Yorkshire cathedrals to welcome cyclists on 'pedal pilgrimage'

Some of the riders that took part in the Bradford to Wakefield leg of the 2021 relay

Keen cyclists are being invited to take part in this year's national 'Cathedrals Cycle Route' taking place on 9 June in Yorkshire.

Individuals making the 'pedal pilgrimage' will have the choice of cycling from either Ripon Cathedral to Bradford Cathedral, or Bradford Cathedral to Wakefield Cathedral.

The three cathedrals are all part of the Church of England's Diocese of Leeds but the Ripon to Bradford route is the most challenging at just under 40 miles.

Shaun Cutler, entrepreneur and keen cyclist from Northumbria University, spearheaded the initiative to aid people out of lockdown with opportunities for short cycle rides between cathedrals, and to form "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," he said.

"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."

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.

"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," said Rev Dr Philip Hobday, Sub-Dean at Wakefield Cathedral.

He continued: "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!"

Each cathedral is being encouraged to appoint a '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.

"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," said Maurice Manktelow, Bradford Cathedral's Cycle Champion.

"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.

He continued: "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 wellbeing than ever before."

Cyclists will set off from Ripon Cathedral at 10am, heading towards Bradford, with a second leg heading from Bradford Cathedral to Wakefield, meeting at 1pm for a 1:30pm departure.

Those interested in taking part can register their interest at ccr2023-leeds.eventbrite.co.uk.