patron saint of cyclists

Madonna, Bless Us

Madonna, bless us!

I’m not Catholic, but I’m white-on-rice for blessings. Favorite bumper sticker: Bless everyone, no exceptions.

The Savvy Cyclist launches today on a weekly publication schedule. We’ll take all the blessings we can get. We’ve never done anything like this. It feels scary and exciting at the same time, like a big commitment.

When you make a commitment, do you seek validation? I do! I want proof and evidence that I’m on the right path (which is why I’m such a fan of CyclingSavvy, but more about that another time).

What I want to tell you about today is St. Louis’ first annual “Blessing of Bicyclists” and its immediate connection to CyclingSavvy.

The connection was right at the top of the program:madonna del ghisallo, patron saint of cycling

Blessing of Bicyclists. Wow. I felt like crying. At that moment I realized how profoundly blessed I’ve been as a bicyclist. Savvy cycling has made my riding infinitely easier than I ever imagined it could be.

Thanks to CyclingSavvy, I live in a Bicyclist-Friendly Universe. Road rage is never an issue. (OK, almost never. When road rage does happen, it’s always a surprise, because it’s so rare. I mainly feel sorry for the perpetrator. I think: “Sorry you’re stuck in your car, buddy! I wish you knew how easy it could be to choose bicycling.”)

I know that sounds hard to believe. But I’m not the only one. Successful cyclists arebicycle friendly community everywhere, with amazing stories to tell. Might you be one? I coordinate the editorial calendar for The Savvy Cyclist. Email me if you’re ready to share your journey.

Here’s a preview of upcoming posts: Why Having No Plan Is The Best Plan. Cycling In Suburbia. What It Looks Like When Your City’s Transportation Director is a CyclingSavvy Instructor.

All kinds of people showed up to our town’s Blessing of Bicyclists. People in street clothes, the spandex-clad, little kids, and bike cops. The event was a testament to the impressive diversity of bicyclists and their bikes.

“We’re here today to recognize the inherent goodness and holiness of cycling,” the Reverend Jon Stratton said in his welcome to the assembly. Bicycles were everywhere in the sanctuary, even on the altar. Reverend Stratton sprinkled holy water on them, and on us.

madonna del ghisallo, bicycling, blessing bicyclists

First Annual “Blessing of Bicyclists” at St. Louis’ Trinity Church

Inspiration for this event came from Madonna del Ghisallo, named the Patron Saint of Cyclists by the Catholic Church in 1949. Cyclists still make pilgrimage to a shrine on an Italian hilltop, near where the Virgin Mary was said to have miraculously saved Count Ghisallo from robbers during medieval times.

As I watched the ceremony, I was filled with gratitude for the miracle of bicycling. I also am well aware that it will take a miracle to make bicycling normal in America. That doesn’t mean we won’t try.

Meanwhile, a toast! Let’s celebrate the weekly launch of The Savvy Cyclist:

Here’s to Bicyclist-Friendly Communities, Everywhere.

Bless Everyone. No Exceptions.madonna del ghisallo

blessing bicyclists, patron saint cyclists, madonna del ghisallo

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