All women cycle group test new Cathedrals Cycle Route

03rd May 2021

An all women cycle group is putting the new Cathedrals Cycle Route to the test ahead of its official launch by cycling from Durham to Newcastle Cathedral this Bank Holiday Monday.

The Durham Redstarts, an all-female cycling club established through British Cycling’s Breeze Network in 2014, are no newcomers to cycling cathedrals and had planned to cycle from Germany’s Cologne to Tubingen Cathedral (twinned with Durham) last year, but were thwarted by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

This Bank Holiday Monday the Redstarts will set off from Durham with a sending off from the Cathedral’s precentor and vice dean, the Revd Canon Michael Hampel, and met 15 miles later at Newcastle Cathedral by Shaun Cutler, the architect of the Cathedrals Cycle Route, and Canon Clare MacLaren, Newcastle Cathedral’s canon for music and liturgy; herself a keen cyclist.

Durham Redstarts Ride leader, Jacki Patrickson, said:

“Coming from a cathedral city, we have visited many cathedrals over the past seven years and this new Cathedrals Cycle Route provides us with an excellent way of progressing our cycle adventures across the UK, and it’s always a joy to visit these beautiful buildings.”

The 27 riders will set off in two groups to be Covid compliant for the ride – and their ambition is to complete other stages of the 2,000 mile Cathedral Cycles Route that link every one of our 42 English Cathedrals over the coming months, and as Covid restrictions allow.

The Redstarts have previously organised multi day cycle adventures including Coast to Coast, Coast and Castles, the Way of the Roses, and in 2018 they cycled from London to Paris to mark 100 years since women first got the vote.

The Cathedrals Cycles Route will launch on 30 May – the opening day of Bike Week (May 30 – June 5 2021) – when a small group of cyclists will set off from Newcastle Cathedral with a relay event, carrying a specially commissioned baton, round every one of our cathedrals. Bike Week is an international event, the world’s biggest bike ride, and an annual celebration of all things cycling, delivered by Cycling UK.

The Cathedral Cycles Route is a unique partnership between Sustrans, Cycling UK, the British Pilgrimage Trust and the Association of English Cathedrals and links all 42 Church of England cathedrals in a new initiative to promote greener travel and mental and physical wellbeing.

And for Redstart Jacki, this is close to her heart. She is the project manager for the Decarbonisation of Churches and Cathedral project, supporting the Church of England’s commitment to achieving net-zero carbon by 2030 through a new partnership with the Durham Energy Institute.

As well as that, Jacki, a Chartered Civil Engineer, works at Durham University promoting and supporting low carbon projects and also set up the Durham Heat Hub, which aims to take the University’s heat research and apply it in practical ways in the community.

The Cathedrals Cycle Route is a network of rides – long and short – between every one of our cathedrals and will be launched on May 30. You can find them here.