A 2,000 mile Cathedrals Cycle Route has been created in a bid to promote greener travel along with better mental and physical wellbeing.
Visitors to any of the 42 Church of England cathedrals will be able to arrive by bike via the cycle route, officially launched next month.
The route is the invention of academic, entrepreneur and keen cyclist Shaun Cutler, from Northumbria University and has been made possible due to a partnership between Sustrans, Cycling UK, the British Pilgrimage Trust and the Association of English Cathedrals.
Cutler and a small group of cyclists will launch the route with a relay event, Cycling With Purpose, setting out from Newcastle Cathedral, the most northerly Anglican Cathedral, on Sunday May 30. The relay will coincide with The World's Biggest Bike Ride, marking the opening day of Bike Week (May 30 - June 5 2021).
"The Cathedrals Cycle Route is about connecting our historic cathedrals and enjoying the spaces between them," Cutler said in a statement.
"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," he added.
The Dean of Blackburn, the Very Revd Peter Howell Jones, a keen cyclist and an executive member of the Association of English Cathedrals added: "Every cathedral has an opportunity to be at the heart of initiatives to support its communities in recovery and as Christian people we have a huge responsibility for the stewardship of our creation.
"The Cathedrals Cycles Route is a wonderful way of bringing together these two important strands of our mission and ministry, and together with the pilgrim routes, allows visitors to appreciate not just the beauty and sanctity of our building, but to enjoy the journey between them as well," he said.
Currently only five per cent of visitors to cathedrals arrive by bike. Each cathedral aims 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 that arrive on two wheels.