Interfaith Bike Ride and Picnic 2016
This year we had our picnic on June 5th so that it did not coincide with Ramadan which started the next day. Luckily it was a glorious day in the wettest June since 1903. We raised money for this year’s bike ride through Croydon’s Spacehive system and so thank you to all those who pledged time and money to help.
I waved the riders off in the morning and later went to Parkhill recreation ground to set up the food tables and picnic site. When I got there the mayor had arrived an hour early so after a quick discussion he went away and came back later, which was very kind of him.
People from many different faith communities turned up and were able to chat with the Mayor and the Bishop of Croydon, Councillor Ali and each other. The riders got to the park at half past two and had had a great time. (see Ann’s write up on their visits). The South Norwood Mosque community came with masses of hot food, which was paid for by the Bishop. Also one family had brought a lovely homemade cake with FTIC in Malteaser’s on the top as well as a huge number of iced fairy cakes.
It was a great afternoon and thanks to all those who helped organise, raise money and get 30 bike riders safely round Croydon and host the visits to the Hindu Temple, West Croydon Baptist church and The London Road Mosque. We are already organising next year’s picnic so look out for the date and come and join in.
A rider's view
On one of the very few sunny days we have had this year, around 25 of us gathered at Croydon Arena with our bikes. There were a variety of bikes, including a tandem, a tricycle and a wheelchair hand bike. After a couple of circuits of the arena with instruction from Mark Browne, Croydon Cycling Instructor, we set off. We started with a loop around South Norwood Country Park and then headed through South Norwood to our first stop, the Hare Krishna Temple. This is an amazing place, set in the back garden of a suburban house. We were greeted by Nabhi who told us about the beliefs and customs of the group. We were then treated to some fresh fruit before saying our goodbyes.
After a quick puncture repair we were on our way again, heading for the West Croydon Baptist Church. Here we were welcomed by the Minister, Reuben, who told us the history of this beautiful Victorian building and about the different activities that happen in the church including the Refugee Day Centre and the floating Homeless Shelter.
We then ventured out on to the Hogarth roundabout and along quieter roads to the London Road Mosque. Here we were treated to a history of the Mosque from Mr Zafar and how Muslims in Croydon began to meet in the mid 1960s, eventually moving to this site in 1970 which has been developed as funds were raised.
As we were running behind schedule, Mark decided to take us straight through Croydon. We attracted a great deal of attention cycling up North End through the busy Sunday shoppers. Eventually we reached Park Hill and joined the group waiting for us for the picnic.
Many thanks to Mark and his team for guiding us so safely through the Croydon streets.