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Early on Tuesday morning, 6 July, Stephen Mannings, Director of Music Outreach at Liverpool Cathedral plus Chris McElroy, Director of Music at the Metropolitan Cathedral, joined by Senior Organ Scholar, Dylan McCaig, Paul O’Brien from Micah and Luke Allsup, set out to ride to Manchester Cathedral.
Stephen Mannings said, “It is a great privilege to be the Cycle Champion for Liverpool Cathedral and to have been part of the relay. Cycling is an eco-friendly method of transport which also benefits mental and physical health, so it’s a win-win activity. The fact that the Anglican cathedrals across England are now linked by a network of cycle routes, offers an exciting, fun and safe challenge for all standards of cyclists and on all types of bike.”
Dean of Liverpool, Dr Sue Jones said,
“We’re extremely pleased to a part of this cycling initiative which allows us to welcome people to encounter our building as pilgrims.
“Cycling between cathedrals is such a wonderful way to combine modern-day pilgrimage while affording those travelling not only to take stock of their environment but to do so in an eco-friendly manner.
“At the beginning of our journey I joined the team. Liverpool is blessed with two cathedrals and I cycled with the team to Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral, where Father Tony and I sent Stephen and the Liverpool team on their travels with our prayers.”
Dean of Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral, Canon Anthony O’Brien said:
“We are delighted to support this national initiative, which encourages people to explore our wonderful Cathedrals, whilst promoting greener, healthier ways to reach them”.
The team cycled as part of a relay on a 2,000-mile Cathedrals Cycle Route which is the invention of academic, entrepreneur and keen cyclist Shaun Cutler, from Northumbria University.
Shaun with a small group of cyclists, launched the route with the relay event -Cycling With Purpose, from Newcastle Cathedral on Sunday 30 May.
The Liverpool team were part of day 38 after a specially commissioned baton, an Olympic torch-style, was passed to them by the team cycling from Chester on Monday afternoon.
Shaun, who has worked with Newcastle Cathedral, Sustrans, Cycling UK and the British Pilgrimage Trust to design the linked routes, has said that the Cathedrals Cycle Route is about connecting historic cathedrals and enjoying the spaces between them.
He believes, 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 while promoting the mission of England’s cathedrals through pilgrimage, wellbeing and heritage.
The relay ride will raise money for Cycling UK’s Break the Cycle appeal, which aims to help improve people’s wellbeing through the charity’s community cycling clubs, activities and projects nationwide.
It is hoped that the relay ride will become an annual event and will encourage people to get on their bikes this year and beyond.
Cathedrals are aiming to have a dedicated cycle champion to improve the cycle-readiness of their buildings, ensure a warm welcome for visiting cyclists and increase the number arriving on two wheels – currently around five per cent.
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