By Leslie Albrecht
MORNINGSIDE HEIGHTS — Cyclists will have their bikes sprinkled with holy water at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine on Saturday, and some say this year's blessing of the bicycles carries special meaning.
The annual blessing takes place from 9:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the cathedral at 1047 Amsterdam Avenue and West 112th Street.
Glen Goldstein, who created the blessing of the bicycles 13 years ago, said the service will offer sanctuary for cyclists who feel like they're under fire from a grumpy public over new bike lanes and a police department that's been on a cyclist ticketing blitz.
"In New York City these days, where bikes aren't welcome a lot of places, it's nice to bring your bike into the cathedral and be welcome," said Goldstein, owner of Bicycle Shows U.S., which puts on cycling events.
The brief blessing, led by the Rev. Canon Thomas P. Miller, attracts both cyclists motivated by religous belief and people who get a kick out of wheeling their bikes into the historic cathedral, Goldstein said.
Cyclists follow a bagpiper into the church, then a riderless bike is led down the cathedral's aisle to symbolize bike riders who've died in cycling accidents in the last year. Usually someone reads their names aloud, Goldstein said.
Cyclists ring their bells to finish the ceremony, then head out to enjoy some two-wheeled fun.
"It's the one day where we don't protest, we don't sign petitions," said Goldstein. "I'm in favor of that stuff, but not on this day. It's a day to be together, then we'll go back to fighting the fights."