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Blessing of the Bikes

Words and photos by John Harris

“We bless what is good and what you do is good.”

With these simple words, The Reverend Canon Thomas Miller began services for the 13th annual Blessing of the Bikes at the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine in Manhattan’s Morningside Heights.

The cathedral, known for its dedication to civil rights, all-night Ravi Shankar ragas, animal blessings and the first female cathedral canon in the history of Christianity, also sets aside one Saturday morning each spring to anoint bikes and bless the idea of urban cycling. This year’s service was brief, at times humorous, at times solemn and punctuated with the harmony of hundreds of ringing bike bells rising through the massive cathedral space. The event bestowed a brief but sincere moment of community and reflection upon our loose and roving alliance, before we split in different directions for breakfast or a Saturday ride.