US man cycles in 'wrong Birmingham' race

media captionThousands of riders took part in the first Velo Birmingham cycle race

An American cyclist who accidentally signed up for a cycle race in the "wrong Birmingham" decided to make the transatlantic trip anyway.

John Hoopingarner, from Ohio, flew to the UK to take part in the 100-mile Velo Birmingham, after signing up to the event he thought was in Alabama.

After realising his mistake, Mr Hoopingarner thought "well I made it this far, I may as well just go".

Mr Hoopingarner said he hoped to repeat his mistake next year.

image copyrightVelo Birmingham
image captionJohn Hoopingarner decided to make the most of his mistake and turned it into a holiday

After receiving an email about the event - which saw 15,000 cyclists riding through Birmingham city centre, Worcestershire and Staffordshire on Sunday - Mr Hoopingarner said: "I thought, 'wow, this sounds really cool' so I signed up."

When he discovered he had paid to cycle in Birmingham UK rather than Birmingham USA, he said, "well I made it this far, I may as well just go."

Impressed by the Alabama city's namesake, Mr Hoopingarner said he hoped to return and take part again next year.

image copyright@snappersk
image caption15,000 cyclists took part in the 100-mile bike ride

"Birmingham was the coolest place I've been to in the UK yet," he said. "It was really fabulous.

"The people are great, the town's awesome, the guys that did the ride were really tremendous. It was a brilliant event.

"I am hoping to come back next year. I've been promised free entry so I'm tempted to take [the organisers] up on it."

In the meantime, Mr Hoopingarner is making the most of his first visit to the UK and is holidaying in Edinburgh and London, with plans to also go to Dublin.

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