Birmingham's largest ever charity bike ride launched

By on 23/04/2014 in Culture, News

More than 3,000 cyclists will hit the streets of Birmingham later this year following the announcement of a brand new, large-scale charity cycling event, by blood cancer charity Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research.

The inaugural Birmingham Bikeathon - the largest charity cycle ride ever to be hosted by the city – will take place on Sunday 21 September, offering anyone with a bike the opportunity to take to the saddle and raise funds to beat blood cancer.

With the full support of Birmingham City Council, riders can choose to cycle one of the three routes on offer (26 miles, 52 miles or 100 miles), starting and finishing in iconic Centenary Square. Broad Street will be closed to traffic for the whole day, allowing participants and spectators to come together as a community and experience the unique carnival atmosphere.  And the council hopes the event will help to get residents more active too.

Birmingham celebrity and Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research ambassador Geoff Thomas, who survived leukaemia, has urged his fellow residents to get on their bikes. The former England and Wolves footballer says: “Birmingham is really special to me. I will always be eternally thankful to the doctors and nurses at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham as their skills and care helped me win my battle against blood cancer. The Birmingham Bikeathon will not only help fund crucial research but also highlight the important role that Birmingham plays in our fight to beat blood cancer.”

Birmingham is central to the life-saving work carried out by Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research. Currently, the charity has £13.4million invested in 29 different blood cancer research projects and clinical drugs trials in the city.

The University of Birmingham coordinates the charity's innovative Trials Acceleration Programme, which works to improve access to new drug treatments for blood cancer patients via a network of 13 hospitals across the country.

Gavin Bendle, a Birmingham University researcher whose work is funded by Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, says: “Our work in Birmingham will ultimately mean that more patients with blood cancers can benefit from the exciting discoveries that we are making from clinical trials. The critical role that the charity plays in funding the research in Birmingham is one of the reasons why I will be taking part in the Bikeathon.”

Mark Wilson, Director of Fundraising at Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, adds: “We are excited to be launching such a unique cycling event in a city that continues to be so integral to the work that we do as a charity. We look forward to seeing the streets of Birmingham full with riders having a great day out, and in doing so, raising money to help us achieve so much more for blood cancer patients.”

For more information and to sign up, visit birminghambikeathon.org.uk

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For more media information contact Debbie Harrison on 0121 303 4476

Notes to editors

Birmingham City Council is doing a lot to encourage cycling in the city.

Birmingham Cycle Revolution is a major initiative led by Birmingham City Council to increase cycling in the city.

A team of consultants, led by WSP (and including Peter Brett Associates LLP, Grontmij, and Steer Davies Gleave) has been appointed to lead the delivery of the project, working closely with BCC and other key partners (such as the Canal and River Trust).

The aim of the project is to make cycling an everyday form of transport over the next 20 years.  Currently, around 2% of trips in the city are by bike.  We want 5% of all trips to be made by bicycle by 2023 and to double this again to 10% by 2033.

This revolution will help to make Birmingham a greener, safer, less congested and healthier place to live.

To achieve this, Birmingham City Council secured a £17million from the Government's Cycle City Ambition Fund announce in August 2013 , topped up to £24.3million from other sources, to support an intensive programme of cycling improvements.

This funding will be used initially to improve the cycling network within a 20 minute cycling time from Birmingham city centre, providing 95km of improvements to existing cycle routes and 115km of new routes.

This funding will be used to build new cycle lanes on popular commuter routes into the city centre, upgrade tow paths on canals, introduce “green routes” through parks, introduce 20mph speed limits within residential areas, provide secure cycle parking hubs and develop cycle loan and hire schemes (including Big Birmingham Bikes).

Work on the Birmingham Cycle Revolution has already started.  Improvements started on our canals (led by the Canal and River Trust) and green routes, and on-road cycle routes are currently being designed and will be consulted on throughout the Spring and Summer 2014.

For more information on the Birmingham Cycle Revolution, visit: www.birmingham.gov.uk/bcr or contact cycling@birmingham.gov.uk

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