in all. The gathering was upbeat with many friends catching up after a long winter. All ages and biking styles were represented, but the crowd definitely skewed middle class, racing and graying.
The blessing itself was offered with the simplicity and respect befitting the informal yet dedicated crowd. The canon read from Psalms, petitioning God for protection and then walked through the people asperging our bikes (and us) with Holy Water as cameras and cell phones clicked away. After the blessing, Leah Todd of the Ghost Bike Project read the names of New York cyclists killed in traffic this past year and, with bagpipes playing, a rider-less bike was rolled from the back of the cathedral to the alter. In the morning’s most somber moment, the canon read in memory of those too young and beautiful to have left this world through the violence of an avoidable traffic death: “Go forth journeying souls on your travels from this world, in the name of God who is guiding you home.” More tinkling bells, this time echoing with grief.
Goldstein concluded the event by urging us to retain our togetherness throughout the year and wished us well. Off we went, a short procession around the cathedral and out the backdoor toward the streets, chatting and laughing, feeling safer, feeling better for having even made the event. “Maybe not totally protected, but definitely cared for.” A perfect way to start Bike Month in the long-awaited spring of New York City, 2011.
For more information, check out www.theblessingofthebikes.com