Helmets can help save cyclists’ lives in the event of an accident on Boston’s busy streets, but local clergy members are taking safety measures one step further Friday by blessing people’s bikes and headgear on the plaza in Copley Square using a special mix of holy oil and chain lube.
“It’s a spiritual decision to make the choice to take a bicycle instead of a car — something that expends more energy — so we want to affirm that healthy and holy decision for all the people in the city who do this,” said Rev. Laura Everett, one of the organizers of the “Blessing of the Bicycles” event.
The ceremony, which will take place in front of Trinity Church, is in conjunction with Bay State Bike Week and National Bike to Work Day.
Everett said Friday’s event will include special prayers for both cyclists and their bikes.
“Bless, protect, and guide this bicycle. May love be always in your heart and wind be always at your back. Amen,” the bike prayer will say.
They will finish the ceremony by anointing each bike with a concoction of holy oil and bike chain lube.
Clergy members will also remember cyclists killed on Boston’s streets.
Everett expects at least 100 cyclists to attend. Bikes of all makes and models are invited, she said.
“Whether it has carried you through salt and snow or is just getting dusted off, whether it is shiny, carbon, vintage or just plain rusty, we will bless it for safe journeys through the tangled streets of Boston,” organizers said.
Everett teamed up with the Boston Cyclists Union, the Rev. Nancy Taylor from Old South Church, the Rev. Patrick Ward from Trinity Copley Church, and Abbi Holt from Hope Central Church for the blessing.
Everett said they have been performing the ritual for bikes in Boston for the last five years at a church in Jamaica Plain. This year they joined forces with Trinity Church so clergy could have a larger, more public space to conduct the ceremonies.
Boston is not the first city to anoint bikes to keep them safe from car collisions and doorings.
For more than a decade cyclists having been rolling into the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City to have their bikes blessed in a holy ceremony prior to the annual Five Boro Bike Tour.