Saturday 15 Oct 2016 marks the third anniversary of Mirboo North’s Blessing of the Bikes, an event that started quite modestly and grew beyond anyone’s expectations (most certainly the expectations of Marcel and Sabine the originators). The Blessing of the Bikes had a somewhat rocky start, with a small but vocal number in the community vehemently trying to stop it, especially the later events but, with the support of the motorcycle community (with a vow to come to town en masse regardless), these petty objectors were quickly put in their place. You could understand objections if such an event were likely to be troublesome, but the riding community is anything but a problem, any more than were thousands of heavy metal music fans in Tarwin Lower. And this year with the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) sponsoring the event, I’d say that the nail has truly been put into the coffin of those protests.
The motorbikes on show at the Blessing of the Bikes came in all shapes, sizes, colours, configurations and ages, you name it. However, one of the first things that I noticed is that there appears to be a resurgence in nostalgia, bringing back to life motorcycles from yesteryear, but kitting them out with modern engines, suspensions systems etc, so that they are more reliable and better handling on the road and darn good looking to boot. There were also many of the most modern road bikes on show as well; if you wanted to see something special, it most likely would have been there on the day.
Last year I covered the full event for Mirboo North’s first Blessing of the Bikes, establishing what the Blessing of the Bikes was all about; however, this year I thought I’d do wider coverage of the people and their bikes, and the bikes themselves, compared to what I did last year. It turned out to be a huge event this year, with significantly greater numbers and a much greater variety of attendees than last year. The weather was also excellent, but storm clouds were looming and by around 1:30 pm, rain was starting to fall.
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.