Ill. motorcyclists get blessing as spring road season begins

By The Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Rev. Mark Estrop is one preacher who can’t help but get revved up about springtime motorcycle weather.

That’s why the 56-year-old Rochester Baptist minister, who’s been riding bikes for 40 years, offered blessings to two-dozen motorcycles and their drivers this weekend.

“I’ve been impressed by how much people appreciate the blessing and take it serious,” said Estrop. “Riding a bike is a dangerous proposition anyway, so I think they figure, whatever edge they can get is a good thing. I even bless my own bike. I don’t take any chances.”

During the ceremony, organized by Hall’s Harley-Davidson in Springfield, Estrop read a traveler’s prayer from Psalm 121.

Motorcyclist Bernie Krueger said he returns each year for a blessing to get a little extra help from “the good old dude upstairs.”

“There are a lot of obstacles out there like cars and trucks,” he said. “It’s really neat to have God on your side while you are riding.”