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Motorcycle Clubs Converge on Crown Heights for 'Blessing of the Bikes'

By Sonja Sharp | July 22, 2013 8:46am
 NYC motorcycle clubs pray for a safe riding season at annual Crown Heights event. 
Imperial Bikers' MC Annual Rally
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CROWN HEIGHTS — More than 500 New York City riders flocked to Franklin Avenue Sunday for Brooklyn's biggest bike rally — and there wasn't a fixie in sight.  

For more than 30 years, Crown Heights' Imperial Bikers MC has been rallying riders for the annual Blessing of the Bikes, an event that brings together motorcycle clubs from as far away as Connecticut and Long Island to show off their wheels and pray for a safe season. 

"We remember the people who passed [in motorcycle accidents] and celebrate their legend," said James "June" Gibbs, 32, whose mother Minister Florence Gibbs gave this year's invocation. "It's really a brotherhood. We don't make money off it — it's to express our love of the bikes." 

Part prayer service, part parade and part block party, the rally attracts an incredible cross section of the city, including men and women, infants and senior citizens, Harley Davidson diehards and Kawasaki purists. 

"I've been riding over 20 years, and she's been riding 10," Bronx biker Blaze said of his beloved Yorkshire terrier Poochie, who accompanied him astride his Harley with her own Black Falcons vest and miniature helmet. 

"All the clubs are out today — it's about friendship."

Some, like Rough Riders club member Chico, were new to the rally. Others, like Gibbs, have been coming their whole lives.   

"I've been coming here since I was 15 years old," said Brooklyn rider Lyric, president of the Legendary Queens SUV club. "We're all family out here — it's like a family reunion."