Category : Big Birmingham Bikes

Air Quality on Clean Air Day

What our air quality looks like

To mark this day, additionally to events and workshops in and around our schools, Active Communities planned an air quality relay using it’s Air Quality Monitors with the aim of mapping air quality in as much of the city as possible. The aim was be to get as many people to use the air quality monitors as possible in a single day to increase the data available.


Active Communities Across South Birmingham & Solihull

Active Communities in Handsworth, Lozells and Aston

Clean Air – more than a Zone or a Day

Let’s Ride!

British Cycling and HSBC UK to provide over 600 bikes to children in disadvantaged communities in Birmingham

Olympic cyclist and West Midlands Cycling and Walking Ambassador, Shanaze Reade, hands over first free bikes to local children as part of scheme to encourage cycling.

A programme that will help hundreds of children from across Birmingham onto two wheels by providing free bikes and equipment, has been launched by HSBC UK and British Cycling, alongside The Active Wellbeing Society.

The programme aims to reach children within the top 10% most disadvantaged communities of the city, to ensure that, regardless of their background, children have access to a bike and can embrace the joys and health benefits of cycling.

This programme comes hot on the heels of the successful Velo Birmingham and Midlands event where 17,000 people rode up to 100 miles, and in advance of the Birmingham Lets Ride event that will see a 4km route around Birmingham City.

The Big Birmingham Bikes programme is being rolled out to children aged 15 or under A Bikeability session will be running for pupils and recipients of the first tranche of bikes being given out.

The scheme, which is funded by HSBC UK and British Cycling, is delivered by The Active Wellbeing Society and will provide hundreds of children aged 15 or under. In and around Birmingham with the basics to get them onto two wheels; a bike, helmet and a pump.

Shanaze Reade, Olympian and cycling world champion and West Midlands Cycling and Walking Ambassador said: “Initiatives like this are fundamental to ensuring that children – regardless of who they are or where they come from – are given the opportunity to learn how to cycle.

“It’s easy to forget that a lot of kids simply don’t have access to a bike and schemes like this help to break down these barriers and ensure that cycling is something that can be enjoyed by all, no matter what your background.

“There are so many benefits to riding a bike – from physical and mental health, to the environment – and by providing hundreds of free bikes and equipment to children across the city, HSBC UK and British Cycling are contributing towards a healthier, fitter and greener nation which is something that should be applauded.”

Luke Harper, HSBC UK’s Head of the British Cycling partnership said: “Our partnership with British Cycling is particularly focused on grassroots participation, encouraging and supporting communities, colleagues and customers to get onto two wheels, contributing to greener, fitter, healthier Britain. This fantastic scheme that will make a real difference to youngsters in disadvantaged communities in Birmingham who might not have the opportunity to own a bike of their own.”

Nick Hayes, Head of Commercial Partnerships at British Cycling, said: “Our partnership with HSBC UK intends to make a real impact on society and ultimately create a shift in culture towards a greener, fitter healthier nation. This initiative in Birmingham will ensure that 500 bikes are given to children at schools and communities in some of the most deprived areas of the city and is a shining example of those values coming to life.”

“In a year where Yorkshire is set to host the UK’s biggest sporting event of the year – the UCI Road World Championships – we want to ensure that every child in Britain, regardless of their background, is given the opportunity to ride a bike. And this programme is just one of the ways that we will make this happen.”

Karen Creavin, Chief Executive at The Active Wellbeing Society said “The Active Wellbeing Society has established networks of community cycle collaboration in the most deprived communities throughout Birmingham, working hard to build a pathway for children and families to get into cycling. We aim to improve the health and wellbeing of children, young people and families by removing the barriers that prevent them being active and we aim to particularly encourage uptake from the communities in most need. We are delighted to work with HSBC UK and British Cycling to bring this vital project to life, and we look forward to lots more people in our city enjoying the freedom and joy of riding a bike”.

Bike Banks will be free to use for anyone aged 15 and under (with parent or guardian’s consent).

For more about Bike Banks contact

20th May 2019  |  Adeel Khan


HSBC UK Let’s Ride Birmingham is taking place on Sunday 9 June and everyone is invited!

British Cycling and HSBC UK are closing the roads to traffic in 14 city centres throughout Britain this summer and throwing FREE cycling festivals for everyone.

It’s totally free to take part, you get to see your city from the saddle and it’s a fun, active day out for the whole family! Think stunt shows, street food and endless family-friendly activities.

You don’t have to do the full distance – just as much or as little as you want. You don’t need to be an experienced cyclist. There will be no cars on the road, so you can wobble, zig-zag and stop as much as you like. 

You don’t even need a bike as free bike hire is available through The Active Wellbeing Society. For more information on how to hire your bike for the day, please visit …

You can register your free places at

We look forward to seeing you on the day!

14th May 2019  |  Adeel Khan

Brum residents who break cyclist mould gearing up for gruelling 100-mile challenge

  • 25 community club cyclists offered free Vélo Birmingham & Midlands places
  • Women from Saheli Hub are also set to ride ten-mile stretch during Ramadan
  • Vélo B&M has teamed up with The Active Wellbeing Society and Cycling UK
  • Organisers committed to making sportive one of Europe’s most inclusive events

A diverse group of Birmingham residents, many of whom break the cyclist mould, will attempt to complete Vélo Birmingham & Midlands, a 100-mile closed-road sportive, thanks to a partnership with The Active Wellbeing Society and Cycling UK.

Twenty-five members of community cycling clubs, set up around the Second City by The Active Wellbeing Society and national cycling charity Cycling UK to get more people on bikes, have been offered free entries by the organisers of Vélo Birmingham & Midlands, the UK’s second-biggest closed-road event taking place on Sunday, May 12.

In addition, 18 members of the Saheli Hub, formerly known as the Saheli Women’s Group, have been given the green light to ride ten miles of the route, which starts and finishes in Birmingham City Centre, as the event coincides with Ramadan.

The organisers of Vélo Birmingham & Midlands’ commitment to making the sportive one of Europe’s biggest and most inclusive cycling events is reinforced by its partnership with The Active Wellbeing Society and Birmingham City Council, which offers community cycling club members access to free bikes through its Big Birmingham Bikes scheme.

The new-and-improved route will take cyclists on an unforgettable journey through the heart of Coventry, the 2021 Capital of Culture, plus Solihull, Warwickshire, Dudley and Sandwell, where they will encounter stunning countryside, panoramic views, picturesque villages, iconic climbs and tens of thousands of residents lining the streets to cheer them on.

Organisers are also aiming to make the event one of the UK’s most female friendly sportives, setting the ambitious target of increasing the number of women taking part to 50 per cent by the time Birmingham hosts the Commonwealth Games in 2022. More information on the campaign can be found here.

While all 17,000 places for the 100-mile event have sold out, spaces still remain for a shorter 42-mile route which starts in Birmingham City Centre and finishes in the shadow of the historic Coventry Cathedral, on University Square.

The Saheli Hub runs female-only cycling activities, for women of all ages and backgrounds, in Balsall Heath, Ward End Park, Saltley and Handsworth. Some cyclists have progressed from complete novices into committed riders who are keen to tackle the full 100- or shorter 42-mile routes. But as many will be fasting for Ramadan when Vélo Birmingham & Midlands gets underway, event organisers have granted them special dispensation to cycle a ten-mile stretch.

The Saheli Hub encourages women to cycle in outfits that make them feel comfortable and several of their Muslim members will be riding the event in hijabs and jilbabs.

Seven community clubs that service Small Heath, Longbridge, Cannon Hill Park, Nechells, Ladywood, Kings Norton, Sheldon and Bromford will be represented among the 25 free entrants. Many of the riders derive from BAME communities while the Small Heath-based Leisure Forum Club provides cycling opportunities for people with mental health issues.

Vanessa Morris, Cycling UK Community Clubs Development Officer in Birmingham, said: “It’s an amazing achievement for our community club cyclists to even consider tackling a 100-mile ride, especially as some of them hadn’t even ridden a bike before they joined.

“It just goes to show that anything’s possible and sends out a really clear message that anyone can do it, and that you don’t need an expensive bike or be dressed head-to-toe in Lycra. 

“That’s not to say our members, who come from a diverse range of age groups, backgrounds and cultures, haven’t been training hard. Many of them have joined our clubs because they love cycling, others because they want to cycle but don’t have access to a bike and others who have never even ridden a bike before and want to try it.”

Naseem Akhtar, Saheli Hub Project Manager, said: “We’re really pleased the organisers are letting us cycle part of the route – we’re calling it the Ramadan special!

“We’ve got a real mix of abilities. Some only learned to cycle this year. Others are keen to do the full event but can’t due to the timing. This will give us a taster and we’ll then have plenty of time to train and hopefully do the full 100 miles next year.

“We’ve been pioneering women-only cycling for ten years now. From learn-to-ride sessions to 25-miles rides, we run weekend sessions for all abilities in Ward End.”

Vélo Birmingham & Midlands also provides an important charity fundraising platform. In 2017, Vélo Birmingham participants raised a staggering £2million for several charities, including Cure Leukaemia, NSPCC, Alzheimers Society and Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, all of whom remain as headline charity partners in 2019.

Vélo Birmingham & Midlands will also once again feature the Business 100 corporate challenge, which will aim to attract 100 Midland based companies to sign up teams of four and enjoy an unrivalled VIP participation experience.

25th April 2019  |  Adeel Khan

On Yer Bike, Global Warming…(Guest Blog by John Nightingale)

Easter Activities