Saturday, April 30, 2022

Blessing of the Bikes


After many years of hinting and pining, I finally got that tour of Elkridge I’d been asking for. And I found it so fascinating - - and enjoyable - - that now I want more tours of Elkridge. So, the request still stands. Or I need to start making my own self-guided tours. 

I also wish I had snapped pics and taken notes the whole way so I’d remember everything later. Still, I have no regrets. I was learning a lot and I was having a good time. It was a lovely day.

It was lovely enough that we were able to conclude our tour with lunch at Daniels. (Full name: Daniels Restaurant and Open Air Bars.)

Our waitress was wonderful, the food and the iced tea hit the spot. And, as we left, I noticed a flyer for The Blessing of the Bikes: May 1st. 

Here’s what it says on the Daniel’s Facebook page:

Our Annual Blessing of the Bikes is this Sunday, May 1st! Father Gerry Bowen will be doing the blessing!

Great Train Robbery* 1 pm to 5 pm.

Blessing at 3 pm.

Live artwork by Gory Greg.

And... a raw oyster bar!

Our parking lot will be closed to vehicles by noon! All cars will be moved prior to noon!

We look forward to seeing you all on Sunday!

Photo from Daniels Restaurant Facebook page

Now, I’ve heard of the blessing of the pets and the blessing of the fleet. But a blessing of the bikes was new to me.  It’s not new at Daniels. Here’s an article from Elkridge Patch written in 2013, which indicates the bike blessing had long been an annual tradition. 

Spring Means Blessing of the Bikes at Daniels, Andrew Metcalf, Elkridge Patch

The Blessing is "kind of sort of" a welcoming of spring for the bar, said [bartender] Martin. The event features a minister who gives a small prayer for each bike and splashes a bit of holy water on them.

In Lake County, Michigan the event goes back to 1972, making this year’s celebration the 50th. According to the Blessing of the Bikes website in Lake County, Michigan, it all started with eight riders and four bikes at St. Ann’s Catholic Church.

Over on Wikipedia

The first mass blessing of bicycles was held in 1999 at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City. Since its beginning the ceremony has been ostensibly non-denominational, focusing more on rider safety** than religion.

You should click on the Wikipedia link just to see the photo.

For more about Daniels that doesn’t lean so heavily on the biker connection, I recommend 

More than a biker bar, Daniels in Elkridge has drawn loyal customers since 1975, Allison Eatough, Howard Magazine, 2016

I want to stress that I learned a great deal more about Elkridge on my tour than this one post would suggest. I learned just enough to know that I need to learn more. But, the fact is, the Blessing of the Bikes is tomorrow and so the sharing of it now is timely information. 

And so I ask you to forgive me if it appears I am somehow trivializing the history and culture of Elkridge. I don’t mean to. As ever, if you want to take me on a guided tour of Elkridge, I’m open.

*Not a showing of the 1903 silent film nor an actual train robbery, but a Southern rock band out of Baltimore.

**Did you know that Howard Community College offers courses in Motorcycle Safety

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