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.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.