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What is it really like cycling in Birmingham?



Cycling in Birmingham offers a varied experience. While the city has been improving its cycling infrastructure, there are still challenges, such as traffic congestion and the need for further development. However, dedicated cycle lanes and a growing cycling community make exploring the city enjoyable.

Welcome to the bustling city of Birmingham, where the wheels of progress spin alongside the spinning pedals of cyclists. From its growing cycling infrastructure to the exhilarating experiences that await on its streets, Birmingham offers a unique and dynamic cycling landscape.

In this article, we’ll delve deeper into the reality of cycling in Birmingham. We’ll explore the city’s cycling infrastructure, highlight notable routes, shed light on the challenges and rewards cyclists face, and provide insights for locals and visitors looking to embark on their cycling adventures. So, grab your helmet, hop on your bike, and ride through the captivating world of cycling in Birmingham.

Birmingham City Cycling Statistics


  • Cycling Infrastructure: Birmingham has been actively investing in cycling infrastructure to promote cycling as a viable mode of transportation. The city boasts an extensive network of dedicated cycle lanes, shared paths, and cycling-friendly roads.


  • Cycling Commuters: Birmingham has seen a steady increase in people commuting by bicycle. However, it’s worth noting that these statistics may have changed since then due to various factors such as changing commuting patterns and infrastructure developments.


  • Cycling Initiatives: Birmingham City Council has actively promoted cycling through various initiatives. These include cycling awareness campaigns, bike-sharing schemes, and organising cycling events to encourage more people to embrace cycling as a healthy and sustainable mode of transport.


  • Challenges: Like any major city, Birmingham faces challenges related to city cycling. These can include traffic congestion, inadequate cycling infrastructure in certain areas, and the need for further improvements to ensure cyclist safety.


Cycle bike hire in Birmingham


Birmingham offers several options for bike hire, providing convenient access to bicycles for residents and visitors. Here are a few popular bike hire services in Birmingham:


  1. West Midlands Cycle Hire: Operated by Transport for West Midlands, the West Midlands Cycle Hire scheme offers bike rental across various locations in Birmingham. Users can register online, download the app, and unlock bikes from docking stations using their smartphones.


  1. Brompton Bike Hire: Brompton Bike Hire provides folding bike rentals, allowing users to explore Birmingham and its surroundings. Bikes can be rented for short periods, and pick-up and drop-off locations are available throughout the city.


  1. Freebike: Freebike is a dockless bike-sharing service available in Birmingham. Users can locate and unlock bikes using the Freebike app. The service allows for flexible bike rental and can be a convenient option for short journeys.


  1. Local Bike Shops: Birmingham has numerous bike shops offering bike rentals, particularly for longer durations. These shops provide a variety of bikes, including road bikes, hybrids, and e-bikes, catering to different cycling preferences.


Top 3 cycling routes in Birmingham


Birmingham offers a variety of scenic and enjoyable cycling routes. Here are three top cycling routes in Birmingham:


  1. Rea Valley Route: The Rea Valley Route is a popular cycling path that follows the River Rea through the heart of Birmingham. Starting from Cannon Hill Park, this picturesque route takes cyclists through green spaces, including Highbury Park, Kings Heath Park, and urban areas. The path is well-maintained and offers a peaceful escape from the city while providing opportunities to explore charming neighbourhoods.


  1. Birmingham Canal Network: Birmingham’s extensive canal network provides an excellent cycling route that allows riders to discover the city’s industrial heritage and scenic surroundings. The canal paths offer a peaceful and traffic-free experience with many options. One trendy stretch is the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal, which connects Birmingham City Centre to the countryside, passing through vibrant areas like Brindley Place and Gas Street Basin.


  1. Sutton Park: With over 2,400 acres of parkland, cyclists can explore off-road trails, open heathland, and woodlands. Sutton Park provides a tranquil escape with diverse landscapes and the opportunity to spot wildlife.


When cycling in Birmingham, it’s important to follow traffic regulations, respect pedestrians, and ensure safety by wearing appropriate protective gear and maintaining your bicycle. These top routes offer natural beauty, urban exploration, and historical significance, allowing cyclists to enjoy the best of Birmingham’s cycling opportunities.


Bike shops in Birmingham


Birmingham has several bike shops with many bicycles, accessories, and services. Here are some notable bike shops in Birmingham:


  1. Evans Cycles: Located on Temple Street in Birmingham city centre, Evans Cycles is a well-known bike retailer offering a comprehensive range of bikes, including road bikes, mountain bikes, hybrids, and electric bikes. They also provide accessories, clothing, and bike maintenance services.


  1. On Your Bike: On Your Bike is a famous independent bike shop in Birmingham on Bradford Street. They offer a diverse selection of bicycles, including road, commuter, folding, and children’s bikes. They also provide bike repairs, servicing, and accessories.


  1. Red Kite Cycles: Based in Kings Heath, Red Kite Cycles is a local bike shop focusing on personalised service and a range of quality bicycles. They offer road bikes, mountain bikes, electric bikes, and more, along with bike repairs and maintenance.


  1. Bike Pro Racing: Located on the Bristol Street, Bike Pro Racing specialises in road bikes, triathlon bikes, and performance cycling gear. They offer a range of high-end brands and cater to cyclists looking for competitive equipment and professional advice.


  1. Bournville Bicycle: Situated in Bournville, this community-oriented bike shop provides a variety of bikes, from family-friendly options to road and mountain bikes. They offer bike repairs, servicing, and custom build options to meet individual preferences.


It’s always an excellent idea to check the opening hours and specific services each bike shop offers before visiting, as they may have different policies and specialities. Additionally, availability and stock may vary, so contacting the shop or visiting their website can provide more detailed information about their current offerings.


Where to lock your bike in Birmingham


Choosing secure locations is vital to minimise theft risk when locking your bike in Birmingham. Here are some recommended places to lock your bike in Birmingham:


  • Bike Racks: Birmingham has installed bike racks throughout the city to encourage cycling and provide secure parking options. Look for designated bike racks in popular shopping centres, train stations, parks, and public squares. These racks are typically designed to accommodate multiple bikes and often have high visibility, which can deter potential thieves.


  • Bike Parks and Bike Hubs: Birmingham has introduced dedicated bike parks and hubs in certain areas. These facilities provide enhanced security measures, such as CCTV surveillance, controlled access, and sometimes even staffed attendants. Examples include the cycle hub at New Street Station or the Park Street Bike Park. Utilising these specialised areas can offer added peace of mind when leaving your bike unattended for extended periods.


  • Secure Buildings and Gated Areas: Try to secure your bike in well-lit areas within gated or protected buildings. Many residential buildings, offices, and institutions offer designated bike storage facilities or bike racks. Use these areas whenever available, ensuring you lock your bike to a sturdy structure or a designated bike rack.


Cycling in the City of Birmingham Reddit


Reddit can be a valuable resource for gathering opinions and reviews from cyclists in Birmingham. The r/brum subreddit (r/brumcycling) and other cycling-related communities may have discussions and threads where users share their experiences and insights about cycling in the city. Exploring these forums to get firsthand accounts and recommendations from local cyclists is a good idea.


When searching on Reddit or any online platform for reviews, remember that experiences and opinions can vary widely. Some users may highlight the positives of cycling in Birmingham, such as improvements in infrastructure, scenic routes, or community events.

Others may express concerns about traffic, infrastructure gaps, or areas that require improvement. It’s essential to consider multiple perspectives and evaluate the credibility of the sources before forming a comprehensive understanding.


Local cycling clubs in Birmingham


Birmingham is home to several local cycling clubs where cyclists of all levels can connect, participate in group rides, and engage in various cycling activities. Here are a few notable cycling clubs in Birmingham:


  1. Beacon Roads Cycling Club: Beacon Roads is a long-established cycling club in Birmingham with a rich history. They offer a range of activities, including road cycling, time trials, club runs, and social events. The club welcomes cyclists of all abilities and organises regular group rides and training sessions.


  1. Halesowen A&CC: Halesowen A&CC (Athletic and Cycling Club) is a multi-sport club encompassing cycling, running, and triathlon. Their dedicated cycling section caters to road cyclists, time trialists, and track cyclists. The club hosts various events, including club rides, races, and training sessions.


  1. Solihull Cycling Club: Solihull Cycling Club is a friendly and inclusive club catering to cyclists of all ages and abilities. They offer road cycling, time trials, track cycling, and off-road activities. The club organises yearly group rides, training sessions, and social events.


  1. Bournville Velo Club: Bournville Velo Club is a community-oriented cycling club based in Birmingham. They have a diverse membership and cater to both road and off-road cyclists. The club organises regular rides, training sessions, and events, fostering a supportive and inclusive cycling community.


  1. Kings Heath Cycling Club: Kings Heath Cycling Club is a local club focusing on road cycling and social rides. They provide opportunities for cyclists to join group rides, improve their skills, and meet fellow enthusiasts.


These are just a few examples of cycling clubs in Birmingham. They should visit their websites or social media pages to learn about membership, activities, and joining requirements. Connecting with a local cycling club can be a great way to meet fellow cyclists, expand your cycling network, and participate in group rides and events tailored to your interests and abilities.


Final Verdict


In conclusion, cycling in Birmingham offers a diverse and evolving experience. With the city’s efforts to improve cycling infrastructure, scenic routes, and the presence of active cycling communities, there is much to appreciate.

Cyclists can explore the Rea Valley Route, enjoy the canal network, and immerse themselves in the natural beauty of Sutton Park. However, challenges such as traffic congestion and the need for further infrastructure development remain.

Overall, Birmingham provides ample opportunities for cycling enthusiasts to use active transportation, discover hidden gems, and connect with like-minded individuals in this vibrant city.

Arjun Mertiya

Arjun Mertiya


Since Arjun was a young child, bikes have played a big part of his life. He races bikes, rides bikes and also loves writing about bikes. It’s always just been a way of life for Arjun and a passion that he loves to share with others..

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