On Friday 9th June cyclists from across Yorkshire made a pedal pilgrimage between the three Cathedrals of the Diocese of Leeds as part of this year’s Cathedrals Cycle Relay. The relay, which fell within the 100th annual Bike Week, is the third time it has taken place at the cathedrals.
In 2021 and 2022 the relay travelled around all 42 English Cathedrals, but for 2023 a series of local routes were undertaken, including one between Carlisle, Durham and Newcastle, and rides starting at Peterborough and Rochester.
Cyclists set off from Ripon Cathedral in the morning, heading towards Bradford, with a second leg from Bradford Cathedral to Wakefield.
The Cathedrals Cycle Route is a unique partnership between the Association of English Cathedrals and Cycling UK, with the support of Sustrans, the British Pilgrimage Trust and Northumbria University.
Each cathedral has been encouraged to appoint 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.
The Revd Dr Philip Hobday, Sub-Dean at Wakefield Cathedral, says:
“We were delighted once again to be part of this year’s Cathedrals Cycle Route. It’s a partnership close to our hearts at Wakefield Cathedral. As well as raising awareness of our scenic county and historic buildings, it also shows the commitment to greener living and sustainable travel which our award-winning Eco Group does so much to promote.”
Maurice Manktelow, Bradford Cathedral’s Cycle Champion, says:
“We were delighted to be a part of this relay again. We love having the opportunity to be at the heart of initiatives to support and connect our communities and the Cathedrals Cycle Route is one way of doing that.
“It allows visitors to Bradford Cathedral to appreciate not just the beauty and sanctity of our building, but to enjoy the journey between them as well.”
The Cathedrals Cycle Route is the invention of academic, entrepreneur and keen cyclist Shaun Cutler, from Northumbria University, and was 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.
“The Cathedrals Cycle Route is about connecting our historic cathedrals and enjoying the spaces between them.
“The last few years have seen a lot of change, the Cathedrals Cycle Route is a great way to rediscover and reconnect, supporting people’s mental and physical health and promoting the mission of England’s cathedrals through pilgrimage, wellbeing and heritage.”
Those visiting the cathedrals – whether that’s on foot or by bike – are welcome to get their Pilgrim Passport stamped and stickered, and Passports are on sale in the shop for those starting out on their Cathedral journey.
Plans are now being made for the route for 2024. If you would like to find out more, and be involved in future cycling events, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Cathedrals Cycle Route can also be cycled at any time. More information on the various pilgrimage options – whether that’s cycle rides or walks – around Bradford Cathedral, and further afield, can be found at http://bradfordcathedral.org.uk/pilgrimages