American cyclist enters Velo Birmingham thinking it's in Alabama; travels to the UK to ride it anyway

Event organisers offer John Hoppingarner a free entry for 2018

A cyclist from America had a nasty surprise when he entered the Velo Birmingham sportive, not realising it was in Birmingham, West Midlands rather than Birmingham, Alabama, but decided to take part anyway.

John Hoppingarner, a keen cyclist from Sharon Center, Ohio, entered after receiving an email about the event, thinking that it was a few hours drive south rather than thousands of miles away on the other side of the Atlantic.

>>> 12 of the best upcoming sportives to ride

Most people faced with this situation might have swallowed the £75 entry fee, but Mr Hoppingarner told the BBC that he decided that I made it this far, I may as well just go."

Mr Hoppingarner completed the 100-mile closed-road ride in a time of 8-22-59, and has is now making the most of his first trip to the UK, making trips to London and Edinburgh and hailing Birmingham as "the coolest place I've been to in the UK yet".

The 54-year-old says that he is also planning to return to the event in 2018, especially as the organisers have offered him free entry.

Thank you for reading 10 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Henry Robertshaw began his time at Cycling Weekly working with the tech team, writing reviews, buying guides and appearing in videos advising on how to dress for the seasons. He later moved over to the news team, where his work focused on the professional peloton as well as legislation and provision for cycling. He's since moved his career in a new direction, with a role at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.