And they’re off!! Cycle cathedrals: 42 cathedrals 42 days 2 wheels
Sunday sees the launch of a new kind of pilgrimage route that links every one of our 42 Church of England cathedrals on two wheels.
A small group of cyclists will set off from England’s most northerly cathedral, Newcastle, on the inaugural relay ride to launch the new Cathedrals Cycle Route.
They will carry a specially designed baton, Olympic style, to pass on at each of the 42 Church of England cathedrals.
First stop is Durham Cathedral 15 miles away where the first group of cyclists will pass on the baton to the next group of cyclists who will then carry it on to Ripon Cathedral 55 miles away, and so on, crisscrossing the country between each of our English cathedrals returning to Newcastle Cathedral 42 days later (weather permitting).
The 2,000 mile Cathedrals Cycle Route is the invention of academic, entrepreneur and keen cyclist Shaun Cutler, from Northumbria University, and is designed to help us all out of lockdown with opportunities for short cycle rides between cathedrals, new partnerships and fundraising for physical and mental well-being activities.
Shaun and a small group of cyclists will launch the route on Sunday, the opening day of Bike Week (May 30 – June 5 2021), and, to coincide with The World’s Biggest Bike Ride.
Shaun has worked with Newcastle Cathedral, Sustrans, Cycling UK, the Association of English Cathedrals and the British Pilgrimage Trust to design the 42 linked routes.
“The Cathedrals Cycle Route is about connecting our historic cathedrals and enjoying the spaces between them.
“Now more than ever, after a year of living with the coronavirus pandemic, this is a way to support people’s mental and physical health and promote the mission of England’s cathedrals through pilgrimage, wellbeing and heritage.”
This inaugural nationwide relay ride will also be an opportunity to test out all the new routes and will raise money for Cycling UK’s Break the Cycle appeal, which aims to improve people’s wellbeing through the charity’s community cycling clubs, activities and projects nationwide.
It is hoped that the relay ride will become an annual event and will encourage more and more people to get on their bikes to travel to our cathedrals. Each cathedral aims to have a dedicated cycle champion to improve the cycle-readiness of their buildings and ensure a warm welcome for visiting cyclists in a bid to increase the number that arrive on two wheels.
You can find all the Cathedrals Cycle Routes here.
The Cathedrals Cycle Route comes on the back of an initiative early last year between the Association of English Cathedrals and the British Pilgrimage Trust that established a pilgrimage route to every Church of England cathedral taking in established wayfarer routes, other places of faith, spiritual pathways and lesser known pilgrim ways enabling visitors to arrive on foot.