Cycle Pilgrimage Comes to Oxford

On the 29th of June a group of cyclists will arrive at Christ Church Cathedral having cycled the 87-mile route from Bristol Cathedral all the way to Tom Gate. This is part of the newly created Cathedrals Cycle Route, a 2,000-mile long-distance cycle route between all 42 of England’s Anglican Cathedrals.

Participant in the cycle pilgrimages with his bicycle in the CathedralThe next morning, after attending morning Eucharist they’ll be on their way again, this time covering the next 54-mile leg to Gloucester Cathedral. The group is made up of a wide range of people, including the Bishop of Swindon Lee Rayfield; Shaun Cutler, who came up with the idea and is cycling the entire 2,000-miles; and several Cathedral volunteers, each of whom will take turns in carrying a specially made baton as part of the whole relay.

Volunteer Steward John Blackie, who will be riding both legs, is looking forward to not just the challenge of the ride, but also the beautiful Oxfordshire scenery “riding along the Windrush Valley is always a joy, it doesn’t matter how hot, how cold, how rainy, it’s always a joy” he said when asked what he was looking forward to most. Another Cathedral volunteer, Alan, Willson, is looking forward to getting to travel a bit further afield after a lot of local bike rides during lockdown, and would encourage those who are thinking of trying a cycle pilgrimage to try the route to Gloucester. He said “It’s classed ‘regular’ difficulty rating, so you could give it a try if you’ve got teenagers or older children”. Of course there’s no need to cycle the full distance either, you can modify the routes to suit all abilities.

Due to the pandemic the route has had a soft opening this year with plans for a grander opening in 2022. However there is no need to wait that long, the route is currently available online and to download for GPS devices from the Cycling UK website. For those who are feeling particularly adventurous there is a special medal available for those who complete the whole route, from Newcastle and all the way back round to Carlisle via all 42 English Cathedrals.