On Friday 7 July 2017 a group of 18 people will be getting on their bicycles to start their journey from the zero kilometre stone at Canterbury Cathedral to St Peter’s Basilica, Rome following the Via Francigena. For ten of the cyclists, this will be our second trip as we first travelled the Via by bike in 2007. Back then, we were raising money to help a major renovation of Canterbury Cathedral which is recognised throughout the world as the Mother Church of the Anglican Communion and enjoys an international reputation as a place of worship and pilgrimage. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the world’s greatest buildings.
A lot has happened since our first trip: an Anglican Canon has become a Bishop, a student is now a Doctor, grand children have been born and marriages made. But the constants have been a love of cycling, travelling and camaraderie. The special journey lead to the formation of the Canterbury Velo Club as an outlet for our new found passion for long distance cycling. Every year since 2007, CVC has spent one week or two travelling the roads of Europe and ten years later, it seems fitting to tackle again the 1800 km Via Francigena. We will be taking only 15 days, with one rest day at Aosta, to reach Rome on Friday 21 July. We cycle an average of 130 km a day. Our shortest day is 100km when we climb the 2469m Grand St Bernard pass and our longest is 168km from Arras to Reims. We really look forward to enjoying the sights, sounds, food and wines of the countries we cross as well as the hospitality of the people we encounter!