On 4 Oct 2014, Mirboo North held the first ever Blessing of the Bike ceremony in Australia, which was organised by the Inline 4 Café. While it was officially called the Blessing of the Bike, it may well have been called the Blessing of the Bikes, as there were easily 500+ bikes in attendance (difficult to estimate the total numbers as more rolled in all afternoon), and what a marvellous day it was. The weather was just perfect and the organisation went very smoothly, considering that no one had any idea as to how many would attend on the day. Marcel, from the Inline4 Café was stunned by the numbers that arrived, which was well beyond his expectations. The bikes started rolling in early, and before you knew it, the main street was full.
The Blessing of the Bike is a very European tradition heralding the beginning of the bike riding season and isn’t something that has ever been done on a state-wide scale before. Today riders came from far and wide, with many already familiar with Mirboo North from previous rides. Whether some felt the importance of the occasion or not, just to be able to gather with hundreds of other riders, in this fantastic part of Victoria, is as good a reason as any to take part. Not only did it bring out the riders, the locals were about in good numbers as well, to provide support and see what this was all about. But the biking fraternity brings about a striking variety of characters and bikes, from old bikes from yesteryear, the latest speed demons and everything in-between. Even if you don’t care for motorbikes, you can’t help but be intrigued by the variety that were here today.
While the official ceremonies were to have begun at 11:00 am, with so many bikes still arriving, it wasn’t until a fair bit later that the event could formally begin. The attendees were welcomed by Pastor David Holt from Traralgon’s Oneway Christian Church, with a few irreverent tales of the Bible (obviously a Monty Python fan); followed by Marcel Widmer who thanked all who had helped with the arrangements and especially those who turned up for the day. The South Gippsland Police Acting Sergeant Allan Piening (a bike rider himself) followed up with a short pep talk on safety and then former MotoGP Chaplain John McMahon gave a speech on riding, safety and the tragedy that riders and family often have to face.
The audience could clearly relate to the words spoken by Chaplain John McMahon.
Once the ceremonies were over, a number of chaplains and pastors were available to bless the bikes of those who were interested.
Others were just happy that they could be part of something unique, a first for Australia and a great day out.
And just a couple of bike bits.
For a very short notice event, this turned out to be an outstanding success and next year’s is bound to be significantly better. I wonder whether other states will soon follow this example? And congratulations to Marcel and Sabine from the Inline4 café for making this happen.