Ride+Stride for churches

Published: Friday, September 1, 2017


On your 'bikes to save England’s historic churches and chapels on 9 September.

Over 8,000 churches, chapels and meeting houses in England will open specially on Saturday 9 September 2017 to welcome walkers and cyclists taking part in ‘Ride+Stride for Churches’ the annual fundraising day for historic church buildings.

‘Ride+Stride for Churches’  is a sponsored bike ride or walk discovering England’s heritage of religious buildings. From Northumbria to Yorkshire and Cornwall to Kent, Riders+Striders raise money for their favourite church or chapel and also for the local church trust in the county in which they take part.

In 2017, ‘Ride+Stride for Churches’  is aiming raise £1.5 million to help safeguard the future of England’s historic churches, chapels and meeting houses.

The event started in 1981 and has now raised over £31 million to help maintain and restore churches and chapels of many Christian denominations including  the Church of England, Roman Catholic, Methodist Baptist and Quaker. The money raised is a vital lifeline to many places of worship unable to afford the high cost of looking after buildings that are often hundreds of years old.

David Knowles,  the ‘Ride+Stride for Churches’ National Committee Chairman said:

“Since ‘Ride+Stride for Churches’ was born in Suffolk in 1982 the annual event has spread throughout England to become a much loved national day of fundraising and fellowship.”

“It raises substantial sums to help preserve and restore our churches, chapels and meeting houses, with 50% of the money raised being donated to individual places of Christian worship and the remainder being distributed to local church trusts which help fund church repairs.”

“As 2016 saw torrential downpours in much of England, this year we’re hoping for good weather to bring out cyclists and walkers around the country. I  hope that anyone visiting churches as part of Heritage Open Days, which takes place on the same day,  will help Ride+Stride for Churches by putting some money in the collecting plate or donating to a local church trust via JustGiving.”

Full details

Full details of events taking place in England can be found on the Ride+Stride for churches website

New events taking place this year include:


In Essex and Suffolk the Colchester Chamber Choir under the direction of world famous opera singer Roderick Earle will be racing a Choral Steeplechase between churches on the Essex/Suffolk border with the aim of performing in as many as possible.  The choir will start in Ipswich at 10 am on Saturday 9 September 2017 before making their way towards Hadleigh and Sudbury and finishing by 6 pm. The repertoire will include sacred music from Tudor times to the 20th century. Sponsorship will be split between churches and support for young singers and musicians at the start of their careers.


A circular walk around central Oxford to and from Christ Church, visiting seven churches including a Baptist and Methodist church, organised by the Oxfordshire Historic Churches Trust. Walkers can join Revd Canon Edmund Newey, Sub Dean of Christ Church Oxford who will be undertaking the walk with his family.


In Reading, the Berkshire Historic Churches Trust have devised a Hunt the Animal walk. This takes in eight churches or chapels in central Reading and in each one participants are invited to look for a bird or animal featured somewhere in the building.


Ride+Stride for churches returns to Rutland in 2017 and welcome anyone who is willing to take on a personal challenge. Horse riders are welcome and they are also looking  for a unicyle or three-legged team!  Rutland Historic Churches Trust is also featuringa new category of riders called Starbursters. a team of cyclists starting from a single place, such as their home church, with the objective that every one of the churches in Rutland is visited by one (or more) member of the team.


In Yorkshire Rod Ismay, author of Bells & Bikes  and whose passions are Yorkshire, cycling, and bell ringing, has picked 16 churches from the 2017 Tour de Yorkshire for Riders+Striders to visit and enjoy; all looking great from the saddle. They include Saltaire’s URC church, known as the ‘cathedral of congregationalism’.  Saltaire is only of only two URC churches in England to have a ring of bells. New learners are always welcome.

Safety Tips

Anyone taking part in Ride+Stride is asked to make sure they stay safe on the road


  • · Check the weather forecast and adjust your start time, route and clothing accordingly.
  • · Wear a helmet and something hi vis such as a fluorescent jacket.
  • · Take a mobile phone and a map; both are  vital if you have to call for assistance.
  •   If in a group, comply with your leader’s instructions keep together but do not obstruct the highway.
  •   Do not ride side by side in traffic.
  • · Remember that audio headsets reduce your ability to hear traffic approaching from behind you.


  • · As above, but remember to walk facing oncoming traffic wherever it is feasible
  • · Listen carefully for traffic, especially if you have to walk in the road on a bend and be ready to get off the carriageway
  • · If in a group of more than two or three, consider splitting into subgroups.

 Horse riders

  • · As above but plan a route that avoid roads as far as possible