Sunday, May 16, 2010

Blessing of the Bikes

For a few years I've been visiting Somerset County here in Pennsylvania, and each spring I saw signs for the "Blessing of the Bikes" at the Somerset Alliance Church. In years past my visits didn't coincide with the weekend on which they'd be doing the blessing, but this time it finally did and I was able to attend it! I've only been back a few hours.

I didn't count the bikes, but judging by the number of rows I think 250 would be a conservative estimate. As at the Johnstown Thunder in the Valley rally last summer, it was quite impressive seeing so many bikes and their riders all assembled in one place. Though held in the church parking lot, the atmosphere was reserved with all in attendance seeming to be aware that this was "church" - a prayerful gathering. The riders shared a spirit of camaraderie, and many seemed to be meeting up with old friends. It was nice being a part of the event/service in spite of being there in the Neon.

Scooters were represented by this vintage Honda Elite that had been outfitted with a cassette player and speakers! Following the blessing there was a ride to a nearby field where lunch was being served. We didn't stick around to watch the riders leave because I figured it would take quite a while to get out if we did, so I'm not sure if this little guy's rider tried to keep up with the big dogs.

I was heartened when the minister made it clear that the bikes themselves weren't being blessed. The invocation for protection and safety was for all who ride cycles, so I was included though I was without bike.

Sponsored by the Somerset "Riders of Faith" which seems to be one of the adult ministries at the Somerset Alliance Church the event was generously offered. Coffee and doughnuts were free, as was the lunch though we didn't go to that. There were copies of the New Testament specifically printed for bikers as were there ride pins freely distributed. I'm not sure what creed the church professes in relation to denominations whose names I recognize, but they can be proud for giving to the community a sterling example of the spirit of Christianity.


kz1000st said...

Attended by Neon?? I don't have my map of PA handy. How far away was this blessing that you couldn't take a 250cc scooter? Family commitments? What? Inquiring minds want to know?

Joe said...

It's about 250 miles away and I won't take the scooter that far nor on the big roads that lead to there.

I've had scooter distress locally and that was bad enough. I can't imagine being broken down 150 miles away and at the mercy of AAA which I'm told has outsourced its roadside assistance which might account for its piss poor record as of late. It's different when you can wait in your car for the tow truck to arrive as opposed to standing on the side of a highway for an hour or better.

The stretch of I-80 that I take between Bloomsburg and Altoona is home of the most inconsiderate, rude, and obnoxious truckers I've ever shared a road with. The way they drive scares me in the car, never mind seeing one of their grilles approaching in the twin mirrors of the BV.

Taking the backroads and byways would simply add too much length and time to the trip to make it enjoyable.

Last, the weather is too unpredictable. I have to be back for work on Monday and if the skies were to open up during any part of the trip I might have to postpone my return. I've watched guys on motorcycles in severe storms on this same road, and I can't imagine how they were even able to see while riding behind the backsplash of a big truck.

In short - I'm just chicken.


Lance said...

Joe, very nice post. I have wanted to go to a blessing, so I thank you for a glimpse into one. That bronze Honda Elite (250cc I beleive) looked pretty cool!