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Thousands are riding Birmingham Velo - but not everyone's happy

By Alex Ross | South Staffordshire | News | Published: | Last Updated:

The Velo Birmingham bike ride is taking place today – but it does not come without disturbance to businesses along the 100-mile route.

Scroll down for a full map of Sunday's road closures

Around 15,000 riders are travelling through Sandwell, Dudley, South Staffordshire and Worcestershire as part of the ride, which began in Birmingham at 6.30am.

Road closures are in place (see map below) and organisers have sent out 250,000 letters to residents and businesses along the route.

But that has not stopped disgruntlement from people ahead of the event.

Halfpenny Green Vineyards owner Martin Vickers has put back opening from 9am to 2pm.

Sundays are one of the vineyard's busiest days and the closure means losing vital weekend trade at its tearooms and craft shops.

The Red Lion has also pushed Sunday opening back from 12noon to 2pm as the road outside, Six Ashes Road, is closed until 1.30pm.

And Enville Post Office, which is usually open from 8.30am to 10.30am for deliveries and newspaper sales, is shut for the day.

Details of road closures in place for the event, which starts in Birmingham at 6.30am

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Emma Powell, head of housekeeping at The Red Lion Hotel, said: "I know it is for charity, but the fact it is putting everyone else in a mile radios of the route at inconvenience.

"I have got friends who have got work at a hospital but have to leave an hour earlier so they do not get trapped.

"I wish they would just do it somewhere else."

John Crofts-Vineh, partner owner at Enville Post Office on the Bridgnorth Road, said: "They have shut me down for the day.

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"The road closures make it impossible for us to deliver papers, so 100 retail customers and four nursing homes will be without their Sunday papers.

"The worst thing was they told me to deliver my papers on Saturday instead."

Jon Ridgeon, chairman of organisers CSM, said: “I have absolute sympathy for the people inconvenienced. I don’t for a moment ignore that. The reality is a big event like this will cause that.

"We have worked at finding solutions to access issues. We have often succeeded but not in every case. Have we learned lots of lessons for when hopefully we do it again next year? Yes, we will do even more.

“We have thrown a lot at it. Year one big events are always the toughest. I am convinced the vast majority of people after Sunday will feel in balance it is a good event. All we can do now is stage a good event and hope people see the positives."

The event chiefs expect to raise between £1 and £2 million for the four main charities – Cure Leukaemia, NSPCC, Alzheimer’s Society, Queen Elizabeth Hospital – while other riders are representing a number of different charities.

Alex Ross

By Alex Ross
@alexross_star

Chief Reporter at the Express & Star. Everyone has a story - tell me yours.

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