Reverend hopes bike blessing will grow

Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Jedidiah Seely shakes hands with the Rev. Ken Van Sunday in the parking lot of First United Methodist Church before the blessing of the bikes. Van hopes to make the blessing an annual event and that more motorcyclists, bicyclists and tricyclists will turn out. (Ruth Campbell/Tribune)

Asking for strength, health, peace and safety for motorcyclists, bicyclists and tricyclists, the Rev. Kenneth Van offered a blessing of the bikes Sunday at First United Methodist Church.

For this first annual event, eight to nine motorcycles turned out, along with about the same number of bikes. "I expect we'll grow as time goes on," Van said.

Missy Clark, who plans to participate in a mini-triathalon July 8 in Shawnee, brought her bike to be blessed. The competition includes a 500-meter swim -- a little under a half-mile, a nine-mile bike ride and a 2.31-mile run.

Motorcycles are lined up to be blessed at First United Methodist Church on Sunday. (Ruth Campbell/Tribune)

"I've just been getting back into shape, getting healthy overall," Clark said. "I did a trial Saturday and I feel great. I did really well. I'm ready for it."

Van had been in other towns where bikes were blessed and thought it was a "great idea." Next year he plans to conduct the blessing in April, which is the beginning of riding season in this area.

"This year it's kind of just getting it off the ground," said Van, who is a member of the American Heartland Chapter of Harley-Davidson owners. He also "hangs around" with members of the Christian Motorcyclists Association, a couple of whom were in attendance Sunday.

Janice Schlichting said CMA does bike blessings on a regular basis.

"This one's been especially fun because it's a church we've never been into before. Ken Van is relatively new here. It's just been a lovely day; it really has been. This is just a really neat church and how fun that the kids brought their bicycles and tricycles," said Schlichting, who rides a 2005 Honda VTX.

Van started off with a blue 1976 Honda CB 360 T and now has a 2007 Fat Boy.

Following the prayer, riders took a short journey to the Dairy Queen.

"When you're on a really nice motorcycle, it can pass up almost anything on the road except a Dairy Queen," Van said.