What’s the most special aspect of riding a motorcycle? Is it the wind passing all around you? The liberty? The virgin sound of an engine and the etherial sense of speed?
Likely, all of the above.
Running into its eighth year in Sooke, the Biker Blessing and Thunder Run this Saturday (May 7) is not only a celebration of motorcycles and their respective communities, but particularly of the bikers who ride them.
“My faith theology comes from the point that God cares about people, not the machines, so we bless the bikers,” said Gordon Kouwenberg, pastor at the Knox Presbyterian Church and fire chaplain for Sooke Fire and Rescue, adding that there’s a big difference between a “blessing of the bikes” and a “biker blessing.”
The idea may seem strange, but being a motorcyclist for 30 years and as a pastor, to Kouwenberg, it was just the logical thing to put the two together.
Every year on Mother’s Day weekend, riders meet for refreshments, coffee and doughnuts, and then they have a biker blessing; beginning with a time of remembrance for those who have died, then have a blessing asking for a safe season and giving God’s blessing to those who are riding.
Last year the event gathered as many as 85 motorcycles from across the Island, B.C. and the U.S.
Kouwenberg noted majority of the attendees and bikers are not regular church people.
“They’re motorcyclists. Some won’t even step foot inside the church in fear of their past, but won’t realize that God loves all,” he said.
Like previous years, Saturday’s event will start off in Sooke at the Knox Presbyterian Church, but instead of heading back into town, the group will ride northwest towards Far Out Pizza in Jordan River, some of whom will continue on the Circle Route and head back up Island.
Kouwenberg pointed out that everyone is welcome to attend as there will be a wide variety of motorcycles from all classes, makes and models.
Donations such as canned food or cash are welcome, with everything going to the Sooke Food Bank or crisis centre.
The event starts off at 11 a.m. in the church parking lot.