Biketown and Baptists will team up for record ride attempt

On June 30th Portland will add another notch to its bike culture belt: An attempt at the world record for most clergy on bikes.

It’s an idea hatched by 42-year-old G. Travis Norvell, an American Baptist pastor of a church in Minneapolis and self-described, “gospel-centered liberal.” Rev. Norvell will be in Portland later this month for the 2017 Biennial Mission Summit and will use the occasion to spread the gospel about one of his favorite topics: How bicycles can help connect communities, improve public health, save the planet and further the church’s mission all in one fell swoop.

Norvell isn’t shy about his love of cycling. In a Medium post titled, Bicycling Toward Justice, he drew inspiration from the Montgomery bus boycott and Civil Rights Movement to implore his fellow clergy to ride bikes more often. On his Pedaling Pastor blog, Norvell mixes biking tips with passages from the bible. In one post he shared the text of a bike blessing he gave fellow riders at the start of the 30 Days of Biking challenge in April:

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Vestments and bike bells: Bicycle Shrine dedicated in Portland last night

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
Bicycle blessing

Blessing the bikes.
(Photo © Elly Blue)

A bagpiper stood outside welcoming the world into St Stephen’s Episcopal Parish at SW 13th and Clay last night for the dedication of the church’s new bicycle shrine. Inside, Halley Weaver played the harp; her bike and the custom trailer she uses to haul the instrument was parked in the back of the sanctuary.

Attendees were invited to roll their steeds up the ramp to the church door and park them amongst the pews.

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Downtown church to dedicate permanent bicycle shrine

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Flyer for the event.

St. Stephen’s Church in downtown Portland wants to create a place to “remember those who use bicycles as transportation, and to remember those who have died while cycling.” Next week, they’ll dedicate the Madonna del Ghisallo Portland Bicycle Shrine.

Madonna del Ghisallo was originally the patroness of vulnerable travelers. In 1949, she was recognized as a patroness of cyclists and a shrine currently exists today in Lake Como, Italy, the town where her apparition was first witnessed.

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Have faith in bikes? The Bike Temple is here for you

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

[Editor’s note: Please welcome news intern Halley Weaver! Halley comes to BikePortland from a background in blogging. She jumped head first into the Portland bike scene as lead designer for the 2009 Pedalpalooza Kickoff Party. Her first story for us is a feature on a burgeoning new bike organization in town, the Bike Temple.]

Design for spoke card available

Oregon isn’t known for spiritual piety (we have the fourth largest percentage of people identifying themselves as “non-religious” in the United States), but here in Portland, a new organization is taking an earnest yet irreverent approach to a new kind of cycle-spirituality: It’s called the Bike Temple.

Why the combination of bicycles and religion? According to the Bike Temple’s pamphlet, which can often be spotted in spokes and on handlebars around town, “Bicycles give us happiness, good health, a closer communication to our communities, lower consumption, self-appreciation, and most of all, fun!”

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