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Three keen and competitive cyclists from York Minster will be taking part in a nationwide relay ride on a new cycle route linking every Church of England cathedral. The route is launching on 30 May to coincide with the start of Bike Week, the annual celebration of cycling delivered by Cycling UK.
On Tuesday 1 June, a team of cyclists from Ripon Cathedral will arrive at York Minster after completing a 35 mile ride. The following day (Wednesday 2 June), York Minster’s Canon Pastor, the Revd Michael Smith, will lead a Minster cycle team to Bradford Cathedral, the next destination on the relay route. The Minster team plans to complete the 70 mile round trip in a day.
Canon Michael will pass on a specially commissioned baton to the next group of riders in a unique event to launch the new 2,000-mile loop, which links all 42 English Cathedrals to promote greener travel and mental and physical wellbeing.
Speaking for York Minster’s team, Canon Michael said: “We are delighted that York Minster will be part of this. We have an opportunity to be at the heart of initiatives to support our communities in recovery and the Cathedrals Cycle Route is one way of doing that.
“It allows our visitors to appreciate not just the beauty and sanctity of our building, but to enjoy the journey between them as well, which after a year of restrictions, is even more important for our mental and physical wellbeing than ever before.”
The first group of cyclists will set out from Newcastle Cathedral, the most northerly Anglican cathedral, on Sunday May 30 and a group is expected to return to Newcastle 42 days later (weather permitting), having cycled every Church of England cathedral. The start of the relay will coincide with ‘The World’s Biggest Bike Ride’, marking the opening day of Bike Week (30 May – 5 June 2021).
The Cathedrals Cycle Route is a unique partnership between the Association of English Cathedrals, the British Pilgrimage Trust, Cycling UK and Sustrans. It measures 2,000 miles in total, with individual legs between cathedrals varying in length to suit all abilities.
It 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 activities to support physical and mental wellbeing.
Shaun said: “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.”
The relay ride will raise money for Cycling UK’s Break the Cycle appeal, which aims to improve people’s wellbeing and tackle social isolation through the charity’s community cycling clubs, activities and projects nationwide.
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