Vélo Birmingham...the locals are getting angry!

Discussion in 'Sportives' started by bianchi1, 30 Mar 2017.

  1. bianchi1

    bianchi1 Veteran

    This report just popped up on my local paper website;


    Surprisingly in the 80 (as I type) comments there are only 1 or 2 that seem to hate cyclists, while the rest seem to make the valid point that the full road closures are going to cause a lot of disruption for residents and business in order that the company running the event can make some cash and hotels in Birmingham will be full.

    Has anyone had any experiences of similar rides (ride London?) that they could share?
  2. S-Express

    S-Express Guest

    All I would say is that closed road sportives are an utterly pointless waste of resources.
    Dirk, Afnug, mustang1 and 3 others like this.
  3. The Ride London 100, is only 1 part of a full 2 day 'festival of cycling' the Freeride on Saturday, the Brompton World Cup, the Classique, and the women's racing, are all included. The majority of people Ive spoken to, really don't give a monkeys, if certain bits of London are closed off on the Saturday and Sunday. It brings in a shed load of cash, for all sorts of businesses and charities, so although there are a ( relatively very small) number of dissenting voices, the vast majority think it's a good thing. The support I've encountered, from completely random strangers, on the route, has been noticeable. There has even been a carnival atmosphere in some of the towns and villages en route. I guess Birmingham will be similar.
  4. Rooster1

    Rooster1 I was right about that saddle

    There used to be a closed road triathlon near me up until 2015 or 16, for the cycling part of the race. The locals complained so much the organisers left and took their race elsewhere. The locals cited that it brought no additional benefit or income before and during the event, in fact they claimed it decreased footfall and revenue.
  5. mjr

    mjr Comfy armchair to one person & a plank to the next

    I think that's a big assumption. London-Surrey seems to have big support from local government in London and Surrey helping to catalyse commercial support for these events and a charitable arm funding community projects from the profits. Velo Birmingham seems to be lacking the independent charitable arm, preferring a smaller number of charity partners, which means any community not strongly connected to those few charities may feel like they're not getting anything.

    Looking at the two pubs in the article:

    "Lee Ball, the owner of The King's Arms, in Ombersley, says the village will be cut off. He says customers arriving via the A449 will be unable to leave as the A443 and a nearby roundabout leading to all exit routes will be closed from 7.30am to 4.30pm."

    Errr, won't they just operate the roundabout as a marshalled crossing (crossing opened during gaps in cyclists, possibly created artificially by having a moto-marshal pace the riders) like Ride London does similar situations?

    It's only the south end of the village that would have no exit... the north end would have no entry. Ombersley seems to have a flyover on one road, so it's probably going to be one of the villages least affected by the closures. I wonder how they handle it when that central roundabout gets resurfaced - contraflows on the entry/exits from the flyover road?

    "Sue Law, who owns the Holt Fleet pub in Holt Heath, near Worcester, said: We will have to close. The staff can't get here. We can't even get out ourselves to go out on the day."

    They're next to the bleeding Severn, with towpaths both way (gravel track but should be OK in summer), or the footways alongside will presumably still be open. If even staff won't park on nearby open roads and walk 400m to the pub, that sounds like a pretty poor pub!

    They could even put an event on to make it more attractive to go anyway or encourage people use it as a base to watch the spectacle... but no, it's easier to moan - welcome to Little Britain, there's nothing for you here (to mix my memes).
    Joffey likes this.
  6. mjr

    mjr Comfy armchair to one person & a plank to the next

    Also, the Freecycle-style ride seems to have vanished from the VeloBirmingham site, along with all other pages about how the BikeFest details will be announced soon and so on. www.birminghambikefest.com now redirects to https://velobirmingham.com/bikefest/ which is a 404 Not Found... including a link to itself :wacko:

    I doubted whether they'd get attract anything like the 70,000+ riders that ride the landmark-stuffed London Freecycle route anyway - Victoria Square area is quite good and then there's the Bull Ring area, but it's still not exactly the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, Strand, Waterloo Bridge, St Paul's, Bank, Guildhall and Embankment, is it? And even then, I'm missing tons of landmarks out and there's good racing on the Saturday evening too - the London Freecycle is worth it as a standalone event so people do (I have) just visit for the day from 100 miles away.

    What was the attendance and family route like for the 2015 and 2016 Birmingham BikeFests?
  7. User33236

    User33236 Guest

    Velothon Wales met with a lot of resistance from the locals in it's first year with some taking action by spreading tacks on the route.
  8. Dogtrousers

    Dogtrousers Kilometre nibbler

    A friend of mine runs a business in Surrey and is not entirely overjoyed that his clients can't get to his business on that day. But nothing beyond a bit of grumbling. I can see his point.

    Velo Wales has in the past raised a significant amount of grumbling, I remember the owner of a garden centre making the point that they would lose a day's takings, business that would likely go to competitors rather than be deferred, during a busy time. Also, I've seen the point made that while Cardiff may have pulled in visitors who spend money, out on the route in places like Pontypool and Newbridge where the road that's closed may the only road, no one stops, riders zoom through, no one gets any extra business and all they get is inconvenience.

    I have mixed feelings about closed roads sportives (and racing) in this country. Unlike, say, France where everyone loves it when the Tour comes to their town (and success breeds success), they are as much likely to build up resentment to cycling as they are to grow it as an activity. That said, I did Velo Wales year before last and it was very enjoyable. But being a miserable bugger I think I personally prefer my solo bimbling round Kent on proper roads, duking it out with the Range Rovers.
    Pale Rider and NorthernDave like this.
  9. My tyres are like a shield of steel.
    Milkfloat likes this.
  10. mjr

    mjr Comfy armchair to one person & a plank to the next

    I can't - it's a massive opportunity for some businesses on the route, while for others, it's nothing worse than rescheduling the week with more client visits on other days to compensate for none on that one, just like if too many people were away that day or there were planned water main repairs or similar.

    That's a failure in at least three ways: firstly, if there's no Velothon Wales Charity Trust spending a portion of the profits in places like Pontypool and Newbridge; secondly, if there's no-one putting on festivals to draw in the crowds in places like Pontypool and Newbridge like there are in places like Dorking and Wimbledon along the route of RideLondon - no riders stop there either, but they seem to be doing extra business; and finally, Pontypool is only 30minutes away from Cardiff by train - people stay in hotels much further away than that for RL!

    I don't. I'm still not doing any sportives until they stop the plastic hat theatre and introduce more real safety measures, but I think most (but not all) of the "waaah, my business will fail because of a part-day road closure" directed at them is prejudiced scapegoating.
  11. Dogtrousers

    Dogtrousers Kilometre nibbler

    I did stop to pick up a couple of Lion bars and a bottle of water in a shop near Pontypool. So I did my bit. S Wales is much more sparsely populated than SE England so I think the idea of a festival is something of a folorn hope. As is the idea of someone thinking "I want to go to Cardiff. I know, I really must stay in Pontypool" (no offence meant to the residents of Pontypool).

    "Prejudiced scapegoating" is a bit of a grand phrase. I'm not entirely sure what it means, but it looks good.

    I think if someone imposes a constraint on a business that blocks off the regular custom for a day, with no recompense, the operators are entitled to bellyache, and it's not very surprising if they regard the imposers of that constraint with some resentment.
    mjr likes this.
  12. mjr

    mjr Comfy armchair to one person & a plank to the next

    Really? I've already stayed in Cardiff a few times over the years - it's the Welsh capital and I expect lots of people have. I'd quite happily go stay somewhere like Pontypool, especially if a hotelier there made it look a welcoming and easier or more fun option than the usual bike-friendly chains in Cardiff somehow.

    Thanks, although I'm still prouder of https://www.cyclechat.net/posts/4538393/ - I was trying to convey that they already hate bikes or people riding bikes, so they're blaming the event preemptively for their own failure to make their business react successfully to being on the route.
    Dogtrousers likes this.
  13. Dogtrousers

    Dogtrousers Kilometre nibbler

    Yeah. I see what you mean, but I think much of it is just grumbling at anything (bikes, water main works) that gets in the way. No previous hatred for bikes required. I think it's inevitable, and the organisers have to be darn careful that what they thought would be a (very profitable) celebration of cycling, with lots of happy people tootling around grinning stupidly doesn't turn into a festival of disgruntled garden centre managers waving pitchforks.

    (The thing you linked is off limits to me. Probably the political shouting forum? Or maybe the hats shouting forum)
  14. kingrollo

    kingrollo Über Member

    If there had been consultation the event would never have happened.
    I have heard from someone at Birmingham council, that this could be a one off event.
  15. mjr

    mjr Comfy armchair to one person & a plank to the next

    That's a very pessimistic attitude. Who are these people talking Birmingham down, saying we can't make a success of it like other countries do? ;)
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