Birmingham has become the second major British city to cancel its mass participation Sky Ride – although unlike Edinburgh, which is focusing instead on racing with the ultimate aim of attracting the Tour de France, it’s hoped the mass participation event will return to the West Midlands city next year.
According to the Birmingham Mail, the Sky Ride will not take place this year because the council has been unable to find a suitable date on the calendar to close the city’s streets to traffic for the 18,000 cyclists who would have taken part.
Birmingham City Council said in a statement: “This year we have had difficulties in securing a date and a suitable route so we have regrettably had to withdraw from the 2014 Sky Ride Event.
"Our partnership with British Cycling is particularly important as cycling is one of our identified priority sports.
"We are working with them to establish a new route and date for the Sky Ride event in 2015."
A Sky Ride will be held in towns and cities including Manchester, Newcastle/Gateshead, Sheffield, Southampton and Coventry – the closest such event to Birmingham – this year.
According to the Birmingham Mail, the decision to scrap the event in the city this year was greeted with disappointment by members of the BirminghamCyclist.com forum.
One, referring to the city’s successful bid last year for £17 million in Cycle City Ambition funding from the government last year, said: "How can an organisation that can't organise a Sunday bike ride, be expected to deliver a cycling revolution?"
The newspaper pointed out that there will be other cycle events in the city this year, such as a Vintage Ride on 22 June and the Birmingham Bikeathon for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research on 21 September, the latter with up to 3,000 particpants, although neither will be on closed roads.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.