The weather around here really went to crap in May. Those of us who ride motorcycles were able to get out early thanks to some warmer weather in April, but most of this month has been dreary, cold, and rainy with the occasional storm. We could have toughed it out (and I spotted a few guys who did), but after being spoiled by the early warmth most of us just sat around and stared out the window.
It’s easy to spot riding season in Illinois because you start seeing motorcycles everywhere. In the central and southern parts of the state, there are a lot of wide, open roads to cruise, and you’ll see riders of all ages and genders riding just about every style of bike there is from cruisers and sportbikes to trikes and touring bikes. The yellow ABATE “Start Seeing Motorcycles” banners start showing up along the busier roads, and the local dealerships start running out of stock on their less expensive models.
This is also when you start seeing “blessing of the bikes” ceremonies. This is like a small rally where the group will get a priest or a minister to say a prayer and put a blessing on everyone’s bike.
Blessing isn’t really my thing, but I do think it’s an interesting part of riding culture. It reminds me a bit of the way Shinto priests bless electronic gadgets like cell phones so they don’t get lost, damaged, stolen, or suffer some other misfortune. If they feel safer or more comfortable on their bike, then more power to ’em. (Provided, of course, they don’t go overboard and think they’re invincible.) I only learned about them a year or so ago when I found a riding club in Bloomington, IL, held them frequently, and it turns out they’re a very common practice.
In fact, somebody put one together the next town over. I thought about checking it out and taking some pictures but I had to be out of town that day. Too bad, as it might have been fun to see. I would have rolled through the line if only to talk about it, though again it’s not something I put much stock in (my own superstition is naming my bike).
Maybe next year.
Though I guess I better take that Flying Spaghetti Monster sticker off my bike first…