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Birmingham Sky Ride cancelled for second year running

Ashes cricket and redevelopment works to blame for shelving mass participation event, says council

There will be no Sky Ride in Birmingham this year, the second year in a row the closed-road event will not be held. That’s despite the city’s council saying in May last year when it cancelled the 2014 edition that it hoped to bring the mass participation ride back this year.

According to the Birmingham Post, the council says it is impossible to stage the event, hosted in partnership with British Cycling, due to a potential clash with the Ashes test match at Edgbaston as well as redevelopment work taking place in the city.

The newspaper adds that the council’s deputy leader, Ian Ward, will be holding meetings in the coming weeks to consider possible future mass participation bike rides.

Those include the Leukaemia & Lymphona Research Birmingham Bikeathon, which took place last September.

With the council having already received £17 million in Cycle City Ambition funding for its Birmingham Cycle Revolution initiative from the Department for Transport, campaigners have expressed disappointment that the Sky Ride will not return.

Local cycle campaign group Push Bike’s chairman, Chris Lowe, said: "It is very disappointing especially with so much money being spent in the city as part of the Birmingham Cycle Revolution.

"It would have been an excellent opportunity to showcase cycling in the city in conjunction with the new cycle network. I would call on the council to stage its own event.

"I think it is very important with the money that has been invested in cycling in the city that these large cycle events are staged. The more people we can attract to cycling the better."

Professor David Cox, who chairs national cyclists’ charity CTC and is a former chair of South Birmingham Primary Care Trust, said: "I understand Birmingham will not be one of the cities across the UK which will be staging a Sky Ride in 2015.

“It is disappointing. Events like this are great for raising the profile of cycling and getting lots of people to take part."

A council spokesman said: "A significant amount of effort went into trying to find a suitable date for the Birmingham Sky Ride last year, however, we encountered a range of difficulties which regrettably led to withdrawing from the 2014 series.

"The series has no doubt become very popular nationally and a number of the core cities now have regular calendar dates.

"When this factor is combined with Birmingham's extensive event programme, we are left with a small window of opportunity.

“To further compound this issue, matching a ‘suitable’ route to the remaining available dates is extremely complicated," he added, explaining that cricket fixtures at Edgbaston meant it was “difficult for us to confirm the use of these roads well in advance.”

The inaugural Birmingham Sky Ride took place in 2010 with 15,000 people taking part including supermodel Erin O’Connor and former world BMX champion, Liam Phillips.

It returned for three more editions prior to last year’s cancellation, with the last event in 2013 attended by double Olympic gold medallist Laura Trott and attended by 18,000 riders.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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