TWIN LAKES — More than 250 motorcycles left Uke’s Harley Davidson in Somers Saturday morning and arrived with a rumble for the annual Blessing of the Bikes at the Calvary Congregational United Church of Christ in Twin Lakes.
Held for over 20 years, the annual pilgrimage, organized by the Kenosha Harley Owners Group, was begun by the church’s late organist and rider Dottie Young, whose husband Ron was killed by a drunken driver. Dottie also died on a later ride after being hit by another drunken driver.
But despite the sadness in taking a moment to remember those who were lost on the road, everyone said they look forward to the event.
This year’s event was hosted by the Rev. Lisa Irwin, a pulpit supply speaker from Milwaukee filling in during the Rev. Judy Wang’s six-week sabbatical.
“I love it,” said Irwin. “This is great. This is a wonderful community church that is very welcoming. They’re embracing the community spirit.”
For the riders, that spirit is an important part of starting off the spring-summer riding season.
“It’s getting your blessings. Believe me, I fully get it,” said 54-year-old Glenn Thomas of Somers, a road captain and member of the Kenosha Harley Owners Group since 2009. “I like it because the public really cares about our safety. I’m a retired firefighter, so I’ve seen a lot (of accidents.)”
Church members also enjoy themselves, from baking trays full of homemade cookies, to offering a friendly greeting to riders of all ages and bike styles.
“I love this,” said 65-year-old Donna Noffsinger of Twin Lakes, a member of the church for 11 years. “It gets them all together and gets everyone out to see. The kids love it.”
In her short speech and blessing, Irwin got a few laughs for her motorcycle trivia starting with, “Did you know Triumph Motorcycles — I hope that’s not a dirty word around here — also made golf balls?”
But more seriously, she invoked a passage from 1 Kings 8: 60-61 telling the riders, “May God, my very own God, continue to be with us.”
In her blessing she said, “Go on your journey of fun and fellowship. Enjoy the ride. May you have a good, steady grip on the handlebars and on the road.”
And in honor of the date, she added, “For the ‘Star Wars’ fans, May the 4th be with you!”
Unfortunately, the one disappointment for many this year was that no small angel lapel pins were available to riders because of the cost. The price went from 15 to 20 cents each for around 2,000 pieces to $2 each because the sales category was changed.