a MONK will set off on the journey of a lifetime tomorrow to raise money for his crumbling church.
Fr George Guiver will cycle 105 miles from Monkwearmouth, where the Venerable Bede lived, to Mirfield – the home of his church, the Community of the Resurrection, finishing his ride on Sunday.
At Mirfield the brethren have engaged in a huge project to renovate their church at a cost of £2 m.
A recent auction raised more than £50,000 and more than £500,000 has been raised altogether.
Fr George says he will be using a 1980s Bickerton folding bicycle which he has adapted – the wobbly U-shaped handlebars have been replaced by a single steering-column from a child’s scooter, with a hinge from an abandoned motor-scooter, which enables the steering to be folded away.
The handlebars came from a car boot sale, and to the Sturmey-Archer gears, originally three, he has added a fourth.
Made from alloy, the bike is extremely light, but the rear fork is made of steel taken from an ancient pushbike after the alloy originals collapsed under him in the middle of Northumberland.
He said: “Hard riding puts pressure on small wheels, and I have learnt to carry a supply of spokes.
“The bike is a delight to ride and gets you there at a rate not far different from that of a normal bike.
“The highest speed so far recorded shooting down a hill is 34.5mph which, surprisingly, is terrifying on a bicycle. Even though on occasion something goes wrong, a solution usually presents itself, and I carry a full kit of tools.
“The route chosen for this sponsored ride is entirely on cycle paths or small country lanes, apart from very brief sorties onto main roads, which I dislike and avoid at all costs.
“I expect to sing or say the Midday Office in or outside country churches as I go, praying for all the people in God’s world to whom the Community of the Resurrection wants to bring an adventurous sense of his joy and his Life.”