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Pedal power at Lambeth - Shrinking the Footprint supports Rabbi relay bike ride

Wednesday 14th March 2012

Cycling Church of England staff and London clergy stopped off at Lambeth Palace on their way to work to show support for the Jewish community’s Year of the Bike launched this week by the Board of Deputies of British Jews.


The cyclists were greeted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, and Rabbi Nathan Levy, who is part of the Rabbi Relay Ride bike adventure taking place this summer.

The Bishop of London, the Rt Revd Richard Chartres, chair of the Church of England’s national environmental campaign, Shrinking the Footprint, said: ""The Church of England is committed to a more sustainable way of life with churches up and down the country involved in initiatives in their local communities. Supporting the Year of the Bike is another way to show the importance of sustainable and healthier lifestyles."

Rabbi Shoshana Boyd-Gelfand, one of the Rabbi's cycling in the relay ride organised by the charity Gefiltefest, said: "I'm not the obvious candidate to ride a bike to raise awareness for environmental issues as I didn't even own a bike before I agreed to do this! But my Jewish identity forces me to think about what small actions I can take to make a difference in the world. Each positive action leads to the next. So by showing my commitment to sustainable transport I hope to inspire both myself and others to devote their time and energy to do the same. If so, then my sore legs will be justified!"

A cycle to work scheme has been introduced for CofE staff at Church House, Westminster, as well as at Lambeth Palace and Bishopthorpe Palace, the offices of the two archbishops. Dioceses are also promoting cycle awareness with Oxford running workshops and Manchester encouraging clergy and staff to register on their cycle to work scheme.

Clergy in London and Southwark dioceses regularly use bikes to beat the central London traffic. Martin Carr, a licensed lay minister at All Hallows by the Tower who attended today’s launch, is a cycle campaigner and regularly blogs about his trips on the capital's ‘Boris bikes’.


The Diocese of Exeter is encouraging its staff and clergy to explore the option of using an electric bike instead of a car to reduce carbon emissions.


Martyn Goss, Director of Church & Society in Exeter, said "Cycling in general is better both for the environment and for personal good health. However, it is not always possible for reasons of geography and ability. Electric bikes expand cycling as an option for more people and, financially, are also much less expensive than running a second car.’

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