This post was first published by The Croydon Citizen on 04/08/2017.
The Croydon interfaith bike ride 2017
On a sunny Sunday 2nd July in Park Hill Recreation Ground, a team of fifty-five cyclists dinged their bells as they cycled over the finish line. Then they gathered together for a smiling photo and lunch organised by South Norwood mosque. The atmosphere as they all tucked into a curry was welcoming, fun and summery, with lots of the younger people still whizzing around on their bikes.
It felt like a snapshot of Croydon: people with faith, people without, older people and cyclists as young as five, all in one place to enjoy a bike ride and picnic to learn more about different religious traditions in Croydon. They cycled ten miles all in all, to promote understanding between faiths.
They’d pedalled off that morning from Croydon Sports Arena, picked up more people at Boxpark, then carried on to visit a couple of places of worship in Croydon.They were welcomed at the Sikh gurdwara on St James’s Road and stopped off at Croydon’s only Jewish synagogue in Shirley, before rounding their ride off in Park Hill.
After everyone had eaten their fill, the organisers boxed up what was left and took it over to the refugee centre in Thornton Heath, just in time for the first group of people arriving for dinner.
The event, set up by Croydon Council and Faiths Together in Croydon, (FTIC) is now in its third year. And, this year saw its biggest turnout yet – with lots of happy cyclists (and very friendly drivers on the roads) to boot. That makes it the largest bike ride of its kind in the world. If you missed it, come along next year for the bike ride and picnic. Or if that’s too far off, there are a few things you can do right now.
Get in touch with FTIC to set up your own ride, walk, picnic – or whatever you fancy. If you’re religious, have a go at cycling to worship rather than jumping in the car. Or if you’re not, pop into any of Croydon’s places of worship to find out more about what they’re doing in their communities.
This autumn, there are a number of interesting events just around the corner. Faiths Together in Croydon will be running a Durga Puja event in the Braithwaite Hall, Katharine Street, from Thursday 28th September to Sunday 1st October, a Mela in Wandle Park on 30th September and a photography competition to go alongside national Interfaith Week in November.