The Diocese of Exeter is actively encouraging more clergy and other licensed ministers to cycle – including by electric bike! In 2012 a few e-bikes were trialled adding to the existing number of cycling clergy.
The perks of e-bikes include staying fitter, no licence required, easy re-fuelling and maintenance; they can be used on roads and cycle paths, there is less exertion and more help on Devon’s challenging hills.
One of those who took advantage of the scheme was Revd. Stephen Cook. He said: “I have now had my electric bike for about six months. Okehampton is very hilly and I would struggle to go many places on an ordinary bike without arriving sweaty and out of breath. The electric bike means that I have to do a bit of exercise (you still have to pedal), but I can sail in serenely. The best part is passing young lycra-clad cyclists on hills on my rather heavy-looking bike which isn’t obviously powered!”
Andy Dodwell is a curate in Barnstaple: “I use my (non-electric) bike pretty much every day- my aim is to try and cycle more miles per month than I drive, and usually I manage it. I use it to keep fit (which is why I didn’t go with the electric bike option), to reduce my carbon footprint, and also because it’s much easier to just stop and talk to people in the street when I’m on my bike.”
Revd. Dave Carrington from Stoke Canon is a regular cyclist: “I find using a bike saves the Mission Community money, is environmentally friendly, keeps me fit, is enjoyable (in most weathers!), witnesses to Gospel principles (both to church members and to other road-users), and disposes of parking problems.”
Graham Hamilton, vicar at Bovey Tracey, referred to being more visible on a bike to parishioners and others in the local community.
From Central Exeter, priest Sheila Swarbrick spoke of the importance of the right accessories (panniers, waterproofs, lights and locks) and the ease of parking for hospital visiting, fitting exercise into daily routine as well as saving money and carbon.
As a further incentive low-interest loans may be available to parishes and Mission Communities who wish to purchase electric bikes for clergy and laity. Test rides can also be arranged on request.
Please contact Martyn Goss for further details, on 01392 294940 or firstname.lastname@example.org.