Velo Birmingham and Midlands 2019 Sportive Review

Mathew Mitchell

My name is Mathew Mitchell, 30-something from Staffordshire, UK. Over the last few years I've got more and more into cycling, from the first innocent Sportive events to Audaxes, Go-Races, British Cycling racing and now Time Trials.

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9 Responses

  1. Kate says:

    Nice piece.
    Sounded like a lot of chaos and a lot of challenges.
    Hope the organisers make some changes for the next one.
    Hope you all give it another go despite and because of, the challenges.

    • Kate says:

      Oh – and a big well done to everyone!!!

    • I’m not entirely sure I’ll do another one with so many people. It’s hard to describe the difference between the 17k people at this one at the 15-18k at the Tour of Flanders and Amstel Gold rides – without being disparaging, maybe those sportives are done by a higher percentage of enthusiasts as they’ve always felt safer somehow.

  2. Paul says:

    A good review. I have only been riding for 3 years and that is at Mamil pace but even I was frustrated by a few of my fellow riders. I agree the guide should have explained how to ride in a massive group. Then again, you must have overtaken me at some point so I hope I didn’t slow you down too much!

    • Haha – there’s that fine line between wanting to finish as quickly as possible whilst also being aware that other people are doing exactly the same, just at a different speed! Ultimately we all just want to get home in one piece having enjoyed ourselves 🙂

  3. Ben says:

    I recall 2017 had a guide to use motorway logic and keep left allowing faster riders to pass on the right. I was surprised that wasn’t there this time given the speeds so many of use were carrying. I had bemoaned paying the fast track entry but the roads were so much quieter early on allowing a better (and probably safer) line choice, especially around the 25-30 mile mark where the big crashes happened. And am I the only one who thinks that high fiving kids is a little risky? both for the fact we were moving at in excess of 20mph and they have tiny arms and wrists to be snapped?

    • Obvious other advantage to the fast-track is having your entry posted to you and not having to go into the city twice in two days – not bad if you’re local but even from Stafford it’s a bit of a faff, let alone the people that travelled further to take part.

      I did high-five once or twice last time but if you catch a solid high-five it can definitely throw you off balance (and crash, as I saw!) so I just waved this year.

  4. Shroppy says:

    Good review Matthew thanks. I was well back in Wave 4 and during the day was very concerned with the standard of riding. I’m not speed merchant but reasonable on the hills however this year more & more riders seemed very nervous and twitchy, not holding their line or communicating with each other. The volume of riders certainly didn’t help nor did the lack of clear guidelines or course bottlenecks. Really enjoyed the day though, great to ride on clear roads but thankful to ride within myself and get back (bike & myself) in one piece.

  5. Bourney's mate says:

    I particularly like the article as it comes from the perspective of an avid amateur rider. No journalistic bias, no writing for the masses, no writing for the pay cheque, no airs, no graces, just down to earth writing from a personal point of view. It’s refreshing. Thank you!