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Last Updated: Monday, 27 August 2007, 14:06 GMT 15:06 UK
Fundraising cyclists reach Rome
Cyclists leaving Canterbury Cathedral (pic: Canterbury Cathedral)
The cyclists travelled 75 miles a day on their pilgrimage
A group of cyclists following in the footsteps of ancient pilgrims in aid of Canterbury Cathedral have arrived in Rome after travelling 1,200 miles.

The team of 27 riders, aged between 16 and 66, cycled along the ancient "Via Francigena" pilgrimage from Canterbury.

During the trip, which went through France and Switzerland, they climbed more than 50,000ft, in temperatures from five to 40 degrees centigrade.

They raised over 100,000 for the 50m Save Canterbury Cathedral appeal.

Twenty other local, national and international charities will also benefit.

Along the way, the cyclists ate 600 loaves of bread, 1,500 bananas, 600 croissants, 600 bowls of pasta and about 200 pizzas.

Wherever we have gone we have been met by great friendship
Canon Edward Condry

They were greeted on Sunday with Solemn Vespers in St Peters Square and then presented with their Pilgrim certificates.

Canon Edward Condry, Canon Treasurer of Canterbury Cathedral, was among the riders on the trip.

"It has been a fantastic ride. Twenty-seven people, supported by six wonderful volunteers, have achieved a lifetime's dream," he said.

"Wherever we have gone we have been met by great friendship.

"Towns have welcomed us with meals and entertainment.

Crumbling mortar

"We have had grand official receptions as well as one unforgettable moment when on a hot day in a small French village we stopped and a man came out with a crate of beer for us to share."

The team of six women and 21 men trained for a year before the ride - some were experienced cyclists, while others had never cycled further than their nearest shop.

The pilgrimage route was first recorded by Archbishop of Canterbury, Sigeric, in 990AD, when he travelled to Rome to see the Pope.

Canterbury Cathedral launched a 50m appeal in 2006 to repair leaking roofs and crumbling mortar. It has currently raised 7m.


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