The Lord Mayor of Manchester will officially welcome and formally start a short tour by the Norwegian-based ‘Bike for Peace’ group this Saturday 12 May in Manchester Central Library and St Peter’s Square.
This is the third UK-based tour in recent years held by Bike for Peace, which uses the mode of cycling to bring communities together and promote peace. Bike for Peace also supports the work of Mayors for Peace, of which Manchester is a Vice President.
Bike for Peace was established by Tore Naerland, and is a Norwegian based organization seeking to initiate and develop a grassroot concern for the local environment, as well as creating an understanding of the national and global consequences of the actions of individuals, communities and campaigns. The first campaign was run in 1978 in Northern Ireland. Bike for Peace works for peace, and our common environment, across regions and nations, languages and cultures across the world.
Over the 40 years of the organisation, Bike for Peace has organized peace and friendship rides in more than 104 countries. During its tours, Bike for Peace has met many well-known political, religious and cultural leaders like Popes John Paul II and Francis, General Secretaries of the United Nations Boutros Boutros Ghali, Perez de Cuellar and Ban Ki-Moon, the former President of Poland Lech Walesa, the former President of Ireland Mary Robinson, Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and the Mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Recent UK-based tours include Bike for Peace’s world tour in 2014, which started in Manchester and took in Coventry, Westminster, France, Italy (including a reception with Pope Francis), China, the United States (including a reception with the UN Secretary General) and Norway. In 2015, the group held a Scottish tour taking in Edinburgh, Fife, Dundee, Perth, Faslane, Paisley and Glasgow prior to the independence referendum.
The delegation will jointly be led this time by Bike for Peace Co-ordinator Tore Naerland, and Svein-Arne Jerstad, the former Mayor of Kveindal, close to Stavanger. It will include other former Mayors and current members of the Bike for Peace group.
The short tour of England will commence with a civic reception in the Lord Mayor’s Suite, Manchester Central Library at 11.30am on Saturday 12th May. The delegation will then cycle off from St Peter’s Square, bound for Warrington. On Sunday 13th May the delegation will visit the Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Peace Centre in Warrington and hear of their work, some of which includes counselling those affected by last year’s terrorist incident in Manchester. On Monday 14th May the delegation will be visiting peace groups in Liverpool and getting a guided tour of places like the International Slavery Museum.
Bike for Peace was recently in Kazakhstan and later in 2018 is planning a bike tour in Serbia and Kosovo. In 2016 Tore Naerland was awarded the Gandhi Peace Foundation UK Peace Prize at a special ceremony in the Houses of Parliament. Earlier this year he was also awarded a special award for promoting peace by the King of Norway.
The Lord Mayor of Manchester, Councillor Eddy Newman, said:
“I will be delighted to meet the delegation from Bike for Peace and hear about their work. Sport, and in this case, cycling, can be a medium that can bring communities in conflict with each other together to develop friendship and toleration in a safe setting. Over its forty year history, Bike for Peace has regularly brought together many different people and promoted important values of peace, tolerance and education. Its alliance with the Mayors for Peace for our dual aim of a world without nuclear weapons and more safer, peaceful and resilient cities chimes very much with the work of the Council through our role as a Vice President of Mayors for Peace. I wish them well on their English tour of Manchester, Warrington and Liverpool.”