Ride the lights for bikes for Africa

On a breezy evening in Blackpool, 20 brave cyclists gathered together as Team CAFOD before setting off along the Promenade to ride their bikes.

Team CAFOD in Blackpool


Their aim? To enjoy the route, the atmosphere, but also to show solidarity with other cyclists on the other side of the world. Bikes are a crucial part of the healthcare programmes supported by CAFOD in Mozambique, Rwanda and Nigeria.

Rachel, Patrick and Hayley - the part of the team that didn't cycle but expended lots of energy behind the scenes

In some remote parts of Africa, bikes are the only means of transport enabling care and treatment to reach the most vulnerable – giving them the life-giving support they need.

Two younger members of the team ready to go!

Back in Blackpool, previewing the world famous Blackpool Illuminations, Team CAFOD pedalled down the Prom to raise funds to provide more bikes for Africa.

We asked the cyclists for their thoughts and here are some of their replies….

Your thoughts as you were about to start to Ride the Lights?

Mary and Mark after the ride

Jon – I was really excited because there were thousands of people around – cyclists as far as the eye could see! I also thought back to why we were cycling for our partners in Africa who need our support which really spurred me on.

Mary – A sense of solidarity with the ‘live simply’ idea – enjoying and sharing simple pleasures like cycling and being out in the fresh air.

Fr Joe – I was just thinking how lucky we were to
have such a lovely sunny evening for the ride – and no wind!!!



Best moments?

Fr Joe and team



Mark – Finding the team and receiving a great welcome! … and seeing all the bikes of every shape and size in one place.

 Fr Joe – Meeting people I hadn’t seen for a long time – in
fact from my first parish of St Clare’s, Preston. Seeing the two young children who had come to take part. Hope for the future!

Jon – Going down hill, free-wheeling, feeling the breeze across my face and the bright lights of Blackpool dazzling all around us!


Jon looking relaxed with mum and dad

Any scary moments?

Mary – Crossing paths with a low flying bat. By this time I had left the lights well behind and was in a dark country lane, on my way home, still on my bike!

Jon – Seeing a girl who had come off her bike in the middle of the road with hundreds of bikes narrowly avoiding her!

Fr Joe – Overtaking a youngster “drifting” out towards
me, and at the same time facing an oncoming bike coming at a fair old



CAFOD cyclists pedal along the Prom

And at the end of the ride?


Mark –  A brilliant experience and something I would recommend, whatever your cycling abilities.

Fr Joe – I enjoyed the evening. Perhaps next year we could
ask for some more volunteers to take part. I’m sure it would appeal to our young people.

Jon – Can we do it again?!  It was wonderful to be able to represent CAFOD and to know how our small efforts could make such a difference to the lives of people thousands of miles away.

THANK YOU to all the cyclists, the organisers and all who have supported them.  I hear that next year’s Ride the Lights is already in the diary!

Finally, some more of the team enjoying the evening….

Daniel - job done!

A family affair!



Fiona - happy to be there


Hayley, Patrick, Jon and Rachel




3 thoughts on “Ride the lights for bikes for Africa

  1. Nanna and Grandaughter [Aideen and Isabel] had a fun evening. What a great Event.
    The sun was shining and bikes everywhere. It was lovely to see so many families taking part and little children pedalling with sheer delight and determination.
    I will be getting some more of my grandchildren to join in at next years event.
    They dont know it yet but if they read this…..they will. !!!!

  2. I took part in the ride the lights with a friend,Annie, and we were both amazed at the number and varying types of bikes taking part. It was a great evening with good weather,as Fr. Joe said no wind, and nice leisurely pace for most. My wife and sister came to cheer us and have since heard my sister has started training for next year. What a great way to help people less fortunate than ourselves.

  3. I was a bit unsure of what to expect but it was amazing, no traffic just thousands of cyclists all along Blackpool promenade and a gorgeous sunset to make it a truly wonderful event. I think a true sense of solidarity was felt by all.
    My five and nine year olds enjoyed their first real bicycle ride too. We had to leave early but hopefully next year we’ll stay for the fish & chips!

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