This national event started in Suffolk in 1982 when Judith Foord from Aldeburgh came up with the idea of a sponsored churches bike ride for Suffolk. The money raised would be shared equally between the Suffolk Historic Churches Trust and local churches, chosen by the riders. The ride in Suffolk is entirely run by volunteers and we would like to say a huge thank you to them for their efforts.
From the start Judith planned for the ride to become even bigger as, for cyclists living on the Suffolk border, it made sense for churches in adjoining counties to become involved too.
The first year the Suffolk event raised £58,110 and by 1988 it topped £100,000 for the first time and involved walkers and wheelchair riders too. In 2012 the total raised by the Bike Ride was over £150,000.In 2012 the Senior section of Suffolk Guides and Scouts got involved and made the ride their Autumn Challenge.In 2010 a team of riders from Healthy Ambitions Suffolk and a team from Suffolk : Creating the Greenest County joined Suffolk people in the bike ride where cyclists include local history lovers, keen cyclists, church supporters and those who just fancy a ride in the lanes of Suffolk.
The Healthy Ambitions Suffolk team visited 83 churches (four team members to 16 and one to 19 churches),and Suffolk: Creating the Greenest County's four riders also had a good day travelling 30 miles from Ipswich to Kersey taking in 16 churches, that makes a grand total of 64 churches.
Judith's idea of an historic churches sponsored cycle ride has now spread to over thirty counties in the UK and has raised nearly £27m, across the country since it began. Some counties have adopted the idea of the bike ride but call the event “Ride and Stride,” to encourage walkers to take part.
Over 600 churches opened their doors and met cyclists, walkers and those in disability buggies who were raising money to be shared between their chosen church and the Trust, which gives grants to churches, chapels and meeting halls so that they can be preserved for future generations.