Cyclists from Hereford Cathedral 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.

Members of the community will ride between Hereford and Worcester, passing 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.

Each cathedral has a dedicated cycle champion to improve the cycle-readiness of its  building, ensure a warm welcome for visiting cyclists and increase the number that currently arrive on two wheels.

At Hereford our Cathedral Cycle Champion is Canon Graham Bennett with the support of Peter Challenger. The initial relay will arrive here from Gloucester at about midday on Thursday 1 July and, after a refreshment break will ride on to Worcester. If you would like to join Graham on the 32 mile journey to Worcester (or just join in for a mile or two) please contact Peter ([email protected] or 01432 374 202) who will be able to provide more information. If you aren't able to take part in the cycle but would like to volunteer to help provide a warm welcome to the cyclists arriving on Thursday 1 July then please also get in touch with Peter.

Click here to find out more about this route: cyclinguk.org/cathedrals-cycle-route-challenge  

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  (May 30-June 5 2021; bikeweek.org.uk).

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 (cyclinguk.org/breakthecycle).

Sarah Mitchell, chief executive of Cycling UK, said:

“This year’s Bike Week event is all about how cycling boosts well-being: physical, mental and emotional. Apart from the obvious health benefits of getting active and reducing our reliance on polluting vehicles, cycling gives us time to think, to reconnect with the outside world, and to meet other people. Our community projects around the country help people come together to ride, to chat, and to learn a skill that gives them mobility and independence, and we are delighted that the launch of this route will also raise funds to help this valuable work.”

It is hoped that the relay ride will become an annual event and will encourage more and more people to get on their bikes this year and beyond.