Liverpool’s cathedrals join UK cycling challenge
Staff from both Liverpool Cathedral and the Metropolitan Cathedral joined a nationwide push to encourage people to cycle and improve their mental health. Tony McDonough reports
Staff from Liverpool’s two cathedrals have ridden 37 miles as part of a national scheme to encourage people to use pedal power to visit cathedrals, reduce their carbon footprint and improve their mental health.
Stephen Mannings, director of music outreach at Liverpool Cathedral and 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.
“It is a great privilege to be the ‘cycle champion’ for Liverpool Cathedral and to have been part of the relay,” said Stephen. “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 Metropolitan Cathedral, Canon Anthony O’Brien added: “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, May 30. 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.