On a breezy evening in Blackpool, 20 brave cyclists gathered together as Team CAFOD before setting off along the Promenade to ride their bikes.
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.
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.
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?
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!!!
Mark – Finding the team and receiving a great welcome! … and seeing all the bikes of every shape and size in one place.
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!
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
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….