FORSYTH — The weather outside was frightful, but the blessings were quite delightful.
And bikers in search of a little extra celestial insurance as they power through the valley of the shadow weren’t going to let an April Sunday that felt more like winter than spring put them off.
So they came in their many dozens — easily more than 200 in all — for the 26th annual Blessing of the Bikes hosted on the grounds of the Coziahr Harley-Davidson dealership in Forsyth. The sky was the color of melted lead, the wind snapped and snarled and the low 40s temperatures added a healthy glow to the faces of die-hard riders like Michael and Kat Williams from Macon.
The married couple sat on their top-of-the-line Ultra Classic Harley-Davidson patiently waiting for their turn in one of the multiple blessing lanes marked out by little painted crosses. “We do this every year,” yelled Michael Williams above the roar of surrounding bikes. “We want a safe driving season,” said his wife. “And every little bit helps,” added her husband.
Still, there’s no sense putting all your faith in one basket. If admirers of their gleaming blue machine looked real close, they might notice a tiny silver bell tingling away under the chassis. Kat Williams explains it’s for luck. “It’s one of those little demon road bells,” she said. “All the bikes have then underneath.” “It keeps the road demons away,” said her husband.
The mainstream Christian blessings were handled by members of the Heavenly Chariots Chapter of the Christian Motorcyclists Association, with some 60 volunteers from the Decatur Chapter of the Harley Owners Group overseeing traffic control on the grounds of the dealership.
Martha Kendall, 69, director of the chapter, said the blessing is a must-attend event for many bikers. They want the reassurance it offers, she said, and they want to see their biking buddies.
“We enjoy the camaraderie and we just enjoy seeing all the bikes, old friends and getting together.”
Before the blessings got underway, the bikers were addressed by the Rev. Matt Samuels, lead pastor of Decatur’s gtChurch, and the Rev. Brenda Nevitt, an associate pastor at the church. Samuels told the crowd he had some bad news: “As much as I study the Bible, and read the Bible, I can’t find anywhere that God cares about motorcycles,” he said, offering a broad smile. “But what he does love is you… we’re here today to pray his blessing not on your motorcycle but on you, his most prized possession.”