Attempts to find a new mass cycling event to replace the cancelled Skyride event have been stepped up by Birmingham City Council bosses.
A new marketing company, Sportcel, has been selected to push the £24 million Birmingham Cycle Revolution scheme, including looking for commercial sponsors to back events such as a successor to Skyride.
Last month the city council said it was unable to host a Skyride event in Cannon Hill Park this year due to clashes with test match cricket at Edgbaston. Sixteen other UK towns and cities are hosting a Skyride event.
Under its five-year contract, specialist sports marketing firm Sportcel, will be asked to attract private sector firms and sponsors to support different elements of the cycle revolution.
The scheme, backed by £17 million government money, is designed to encourage more cycling in the city to improve health and fitness levels and free up roads.
It involves investment in cycle routes, promotional events, training, a cycle loan scheme and even supplying 3,000 free bikes to those for who cannot afford one but want to take up cycling.
Sportcel’s client list includes the Football Association, ITV Sport, Aviva Premiership Rugby and the Steven Gerard Foundation.
Sportcel founding partner, Aidan Day, said: “We are delighted to be working on such an exciting and ambitious project as Birmingham Cycle Revolution.
“Rather than a short term fix, Birmingham Cycle Revolution represents a long term commitment by Birmingham City Council to effect meaningful change in the community, a change that can drive positive improvement in quality of life, health and environment for all the residents of the UK’s second largest city.
“The immediate and positive response from the business community to support and drive Birmingham Cycle Revolution that we have already received clearly demonstrates the huge appetite there is to help deliver the goals of the scheme.”
Cabinet member for a green city coun Lisa Trickett added: “We are confident that Sportcel’s proven expertise in developing public/private sector partnerships will help ensure the long term success of this project, delivering genuine value to both our partners and our community.”