Charity Riders set off towards Bradford Cathedral for part one of their ‘Riding for Adam’ challenge

Mark Bayliss and his brother-in-law James Van Cleef will be heading out to tackle the first half of the new ‘Cathedrals Cycle Route’ this month, starting at Truro Cathedral on Friday 3rd September before arriving almost three weeks later here, at Bradford Cathedral.

They have already raised the impressive figure £180k for Cancer Research UK through their pilgrimage rides in memory of James’ son Adam, who died of cancer aged 24.

Ahead of them setting off and us welcoming them nearer the end of the month, we spoke to Mark to ask him a few questions about their challenge.

James and Mark at Truro Cathedral for the send-off on 03 September 2021

You are cycling the first half of the Cathedrals Cycle Route in September 2021, from Truro to Bradford, and then in May next year completing the route. Why are you undertaking this challenge?

Two reasons for the Cathedrals Cycle Route – First, I am ‘Riding for Adam’ fundraising for Cancer Research UK with James, my brother-in-law, who lost his son (my nephew) Adam to cancer in 2018 age 23. Second, we had planned our cycling swan song in the USA for this year, but have deferred due to the pandemic; and we’re just too old to stop, so this domestic ride (officially opened June this year) is ideal.

You’ve done lots of cycling challenges including John O’Groats to Lands End and the Camino de Santiago. What attracted you to this way of fundraising?

I am not a cyclist; more a fundraiser with a bike. It started with something of a dare to ride John o’Groats to Land’s End and then just got a bit out of hand really.

What sort of things have you learnt from your cycling challenges?

Something new on every ride, but most importantly, mental and spiritual fitness

What’s the most impressive place you’ve been whilst cycling?

Burgos Cathedral, Spain. Or was it sunset on the beach at Durness?

The map of the first half of their journey

Your final ride will be from New York City to Los Angeles – what are you most looking forward to about that route?

The best and the worst will be Santa Monica pier. We will be away from loved ones longer than ever before, so will be desperate to be reunited, but also I don’t want it to end. I’d give it all up in a heartbeat, but Adam has given me the time of my life.

You’re visiting all the English Cathedrals on this new challenge – is visiting Cathedrals important to you and your faith?

On our cycling jerseys are the words, ‘So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:18.’

Yes we are men of faith and the Cathedral Cycle Tour is for me a journey of pilgrimage. Sometimes we don’t understand how life turns out, but to whom else shall we go?

How can people find out more about your latest challenge, and support it with fundraising?

Searching on-line ‘Riding for Adam’ will find us on Twitter and Facebook; or go to ridingforadam.com, where you will find a link direct to our Cancer Research UK giving page. From the 3rd September you can also track our progress live by using the link on our website.

It has been announced this week that Riding for Adam has won this year’s Flame of Hope award from Cancer Research UK.

Finally, what would you say to anyone looking to tackle a challenge like this by bike?

I wouldn’t do it other than for fundraising, so you need to identify your passion. I remember a school teacher once said, ‘When you’ve found something worth dying for, you will have found a reason to live.’ Big passion, else you probably won’t make it, and you certainly won’t enjoy it.

As mentioned above, you can find out much more about their challenge over on their website: https://www.ridingforadam.com/. We look forward to welcoming them on the 21st September!

You can find out more about the Cathedrals Cycle Route – and how to get involved – on the Bradford Cathedral website.

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