Vicars in the saddle

Published: Friday, May 31, 2019


They have been getting on their bikes to promote Ride+Stride for Churches.

Vicars from across the country descended on Oxford on Friday (May 31st) to learn how to ride penny farthings to promote Ride + Stride for Churches, a charity event that raises money for the upkeep of historic churches.

A peloton of clergymen and women swept through the city to raise awareness of the annual fundraiser that sees the public sponsored to walk or cycle between churches.

Clergy who signed up received instruction from world experts from the Penny Farthing Club, before the more accomplished and adventurous ones took to the streets.

The event passed off with plenty of nervous laughter and wobbling – but no serious injuries or, worse, blasphemy.

National Ride + Stride chairman Hilary Cakebread Hall described the event as “quite bizarre, but quite brilliant”.

Churches are so important

Mrs Cakebeard Hall added: “Churches are so important spiritually and aesthetically, and they are the setting for some of the most important events in all of our lives – baptisms, weddings and funerals.

“They are also increasingly becoming a focus for the wider community, and Ride + Stride for Churcheshelps them do this by funding kitchens and heating that make them available to the public for events every day of the week, not just for Sunday services.

“Ride + Stride is not just for people who go to church every weekend.

“It is for couples and individuals who want an excuse for riding miles on a Saturday, or for families who want to do something fun and worthwhile.”

Ride + Stride takes place this year on Saturday, 14 September. Nationally, the event raises more than £1million annually. The National Churches Trust helps to co-ordinate the event and runs the national website

Clergy are game for a laugh!

Rev Davd Salter, from Chipping Norton in Oxfordshire, was one of the clergy taking part.

He said: “Ride + Stride raises such a lot of money and I wanted to give something back by helping to promote a great event.

“Hopefully, this shows that we are grateful for the support of the public and also that clergy are game for a laugh.

“It was silly and a bit scary at the same time. I will be lobbying for the organisers to hold a more sedate launch event next year.”

For more details on how to take part in Ride + Stride 2019 go to