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Epic Cycle Relay returns to Newcastle this Sunday


The second national Cathedrals Cycle Route Relay concludes in Newcastle this Sunday 17 July, following a 2,000-mile circuit of all 42 Church of England Cathedrals.


The cyclists will arrive at Newcastle Cathedral – aka the Cathedral Church of St Nicholas – at approximately 12 midday and will be greeted by a welcoming party of clergy, Cathedral staff and members of the public.


This year’s relay set off from Newcastle Cathedral on Monday 6 June, coinciding with the start of Bike Week, Cycling UK’s annual celebration of cycling. In the weeks since, over 200 cyclists joined in, handing the baton from one cathedral to the next.


The route was first launched in 2021, raising funds for mental health charities, and this year, cathedral teams have been raising funds for Alzheimer’s UK, Cancer Research and other local good causes.


One of the cyclists is Shaun Cutler, an academic from Northumbria University and PhD student at Newcastle Cathedral during its recent development.


Shaun initiated the Cycle Route to help us all out of lockdown with opportunities for short cycle rides between cathedrals, new partnerships, and fundraising for activities to support physical and mental wellbeing.


Shaun says: “It’s been a true relay this year! It really has been a collective effort, with a great spirit of togetherness amongst the cathedrals and cyclists.


“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 Most Revd and Rt Hon Stephen Cottrell, Archbishop of York, has endorsed the concept: “I think it was a fantastic idea that Shaun had in linking up all our wonderful cathedrals in a cycle route.


“Showcasing the architecture and worshipping communities, raising money for charities and those in need, as well as keeping fit – what’s not to like!”


Although the relay is a one-off event, members of the public can ride the Cathedrals Cycle Route at any time, travelling part of the way or cycling the entire route.


Stickers and stamps are available for cyclists, and as part of the Cathedral’s redevelopment supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, new cycle stands have been installed outside the building. 


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.


Sarah Mitchell, Cycling UK’s chief executive says: “Riding the unique Cathedrals Cycle Route is a fantastic option. This collection of carefully curated routes run across England, offering incredible views of the countryside, and connecting cathedral cities.”


The Cathedrals Cycle Route Relay concludes at Newcastle Cathedral on Sunday 17 July 2022. For more information about the Cathedrals Cycle Route, visit https://newcastlecathedral.org.uk/the-cathedrals-cycle-route-2022/