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2,000-mile cycle challenge pedals into Norwich Cathedral Close

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The new 2,000-mile relay ride connects the country’s 42 Church of England Cathedrals and the specially-commissioned CCR baton changed hands in Norwich on Thursday 10 and Friday 11 June.

Cyclists from Ely delivered the baton to Norwich on Thursday afternoon, after completing a 54-mile route, and they were cheered on by a welcoming committee as they crossed the Norwich finish line.

On Friday morning, the Norwich contingent pedalled out of the Cathedral’s Erpingham Gate to start the 42-mile journey to St Edmundsbury Cathedral in Bury St Edmunds. The Dean of Norwich, the Very Revd Jane Hedges, blessed the cyclists before they set off at 9.30am.

The inaugural Cathedrals Cycle Route – which started from Newcastle Cathedral on Sunday 30 May to coincide with Bike Week – aims to celebrate the nation’s Cathedrals and promote greener travel and mental and physical wellbeing. It is the result of a unique partnership between Sustrans, Cycling UK, the British Pilgrimage Trust and the Association of English Cathedrals.

The Dean of Norwich, the Very Revd Jane Hedges, said: “It is wonderful to join all our fellow Anglican Cathedrals across the country in hosting the new Cathedrals Cycle Route. Relays are all about teamwork and it is really inspiring to see cyclists from all over the country taking up this new challenge.”

The relay route, which starts and finishes at Newcastle Cathedral, is the invention of academic, entrepreneur and keen cyclist Shaun Cutler, from Northumbria University.

He said: “The Cathedrals Cycle Route is about connecting our historic cathedrals and enjoying the spaces between them. 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 Norwich leg of the relay ride is raising money for local mental health charity Norfolk and Waveney Mind as well as 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 more and more people to get on their bikes this year and beyond.