Cathedral blessing shows why bikes are a wheely good thing

By staff writers
June 18, 2010

Bikes are environmentally friendly, good exercise and build community - and the Scottish Episcopal Church intends to give them its blessing this weekend - literally.

For the first time in Scotland, cyclists - who regularly have to put their faith in the weather as they wend their way - will have the opportunity get their bikes blessed at St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral in Glasgow.

The wheel-time ceremony takes place at 11am on Saturday 19 June, and will be conducted by Kelvin Holdsworth, the Provost of the Cathedral, as part of the Glasgow Cycling Festival.

The initiative is not a brake with tradition. however. In fact it is inspired by the Blessing of the Bikes which has been taking place in New York for the past 12 years.

During the service, cyclists will line up in the Cathedral with their bikes and the Very Rev Kelvin Holdsworth will use a special liturgy created in the USA - though the church stresses that it is not simply intending to recycle worship material.

Neither is this just a matter of cyclists parking their machines while the church pedals its wares. Though intended to be a celebration and to have a fun side (the service will end with the a-peeling idea of a 'great ring' of bicycle bells to fill the Cathedral space), it also has a serious dimension.

There will be opportunity to remember cyclists who have died on the roads, for example. Road safety campaigners say that bike users continue to be vulnerable to irresponsible or careless drivers in built-up areas and on winding roads.

Meanwhile, Kelvin Holdsworth says he is thrilled to be blessing bikes and cyclists. He points out that “the bicycle is one of the most efficient machines ever invented by human beings."

"We will be celebrating the delight that cycling gives people and remembering the fragility of the world which needs ecological means of transport,” says the robustly-framed Provost.


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