This summer local cyclists will be invited to make a pedal pilgrimage from either Ripon Cathedral to Bradford Cathedral, or Bradford Cathedral to Wakefield Cathedral, as part of this year’s national ‘Cathedrals Cycle Route’.
In 2021 and 2022 the relay travelled around all 42 English Cathedrals but for 2023 a series of local routes will be undertaken, including one between Carlisle, Durham and Newcastle, and rides starting at Peterborough and Rochester.
Cyclists will set off from Ripon Cathedral at 10am on Friday, June 9, heading towards Bradford, with a second leg heading from Bradford Cathedral to Wakefield, meeting at 1pm for a 1.30pm departure.
The Ripon to Bradford route is the more challenging leg, coming in at just under 40 miles, heading through Harrogate and Otley.
Going onward to Wakefield, this leg is 20 miles and includes riding along the beautiful Spen Valley Greenway to Dewsbury.
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’re 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.
“Best wishes to everyone who’s participating, and we look forward to welcoming you to Wakefield!”
Maurice Manktelow, Bradford Cathedral’s Cycle Champion, says: “However our visitors come to our cathedral this year, we look forward to welcoming them and if they come on two wheels, we’re ready with a warm welcome, a place to park their bikes, and somewhere to fill their water bottles.
“We are delighted to be a part of this relay again.
“We have an 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, which after years of restrictions, is even more important for our mental and physical well being than ever before.”
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.
Shaun says: “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.
Cyclists will travel from Ripon Cathedral to Bradford Cathedral at 10am or from Bradford Cathedral to Wakefield Cathedral at 1.30pm.
Cyclists are requested to register beforehand by clicking here.