It’s the sixth year now of the Blessing of the Bikes and it’s hard to believe that it’s now closer to its tenth year than its first. How time has flown by and while the theme has stayed the same, the Blessing of the Bikes has certainly changed and become so much bigger, more interesting and far more professionally organised. And all of that has been for the better. When I talk to some locals in Mirboo North there is certainly a lot of regret that the event moved on to San Remo but, as that old saying goes, ‘You don’t know what you have until it’s gone’. This most certainly applies to the Blessing of the Bikes. Our sleepy hollow became just that little bit sleepier when we lost the Blessing of the Bikes. But while we have other events on the calendar, excepting the Italian Festa, the Blessing of the Bikes is the only event that drew crowds from so far and wide.
But that’s just reminiscing, the water has well and truly flowed under the bridge and the Blessing of the Bikes now lays under the gaze of another bridge entirely. There’s no doubt that the Blessing of the Bikes is now an entrenched annual feature at San Remo, with everyone understanding how much it contributes to the township and broader locality each year. And that contribution isn’t just for the one day, but extends into many days as those coming for the Moto GP the following weekend stay on after the Blessing of the Bikes, making it an extended stay. And when I did some checking, the event is being fully promoted by not just motoring organisations, but Victoria tourism as well, so it’s become a full on feature of the annual Victorian events calendar. From small acorns large oaks will grow and I’m not sure how much bigger this event can grow before it overflows the main street and park of San Remo.
This year, like the last, it threatened rain and this was something I was not looking forward to seeing. I wanted to fully video this year’s Blessing of the Bikes and rain was something that my gear wasn’t set up to cope with, but I had a backup just in case. While photographing the event has its benefits, there’s something extra that’s added by seeing the Blessing of the Bikes in full motion and to be able to tell a different story than what you get with just words and pictures. Certainly filming the event and producing something worthwhile takes a massive amount of extra work, but I think it’s worthwhile in the long run. With these sorts of event, you can show so much more via the moving picture than the still picture. My only concern, other than the rain, was whether I could produce a video that did justice to the Blessing of the Bikes and presented a reasonably professional looking result that I was after. I guess that’s going to be left for those that view the video to decide.
Thankfully the rain held off and it turned out to be a great, if windy, day overall. It wasn’t until the end of the event that rain started to appear and it was only on the journey home that I really experienced any significant rain. It appeared as if the Blessing really was blessed this year. I have no idea how large the event was this year, compared to the previous two, as I was too engrossed in moving about and filming as much as I could. But looking at my footage later on, it seemed to be pretty much a full house once again. And given how I felt after more than half a day carrying around my 9+kg camera rig, walking up and down the full length of the San Remo strip, I think it was quite a significant turnout. I have to say I was glad when the event finally concluded, as I was feeling somewhat stuffed by early afternoon.
Now as I’d mentioned, this year I wanted to fully video the event and so I had to take a different approach to what I’d normally do. I had made rough plans beforehand, but knew that when the rubber hit the road, things would change and so they did. I was originally planning to break up the video into at least two separate ones, covering different aspects, but the more I spent editing, the more I felt that it just wouldn’t flow. So I decided to make one long video, with hopefully a flowing storyline. Some of the clips are perhaps longer than ideal, but when I cut them into a much shorter clips, it just didn’t seem to work. I also wanted to show a lot more of the riders, so cutting everything short would defeat that purpose. Anyway, it’s easy enough to fast forward the unwanted bits. Unfortunately, the rain hit just at the end and my lens got covered with water, so I missed the final part of the presentation that brought some individual experiences to the fore and discussed next year’s Blessing. But all is not lost, as that information will be available on the Inline 4 Cafe Facebook page.
Anyway, I hope that you enjoy the video and that’s it for the 2019 Blessing of the bikes. It was a great turnout despite the foreboding weather at the beginning and demonstrates that this is still a popular event for the start of the riding season. With Summer on the horizon, hopefully riders will have a safe and enjoyable season.
Update. I searched to see if there were any news reports on the Blessing of the Bikes and I couldn’t find one story anywhere. Even the local regional papers couldn’t be bothered to send anyone out to produce even the shortest article. And it doesn’t appear that anyone turned up in 2018 either. Sad, very sad indeed.