Blessing of the Bikes – a Blending of Motorcycles and Faith

For once, it wasn’t raining, I didn’t have a migraine, and I didn’t have tons of other stuff to do yesterday. And, it was the Blessing of the Bikes , rescheduled from last week due to – surprise! – rain. I finally got out my Harley for the first time this year (see above as to why) and took off with DH and a bunch of our AMVETS friends.

This was the 11th year for the Blessing in Dayton, and the third time I’ve gone since I got my motorcycle five years ago (last year, it rained, and the year before that I wasn’t feeling well). My husband has been going almost since it began.

Every year, there are thousands of motorcycles there. It seems to get bigger each year. In addition, there are food apparel, and accessories vendors, live entertainment, and a custom bike show. This year, there was a Shriners group with historic Shriners bikes and an antique paddy wagon on display – very cool! I tried to get them to arrest my husband, but they wouldn’t take him.

The main component to the event is, of course, the blessing. It begins with a series of prayers, asking for divine protection and a safe riding season. They’re Christian, but people of all faiths are welcome at the event and no one seems to mind. Then, priests walk up and down the aisles of motorcycles and toss holy water on them and the riders. My husband asked for – and got – an extra splash – appropriate, considering his often crazy job of leading funeral processions.

All they ask for this is a $2 donation. Here in the Dayton area, that goes to two worthy charities: Ambucs, which provides scooters and trikes to people with mobility impairments, and A Special Wish Foundation, which grants wishes to terminally-ill children.

Afterward, a lot of people head out to after-blessing parties. DH and I went shopping for yard stuff, then home. Curious, I looked up the blessing. It turns out that the first Blessing of the Bikes happened in New York City in 1999, and was for bicycles. (It was held in a cathedral, so that might have been a problem for motorcycles.) Like our current version in Dayton, the blessing was conducted by Catholic priests, but the event was open to riders of all faiths. There are now blessings held world.

Do they hold the Blessing of the Bikes in your home town – and is it for motorcycles, or bicycles? Or if you live in the Dayton area, did you attend? Or if you don’t have a motorcycle, would you if you did? Got any info on other fun motorcycle events DH & I should check out this summer?