So it is that Lola and I find ourselves at The Cathedral of St. John The Divine for the Annual Blessings Of The Bikes.
This is a tradition that began in 1999 and it’s a sort of send off to the Five Boro Bike Tour. Not all present are taking the tour. No matter. Cycling is a big tent and The Cathedral welcomes us all.
At 8:30am, Lola and I are among the first to arrive.
The bagpipers continue to play...
The ceremony proceeds with a psalm, a prayer and then the Blessings of the Bikes. The Reverend proceeds down the aisle sprinkling our bikes with holy water.
I feel badly that Lola can’t participate. Road bikes are considered too serious to have bells. But why would I want to be serious? Why would I want to take the one thing in my life that brings me pure joy, and pollute it with judgments of what is valid and what is not? That’s the great thing about biking. It’s totally democratic; anybody can do it. I determine to find Lola a bell in time for the Tour.
After The Blessings, a moment of remembrance for those killed on bikes last year, and this year. Their names are read, and as the bagpipes play Amazing Grace, a symbolic “Ghost Bike” is wheeled in.
There is a brief announcement encouraging a small donation (I brought no cash, but will do this online). Then a final benediction, and we proceed in grand procession around The Cathedral.
I have to laugh. But why not? In thinking about it, it doesn’t surprise me. Because Steven Spielberg is one of us – he must be. Look at his logo:
Yes, from God to Mammon in approximately ten miles. And like the Blessings of the Bikes, Bike Expo is also an annual event. The two are linked.
As I say, the thing about bicyclists is, we have our own traditions.