Coronavirus hits mass cycling event due to start from Westside

The Velo Birmingham & Midlands 2020 cycle ride, which was due to set off from Centenary Square on 21 June, has been cancelled as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak.

The annual event, which comprises separate 100 mile and 45 mile routes, had attracted 18,000 cyclists, with the start line set for outside Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, before finishing at Five Ways on the other side of the BID area.

A statement issued today by the Velo organisers said: “It is with a heavy heart that we announce the cancellation of Vélo Birmingham & Midlands 2020. The event was due to take place on 21 June, at which time we are still likely to be significantly impacted by the current Coronavirus outbreak.

“HM Government are strongly advising against mass gatherings and non-essential travel.

“Even if it is possible that the situation may have improved by 21 June (which seems far from certain), working restrictions and self-isolation recommendations mean that we are simply unable to complete the work necessary in the next few weeks to ensure that the event could proceed safely and with minimum support from and/or disruption to local emergency services.

“Their vital work is rightly focused on supporting public health needs through these exceptional circumstances.

“We have put our heart and soul into making this year’s event bigger and better than before and we know that you will share our huge disappointment at this news.

“We know how hard you have trained, how much you have supported our incredible charity partners and your own special causes, and how much you were looking forward to the big day.”

The statement said it was not possible to postpone the event till later in the year due to the sheer scale of Vélo Birmingham & Midlands, which involves 100 miles of road closures across seven different local authorities.

Organisers also apologised for not being able to refund entry fees as event cancellation insurance does not cover the COVID-19 outbreak, and they had already committed a huge amount of costs towards this year’s event which are now unrecoverable.

“We are currently doing everything we can to try and navigate our way through this incredibly challenging period to give ourselves the very best chance of bringing the event back in 2021.” More details at www.velobirmingham.com/read-our-statement

By Tony Collins.

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