On Sunday September 24 2017, 15,000 riders lined up in the heart of Birmingham city centre to take part in the first ever Vélo Birmingham – a brand new, fully closed road 100 mile sportive that took riders on an unforgettable through the spectacular Midlands countryside.
The event was the first cycling event delivered by the Active team at CSM. Starting from scratch with no brand awareness, data or existing active audiences, through the successful implementation of an impactful marketing campaign, the event sold out within just three days. Overnight, Vélo Birmingham became the UK’s second biggest closed road sportive.
The spectacular 100 mile closed road Vélo Birmingham route was a long time in the planning and was only achieved through the important partnerships with five local authorities, emergency services and transport operators. Moreover, the Active team also succeeded in engaging the communities right along the route to come out and support the riders:
“The crowds, the cheering and the support was phenomenal. Amazing. Out of this world. Every town and village right along the route had people lining the streets, clanging cowbells, blowing vuvuzelas and bugles, waving flags and roaring you on. Vélo Birmingham was probably the nearest I'll ever get to experiencing the support the pro riders receive in the Tour of Britain - and I absolutely loved the adoration.” – 2017 rider
Vélo Birmingham also proved to be an extremely powerful charity fundraising platform. Their four gold charities – Cure Leukaemia, Alzheimer’s Society, Queen Elizabeth Hospital Charity Birmingham and NSPCC – along with many other official and non-official charities will receive an estimated £2 million raised by cyclists taking part on their behalf.
Among those crossing the Broad Street finish line was England Rugby World Cup-winning captain and Vélo Birmingham Ambassador Martin Johnson, who described the event as ‘great for the Midlands’. Martin took part in the event’s Business 100 challenge, which saw over 100 companies take part in the event in teams of four. It’s anticipated that the Business 100 challenge will raise over £100,000 for good causes.
Jon Ridgeon, Executive Chairman of CSM Active, said: “We would like to thank all of our Local Authority partners for helping us make the first ever Vélo Birmingham a truly unforgettable event for the Midlands. Vélo Birmingham will return next year and we have no doubt that it will be even more exceptional than the inaugural edition.
“This event has the potential to be one of the world’s most iconic cycling events, a stalwart event in the British sporting calendar and a fantastic shop window for the Midlands and we look forward to working with our Local Authority partners to help make this vision a reality.”