Velo Birmingham set to become the premier cycling event in Birmingham on September 24, 2017
Birmingham’s Premier 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. 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.
There is a tremendous gap for a good sportive in the Birmingham area and Velo Birmingham looks set to not only provide West Midlands cyclists with a great cycling event but also reach out to cyclists 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 high cost.
Velo Birmingham Key Facts
|Name:||Velo Birmingham Sportive||Organiser:||CSM Active Sport|
|Location:||Birmingham, West Midlands||Event Website:||link to event website|
|Date:||Sept 24, 2017||Cost:||£75 or £115|
|Event Type:||Sportive||Start Time:||7:00am onwards|
|Distance:||100m / 160km||Feed Stations:||25m, 50m, 65m, 85m|
|Climbing:||6,500 feet||Ride Profile:||Closed Roads, flat urban|
|GPS Route:||see below for GPX & TCX files||Map:||see below or click for map|
Details are starting to emerge following the event launch, although an official route map and GPX / TCX files aren’t yet available to download. Following the initial pre-registration period, 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.
The date of Velo Birmingham is now confirmed as Sept 24, 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, TCX, GPS Files
It’s far too early to be looking for detailed route maps or to download GPX / TCX files but you can be assured that this is where you’ll find them when they are available.
Like we do for other sportives, we’ll be publishing full route details, maps and links to Strava and/or RidewithGPS for the GPX and TCX files.
Just because there’s no official detail maps or routes yet, that doesn’t stop us looking at what we do know. The route will of course start & finish in Birmingham City Centre, it will also pass through four counties; West Midlands, Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire plus the Borough of Sandwell and Dudley.
Velo Birmingham GPX, TCX Files
The official GPS download files aren’t currently available to export to your Garmin or other GPS devices but we’ve created an unofficial file.
We used the official map below to map a route on the most popular tracking software websites so you can view the possible route and see the likely elevation gain across the route.
As you will see, the route is slightly above the official 100-mile route, which may or may not end up being the final official distance. We’ll update this page once we have the official GPS file.
The GPS files are available to export as GPX or TCX files from Strava, RidewithGPS, Garmin Connect and MapMyRide. Just click on the following links to download or view the route.
- Strava – Download Velo Birmingham Route as GPX or TCX file
- Garmin Connect – Download Velo Birmingham Route as GPX or TCX file
- RidewithGPS – Download Velo Birmingham Route as GPX or TCX file
- MapMyRide – Download Velo Birmingham Route as GPX or TCX file
If we are close to mapping an accurate route, there will be three Category 3, one Category 4 and three Category 5 climbs. This gives an overall elevation gain of over 6,000ft.
Velo Birmingham Route Map
This route map was announced at the official launch on Sept 22, 2016 and gives a broad outline of the 100-mile route. Click on the map to enlarge it.
After leaving Birmingham City Centre, riders head west towards Wyre Forest National Nature Reserve, passing through Halesowen and crossing the River Severn, before arriving in Bewdley and the first feed station.
This first stop is strategically placed to give cyclists a quick breather after their first one-to-two hours’ effort and before the first lump of the day at the 30-mile marker. This is closely followed by the second hill of the route and the highest point of the day at around 800ft.
The route then heads south-west towards Herefordshire and crosses the River Teme before travelling through Upper Rochford and onto the second feed station just before the 50-mile marker at Bromyard.
The next section is predominantly flat, albeit with an attractive downhill element and a short uphill climb after 60-miles. For those that need another stop, the third feed station is to be found around the 65-mile marker.
From here, cyclists are likely to be a little more spread-out than the early stages of the ride and whilst the 65m to 85m section is flat, it’s the proverbial challenging section, also known as the KoM / QoM. Immediately after this climb is the fourth and final feed station of the day.
Once refreshed, there is a short downhill section of around 10 miles to the finish and the accolades of friends, family and well-wishers to absorb.
Velo Birmingham FAQs
What is Velo Birmingham?
Velo Birmingham is a 100-mile 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 2016?
No. Tickets sold out within four days of going on-sale.
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|
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 [quote] “tens of thousands of pre-registrations” and all that was known at that stage was that it is a 100-mile sportive, on closed roads, in the Birmingham area. The reaction from the organisers was one of elation and delight.
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)