Saturday, March 15, 2008

Blessing of the Bikes

Mr. H and I rode down to Gautier for the 8th annual "Blessing of the Bikes." We had never been before. (Last year at this time, Mr. H wasn't in any shape to ride and no longer had an operational bike anyway...see the posts about that here, here and here.) It is held at First United Methodist Church in Gautier, across from Singing River Mall. If it gets any bigger, they may have to find another location. I don't think they could have squeezed many more bikes in there. It is a great event.
There were people of every age, gender, shape, color, and clothing style!

There was a live band playing contemporary Christian music ("I Am a Friend of God" and "Breathe" were 2 I heard and remember.) They served breakfast and gave away door prizes. I happened to win a really neat tote bag with an insulated compartment in the bottom. And it matches Mr. H's summer jacket. There were biker games: a race in which the last one across the finish line wins and 2 contests for 2 rider entries. In one they give you a fishing net on a handle and you scoop up stuffed animals (whoever catches the most wins). In the other, the rider picks tennis balls off the top of traffic cones and then on the return leg puts them back. The cones are about 5 feet apart, so slow and steady wins the race.
We saw all kinds of bikes: some old, some new, some with unusual trailers!. There was one guy there that had something I'd never seen before: a handicapped sticker on his bike. He was missing one arm from about the elbow. A prosthetic arm was permanently attached to the handle bars of his bike.
The last thing on the agenda was the actual blessing. Several men made their way through the crowd praying for individuals or groups of bikers. You could tell that these men rode themselves because of the specific way they prayed: for the rider to be visible to those in traffic around him, for the rider to be alert to everything that may be going on around him, for safety. I was surprised by my reaction to the prayer that was delivered up for the two of us. It was so personal. I think this event is on our calendar for years to come.

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