2000 Mile Cycle Baton RelayPosted by: Sam Pegg
2000 Mile Cycle Baton Relay Comes to Sheffield Cathedral
And they’re off! This week, cyclists representing Sheffield Cathedral will take part in the launch of the Cathedrals Cycle Route. They will carry a specially commissioned baton from Sheffield to Lincoln Cathedral, as part of its 2000 mile journey to visit all 42 Anglican cathedrals in just 42 days. The baton will arrive at Sheffield Cathedral on Thursday 3 June, from Bradford Cathedral via Wakefield Cathedral, and depart at 09:30 the following morning.
The cyclists will be joining in the launch of the Cathedrals Cycle Route during Bike Week 2021. They 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.
Geoffrey Harbord, Acting Dean of Sheffield Cathedral said: “We are delighted Sheffield Cathedral is to be a 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 all cathedrals as well, which after a year of restrictions, is even more important for our mental and physical wellbeing than ever before. As Christians we all have a responsibility for the stewardship of God’s creation so we welcome the opportunity to raise awareness of visiting Sheffield Cathedral and all Anglican cathedrals by greener, sustainable means of transport. Sheffield Cathedral is and always will be ‘A Place for All People. Being part of the Cathedral Cycle Route is a wonderful way to encourage new audiences to visit our Cathedral and the chance to develop new partnerships with sustainability, health and wellbeing at its heart.”
The first group of cyclists carrying the baton will set out from Newcastle Cathedral, the most northerly Anglican cathedral, on Sunday May 30. The baton will then be passed on with the final group expected to return to Newcastle 42 days later (weather permitting) after the baton has visited 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 is also an opportunity to 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).
As part of the Cathedral Cycle Route initiative, each cathedral is looking at ways to improve the cycle-readiness of its building, to ensure a warm welcome for visiting cyclists and to increase the number people to arrive at a Cathedral on two wheels under pedal power. Ben Rossi, Sheffield Cathedral’s Development Manager said: “However our visitors come to our cathedral this year, we look forward to welcoming them and if they come on two wheels, we will be ready with a warm welcome, a place to park their bikes, and somewhere to fill their water bottles.”
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