Vélo Birmingham & Midlands: Pro-rider’s tips for safer cycling

The Event

Velo Birmingham & Midlands is a closed-road sportive event covering over 100 miles of iconic rural highways and byways in the midlands. To date 17000+ riders have signed up to take advantage of the closed-to-traffic roads. This year the course takes you from Birmingham to Coventry city centres via the beautiful Warwickshire countryside. Ribble are once again delighted to be the official cycle partner for this event on Sunday May 12th.

Jamie Burrow is our head of Design here at Ribble Cycles, he and his team of bike experts are responsible for the brand new for 2019 range of stunning Ribble bikes that you now see on our website. Being a former World Number 1 at under 23 level and having ridden as a professional for the US Postal Team cycling team he has a lot of experience to bring to the table.

Jamie was asked to use his in depth experience of training in all weathers and throughout the seasons to offer you his top tips and advice on how to train for such an endurance event and just as importantly how to stay safe whilst doing so.

Jamie showcases one of the stunning new for 2019 range, the Endurance SL at our Birningham showroom.


Velo Birmingham 2017

Unfortunately entries for the Vélo Birmingham & Midlands 100 miler are now closed. However, there are a limited number of spaces available through the lead charity partners. These include; the Alzheimer’s Society, Cure Leukaemia, NSPCC and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Charity Birmingham. Entries are still possible through the Vélo Birmingham & Midlands CBRE Business 100, which allows companies to enter teams of four riders to unlock VIP training and networking opportunities.

If 100 miles sounds a little too daunting then there is also the recently unveiled 42 mile closed-road cycle taking place on the same day. Places are still available for this event which takes in the countryside between Birmingham and Coventry city centres.

Currently more than 17000 cyclists will be taking on the magic 100-miler and this means plenty of training and preparation will be required. Below Jamie takes you through some of his pro tips and advice on how to motivate yourself when the hours of daylight are short and before the longer days of spring arrive.

The route for Velo Birmingham 2019


Jamie was a former under 23’s World Number 1 and US Postal rider.

“Although cycling in the dark can seem off-putting, finding motivation at this time of year is key to your coming season and sporting goals,” explains Jamie.

” It is currently a trend to keep your winter miles wrapped up in the warm comforts of your own home using home trainers. Just remember that starting at this time of year, things can only get better. You will notice your form increasing along with the longer brighter days tempting you to go that bit further and faster. “

Staying Dry

Team Ribble at Velo Brimigham 2017

“Keeping dry means staying comfortable and healthy. One of my biggest issues whilst racing as a professional was getting sick easily. The fitter we are, the more it makes us prone to a silly illness as our immune system struggles to keep up. I would always recommend having a rain jacket in your back pocket even if the forecast looks good.”

“With typical UK weather it is so easy to get caught in a shower even just for a few minutes. It’s not even the getting wet that is the issue. It’s staying wet and subsequently getting cold that causes the problem. “

Some of the top tips Jamie recommends are;

  • Take a lightweight rain jacket or gilet on every ride, they can then be rolled up and stashed in a back pocket or saddlebag.
  • If you stop mid-ride for a cafe stop or refreshment break put on a dry jacket to retain body heat when in wet clothing.
  • Good gloves, hat and overshoes are relatively cheap items that can really save your day if the weather turns bad. Although your body usually keeps warm from the heat generated during exercise, hands and feet don’t receive the same amount of circulation. They are directly in the path of cold winds, freezing hands and feet can be one of the worst experiences on a bike.

Take in the stunning scenery and enjoy make new friends along the way.

Staying Safe

Hi Viz is best for daytime rides and reflective for after dark. We also recommend daytime running rear lights .

” With many of us having to fit our winter riding into our daily commute or even after work or school rides we are often forced to take on the traffic as well as the darkness. Staying safe in these circumstances is crucial. Obviously fitting lights to your bike is compulsory but there are a whole host of gadgets, gizmos and accessories to help you be seen and keep you safe.”

  • Reflective clothing: Night vision technology is now a common theme in clothing with select panels or even entire garments made from 360 degree, fully reflective fabrics that are activated by car head lights. I’ve been using one of these for three years now and wouldn’t ride without it during my commute.
  • Bicycle lights have come on a long way since I started riding, with the now classic but not so powerful Ever-Ready battery-operated lamps being the only real option. We are now looking at USB chargeable, super powerful lights that could easily take on any car headlight with the level of brightness they offer. The best lights available are now graded by lumens, with around 200 lumens an acceptable output for a front light although some manufacturers offer over 2,000 lumens, which is ideal for off-road riding.
  • Reflective handlebar tape: Often an overlooked accessory, but good quality bar tape can offer superb grip in wet conditions whilst featuring reflective properties.

Bike Maintenance

A bundle such as the one above contains most of the essentials oyu need whilst out on the bike and for basic pre- ride maintenance.

View the bundle here

” This can be the least favourite time of year for your beloved bicycle. Rain, snow, salty roads, hidden pot holes are just a few of the elements your bike has to cope with during the dark season. Taking care of your machine will prolong its life span and generally keep it in fit working order like yourself.”

  • Check your tyres regularly for cuts and debris, this will significantly reduce the number of punctures you will encounter.
  • Run slightly less pressure in the tyres than you would in the summer. On the sidewall of the tyres it will specify a minimum and maximum tyre pressure. In the wet it is beneficial to run them towards the lower end of the range for increased grip and traction.
  • Use 3in1 sprays on moving parts such as gears and chain after wet weather rides. (Ideally wash your bike with clean water after all wet rides and then apply 3in1 spray)
  • Keep your chain well oiled. This will keep your gears running smoothly especially in wet conditions and reduce the wear on the components.
  • Keep an eye on brake pad consumption as wet gritty roads will wear your brakes down faster than dry conditions.
  • It’s worthwhile investing in a simple DIY maintenance kit to keep the bike running smoothly and prevent any annoying clicks or creaks.

Sign up for the Vélo Birmingham & Midlands 42-mile sportive, or find out how you can take on the 100-mile event for charity at www.velobirmingham.com

Interested to see how Ribble Pro Cycling train?

Ribbles pre-ride basic bike maintenance tips

1 Comment
  1. I have ridden in the London 100 on three occasions, and it has been great fun;however, I enjoyed Velo Birmingham more. It would be possible to enhance the rider village area to give more of a party atmosphere but the route was fantastic and the people were superb: so many families en route encouraging all riders- huge thank you to the people of Birmingham and surrounding areas.
    Would suggest instructing slower riders to stay on, say, left, to allow faster riders in chains to come through. Fantastic event-Thanks No 1747

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