Take part in the Cathedrals Cycle Route

27 April 2021
Norwich Cathedral is among the 42 Church of England cathedrals nationwide taking part in a new national cycling event and everyone is welcome to get involved in this brand new initiative. People can either jump on their bikes or be part of the welcoming or farewell committees for the cyclists as they pedal into or out of the Cathedral Close.
Norwich Cathedral (c) Bill Smith_Norwich Cathedral

The 2,000 mile Cathedrals Cycle Route will start on 30 May when a specially-commissioned baton will be pedalled out of Newcastle Cathedral, returning 42 days later following a series of relays across the country.

Norwich Cathedral’s involvement will be on Thursday 10 June, when cyclists will travel from Ely to Norwich, and on Friday 11 June, when cyclists will ride from Norwich to Bury St Edmunds.

Norwich Cathedral’s Cycling Champion is Frank Paice and he is keen to hear from people who would like to help welcome riders coming from Ely on Thursday 10 June or see riders off on the next leg from Norwich on Friday 11 June.

Frank is also looking for up to 20 riders to cycle as far as they would like towards Bury St Edmunds on Thursday 10 June. People can opt to ride with Frank to East Harling (24.2 miles), where St Peter and St Paul Church will welcome riders, or they can choose to cycle all the way to Bury(42.1 miles).

Final registration must be completed by 28 May – for more information contact Frank via ccrnorwich@btinternet.com.

The Cathedrals Cycle Route aims to promote greener travel and mental and physical wellbeing. It is the result of a unique partnership between Sustrans, Cycling UK, the British Pilgrimage Trust and the Association of English Cathedrals.

The 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 with a relay event, Cycling With Purpose, setting out from Newcastle Cathedral, the most northerly Anglican Cathedral, on Sunday May 30. The relay will coincide with The World’s Biggest Bike Ride, marking the opening day of Bike Week (May 30 – June 5 2021), the annual celebration of all things cycling, delivered by Cycling UK.

Shaun, who has worked with Newcastle Cathedral, Sustrans, Cycling UK and the British Pilgrimage Trust to design the 42 linked routes, 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 transport a specially commissioned baton, Olympic torch-style, around the whole route passing along to different groups of cyclists at each cathedral who can join the ride for as little or as long as they like, with a group returning 42 days later (weather permitting) having cycled every Church of England Cathedral.

The relay ride will raise money for Cycling UK’s Break the Cycle appeal, which aims to help improve people's wellbeing through the charity’s community cycling clubs, activities and projects nationwide.

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.

For more information about the whole Cathedrals Cycle Route visit https://www.cyclinguk.org/route/whole-cathedrals-cycle-route