The Holy Bikers
Revs to visit 30 cathedrals in charity ride across Ireland
You've heard of the Hairy Bikers – now meet the Holy Bikers!
These are the two Church of Ireland reverends who are revving up the horsepower after stepping out of their pulpits for an epic ride across Ireland.
Rev Nigel Kirkpatrick and Rev Andrew McCroskery set off yesterday on a 10-day journey which will see them visit all 30 Church of Ireland cathedrals – an epic adventure taking in some 1,500 miles.
They are aiming to raise £10,000 for the United Society, a missionary body that has worked in partnership with Anglican dioceses throughout the world.
A lot of its work is focused on Swaziland in southern Africa, which has one of the highest HIV infection rates in the world.
Rev McCroskery said the trip was coinciding with the 300th anniversary of the society.
"We are touring around all 30 cathedrals of the Church of Ireland, it's about 1,500 miles and all in 10 days," he explained.
The first stage yesterday saw them depart from St Anne's Cathedral in Belfast.
They went on to Lisburn and Dromore, before they finished up in Armagh.
From there the pair will work their way around Ireland, passing through Fermanagh, Sligo, Limerick, Cork, Kilkenny and Dublin before finishing up back in Belfast on August 10.
"I've been biking for more than 10 years," added Rev McCroskery, who is from Northern Ireland but is rector of St Batholomew's Church in Dublin.
"The two of us came up with the idea that this would be a good way of raising funds and raising awareness, and it has the added bonus of raising the profile of the cathedrals, because some of them are small and overlooked."
Meanwhile, Rev Kirkpatrick, from Gilnahirk Church in Belfast, took up biking in 1998, and is looking forward to their all-Ireland adventure.
"We have a shared interest in motorbiking and we wanted to do something this summer, and as the conversation progressed we decided to do it for charity," he said.
"A lot of this is about raising awareness of the charity's work in Swaziland, which is so crucial."
As they journey around, the two ministers will lead a short service with prayers for the United Society and its work in Swaziland at each cathedral.
They have written to every parish in the Church of Ireland asking for prayers and a donation to the work of the United Society.
"If every cathedral was able to donate £300 we would make £9,000, then with the other contributions we pick up along the way, £10,000 could be within reach," added Rev Kirkpatrick.
They are also inviting other motorcycle fans to join them on various stages of their journey in exchange for a donation.
Follow their progress on Twitter: @BikersOnMission