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Chester County Press

Blessing of the Bikes attracts a large turnout in 14th year

05/22/2024 09:32AM ● By Chris Barber

It is common to hear motorcycle owners claim they ride throughout the winter, never bothered by the cold – only hazardous street conditions.

Nonetheless, when spring rolls around and the warm weather arrives, they can’t resist the urge to get together with others and celebrate the arrival of “riding weather.”

For 14 years now, the riders from around the southern Chester County region and beyond have made their way to the annual event known as the “Blessing of the Bikes,” at the Power Place on Rosedale Avenue in Kennett Township.

The event is sponsored by a nationwide, quasi-religious, organization known as Honor Bound Motorcycle Ministries. Its stated mission is to reach bikers and motorcyclists with the Gospel and train Christian motorcyclists in evangelism and discipleship.

At this event on April 28, Power Place Pastor “Luke” encouraged attendees to “surround yourself and your family in prayer.”

Although the structured agenda of the blessing and the picnic did not start until everyone had arrived, including communicants from the adjacent Power Place Church at about 11:30 a.m., the riders started arriving at about 9 a.m. Coffee and doughnuts were there for them, and acquaintances reunited with hugs and handshakes.

As they greeted old friends, the bikers strolled around the parking lot, looking at what other riders had done to adorn or otherwise alter their bikes.

Honor Bound PennDel District Leader Jeff Smack looked around at the scene early on and said the event usually attracts more than 100 riders-plus bikes. If that many arrived, he said, he can carry on the tradition in the following years.

He had nothing to worry about.

By the time it was blessing and picnic time, more than 200 had come.

Present also at the blessing and picnic were representatives of A.B.A.T.E., the lobbying organization that advocates for the government to protect motorcycle rider rights.

The members mentioned three issues they are currently pursuing:

1. The rights of a motorcycle procession to ride undivided through intersections

2. The same rights car owners have regarding the lemon laws, and

3. The right to put their motorcycle insurance on the same policy as their cars.

In the past, A.B.A.T.E. has stood for a rider’s right not to have to wear a helmet.

When the time came for picnicking, the food line-up was proceeded by a loud “grace” of Harley-Davidson motor rumbles.  

As they lined up for food, they were provided with sodas, hot dogs, pulled pork barbecue and mac ’n’ cheese.

According to A.B.A.T.E. spokesman Tim Willinger, there are 850,000 motorcycle riders in Pennsylvania. Statistics show the number has gone down in recent years, however.

A published PennDOT survey indicated that the state is slowly but surely losing the number of riders in the state. There were 60,000 fewer in 2022 than there were in 2015, the report said.