guaranteed car parking a short cycle away from the start line, plus the opportunity to start in the first three waves of the day. Whether this is worth the additional £40 remains to be seen.
Velo Birmingham Route Map & GPX File : New Route in 2019
If your looking to download the official route map in GPX file format, you can do so from the various links on this page.
If you are looking for details of the Velo Birmingham climbs just click on that link for full details on elevations, gradients and some smart videos based on Google Street View images of the climb.
The 2017 Velo Birmingham starts on Broad Street, in the heart of Birmingham City Centre, and passes through four counties; West Midlands, Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire plus the Borough of Sandwell and Dudley, before returning back into Birmingham.
After the 15,000 cyclists cross the finish line, they will be directed to Velo Birmingham’s official finish venue at the Barclaycard Arena, where they can celebrate their fantastic achievement with fellow riders, friends and family.
Velo Birmingham GPX File
The official GPS download file has now been released and is available to export to your Garmin or other GPS devices.
The GPS files are available to export as GPX files from RidewithGPS, MapMyRide and the official Velo Birmingham website. Just click on the following links to download the GPX file or simply view the route.
There are three Category 5 and one Category 4 climbs on the final route. This gives an overall elevation gain of just over 6,000ft, which taken over 100 miles shouldn’t be too challenging.
The first elevation on the original route came after 26m but following the route change, there’s nothing until 40 miles. The only other ascent of note comes at the 75-mile marker, where you’ll find yourself climbing 800ft (from 100ft to 900ft) steadily until the 90-mile marker. All things considered, this is probably to be classed as a flat route.
Velo Birmingham Route Map
The Velo Birmingham route map clearly shows details of the 100-mile route, which takes in Sandwell & Dudley, Staffordshire, Shropshire, Worcestershire and of course, Birmingham City Centre.
Feed Stations were previously evenly spaced across the 100-mile route but are now slightly imbalanced at mile markers 18, 52, 74 and 86.
Velo Birmingham Charity Places
This year’s Velo Birmingham sportive sold out within 4 days and whilst there are no doubt 15,000 happy cyclists, you might not be one of them. However, don’t despair as you can still participate if you join one of the charity teams, some of which are listed below.
|Velo Birmingham Charity Places|
|Alzheimer’s Society||Cure Leukaemia||NSPCC||Queen Elizabeth Hospital|
|The Alzheimer’s Society support people who live with dementia and also funds research. Dementia directly affects the lives of over 850,000 people in the UK. The charity rely on voluntary contributions to carry on this vital work so joining Alzheimer’s Society Velo Birmingham team will help raise vital funds.||Birmingham based blood cancer charity Cure Leukaemia is helping in the fight against this disease. By cycling with the charity team in this year’s Velo Birmingham, you will help raise much needed funds to help save lives now and in the immediate future.||Using voluntary donations the NSPCC helps children who’ve been abused to rebuild their lives, helps and supports to protect children at risk and finds the best ways of preventing child abuse. So when a child needs a helping hand, the NSPCC will be there.||The Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham Charity supports patients and families at one of the UK’s largest hospitals, including wounded UK military personnel and children with cancer. From groundbreaking research to world-leading cancer equipment, the Charity provides help and support in Birmingham.|
|Entry Fee: £40||Entry Fee: £40||Entry Fee: £40||Entry Fee: £40|
|Sponsorship: £400||Sponsorship: £400||Sponsorship: £400||Sponsorship: £400|
|MORE INFO||MORE INFO||MORE INFO||MORE INFO|
There are numerous reasons for cycling the Velo Birmingham route but joining one of the charity teams and raising sponsorship will generate much need funds for one of these good causes. Places are still available at the time of writing but please check the charity’s own website for the latest information.
Charity packages are available for around £40 which includes entry to the Velo Birmingham event, a cycling jersey and access to pre-event training guides and organised training days. Some of the charities even have plans for celebration dinners. In return, they ask riders to raise at least £400 for the charity.
Velo Birmingham FAQs
What is Velo Birmingham?
Velo Birmingham is a 100-mile closed road cycling sportive that is due to take place on Sept 24, 2017. The event sees 15,000 cyclists ride across four counties on closed roads, something rarely seen for non-professional sporting events.
How much does Velo Birmingham cost?
There are two ticket types, General Entry and Fast Track Entry. The primary difference is that with the Fast Track ticket, you are guaranteed to set off with your friends in the first three waves, especially useful if you don’t want to get stuck behind 15,000 other cyclists. The Rider Packs will also be sent out in advance, meaning you won’t have to collect it in-person, the day before the event. Fast Track entry also gives you access to the car parks near the start, which is pretty useful.
What you have to decide, is if this is worth the extra cost. General Entry tickets are £75 and Fast Track tickets are £115, both are subject to a £3.75 booking fee.
Can I still enter Velo Birmingham 2017?
Yes. Whilst General Entry and Fast Track tickets sold out within four days of going on-sale, there are some charity places still available (see the above section on riding for charity).
What’s the Velo Birmingham route?
The route starts & finishes in Birmingham City Centre and passes through four counties; West Midlands, Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire plus the Borough of Sandwell and Dudley. See the above map and route for full details.
What time does the event start?
Velo Birmingham starts at 7:00am but given that there are 15,000 cyclists, starting times are likely to be staggered over one or two hours. Cyclists paying for the Fast Track Entry should be allocated an earlier starting time.
Where does Velo Birmingham start from?
Velo Birmingham will start from Birmingham Town Hall, which can be found in the heart of Birmingham City Centre. The full address is Victoria Square, Birmingham B3 3DQ.
Are there any Feed Stations on the route?
Yes. There are four feed stations, evenly spread throughout the course. They are situated at the following mile-markers; 25m, 50m, 65m, 85m.
- Bewdley – 25 mile
- Bromyard – 50 mile
- Martley – 65 mile
- Belbroughton – 85 mile
Are the roads closed?
Yes, absolutely. The key feature of this sportive is that the roads are closed, all 100-miles of them!
Does Velo Birmingham have any climbs?
The overall elevation gain is 6,500 feet over the 100 mile route, which equates to a pretty flat circuit. However, this does include several Cat 3 & Cat 5 climbs, plus one Cat 4. The main climbs are;
- Cat 3 – Abberley (600 ft) · max 8%
- Cat 3 – Hanley William (800 ft) · max 11%
- Cat 5 – Clifton upon Teme (650 ft) · max 5%
- Cat 4 – Clent (850 ft) · max 6%
How long will it take to cycle the Velo Birmingham route?
It depends on how fast you cycle! Time is going to vary from cyclist to cyclist, and also how long you spend in the feed stations. Here’s a quick guide for you to work out how long it may take you to cycle the whole route.
|Average Speed||Non-Stop Time||Time at Feed Stations||Total Time|
|Pro||25 mph||4 hrs||None||4 hrs|
|Fast||23 mph||4 hrs, 20 mins||20 mins||4 hrs, 40 mins|
|Gold||20 mph||5 hrs||30 mins||5 hrs, 30 mins|
|Silver||18 mph||5 hrs, 30 mins||40 mins||6 hrs, 10 mins|
|Bronze||16 mph||6 hrs, 15 mins||45 mins||7 hrs|
|Leisure||14 mph||7 hrs, 10 mins||50 mins||8 hrs|
|Fun||12 mph||8 hrs, 20 mins||60 mins||9 hrs, 20 mins|
Is there a cut-off time?
Yes there is. Riders will be given staggered start times and the last rider to cross the start line will have to average 12mph to cover the 100 miles in 8.5hrs. However, this time includes all stops, whether at the feed stations or simply for a quick rest.
Velo Birmingham will be using a Pace Car to follow behind cyclists who are at the rear of the pack. Riders who are caught by the Pace Car and where the driver feels that you won’t be able to maintain the average speed for the remainder of the ride, will be asked to get into the Pace Car, which will take you back to the Start / Finish venue.
There will be a number of official Domestiques doing all they can to help riders stay in front of the Pace Car. To help you keep ahead of the pace car, you will need to have left each Feed Station by the following times:
- Pit Stop 1: 10:40am
- Pit Stop 2: 1:00pm
- Pit Stop 3: 2:30pm
- Pit Stop 4: 4:30pm
Velo Birmingham on Social Media
Backed by CSM Active, Velo Birmingham is well represented on the primary social networks, so keeping up to date with news shouldn’t be difficult – just choose your preferred social media.
Velo Birmingham in the News
Velo Birmingham was soft launched (marketing speak for a low-key teaser campaign) online in September 2016. Despite the low-key approach, word spread quickly and cyclists across the UK were quick to pre-register for this event.
The teaser launch saw a phenomenal response from cyclists with
The formal launch of Velo Birmingham appropriately took place at the Birmingham NEC Cycle Show on September 22. Details of the event were announced by various keynote speakers, including;
- Martin Johnson – England rugby legend and former World Cup winner
- Ian Ward – Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council
- Jon Ridgeon – former international athlete & Executive Chairman of CSM Active (event organisers)