Exeter Cathedral is one of the stops on a new 2000-mile Cathedrals Cycle Route, linking England’s 42 Anglican cathedrals.
The route was launched to coincide with the start of Bike Week (30 May to 5 June 2021), Cycling UK’s annual celebration of cycling.
A special relay ride between all 42 cathedrals is underway in celebration. It’s being led by keen cyclist and creator of the new route, Shaun Cutler. Shaun is riding the whole 2000-mile loop and will be accompanied by other cyclists at different stages of the route. Anyone can join in, either during the relay event or, for those wishing to take a more leisurely approach, independently and at a later date.
The relay baton left Newcastle Cathedral (England’s most northerly Anglican cathedral) on Sunday 30 May and is expected to arrive back at its starting point having visited each of England’s 42 cathedrals. The ride is the result of a unique partnership between the Association of English Cathedrals, the British Pilgrimage Trust, Cycling UK and Sustrans.
Cutler, the peloton and baton are due to arrive in Exeter (from Salisbury) on Tuesday 22 June. They begin the onward journey to Truro on Wednesday 23 June. Exeter Cathedral’s own James Mustard, Mike Williams, Paul Nixon and Christopher Palmer will be oiling up their bike chains and joining in.
Commenting on the new route, Shaun Cutler, an academic at Northumbria University and an entrepreneur, says:
“The Cathedrals Cycle Route is about connecting our historic cathedrals and enjoying the spaces between them,” says Shaun. “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 individual rides between cathedrals vary in length. Salisbury Cathedral to Exeter Cathedral is a 97-mile route which takes in the best of Wiltshire, Somerset and Devon, whilst the route from Exeter to Truro Cathedral is a mere 90 miles. 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 in the future.
Exeter Cathedral has appointed a dedicated cycle champion, Canon Mike Williams, to make sure the Cathedral team is ready to greet all cyclists, whether part of an organised ride, riding a short loop, cycling to worship or to join a tour. Everyone on two wheels will find a place to park their bikes, somewhere to fill their water bottles and a warm welcome.
The relay ride will 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).
More information and maps can be downloaded from Cycling UK.
If you’d like to take part, you can find out more here.
The relay riders can be tracked on their journey here.
Picture shows: The Revd Canon Dr Mike Williams, Canon Treasurer (left), and The Revd Canon Dr Chris Palmer, Canon Chancellor.