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Annual bike blessing in Carnegie gathers motorcycling faithful

| Tuesday, April 21, 2015, 3:46 p.m.
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Motorcyclists and bikers rallied in Carnegie last year for the Blessing of the Bikes, hosted by Carnegie Presbyterian Church on Ewing Road. The event has grown in each of its previous seven years.
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Bob Sorchilla is one of the founders of the annual Blessing of the Bikes sponsored by Carnegie Presbyterian Church in Carnegie. This event is a ministry CPC Riders, a motorcyclist ministry of the church. This year’s blessing will take place on Saturday.

It will be a time of prayer and roaring engines.

The eighth annual Blessing of the Bikes will be held Saturday at Carnegie Presbyterian Church. Registration is at 10 a.m., with the blessing at 11. A ride through the countryside and a picnic complete the day.

Bob Sorchilla, one of the event founders and a member of the CPC Riders, a motorcyclist ministry of the church, is anticipating a large contingent of bikers, a mix of those who ride Hondas and Harleys and everything in between. He has seen steady growth from the 25 at the first blessing to 150 last year. He expects more than 200 to ride Saturday.

“There's no fee,” he said, explaining the picnic is paid for and served by church members.

Sorchilla, 63, of Carnegie, hadn't ridden for 30 years but took up his passion again when this event began.

“There's no blessing of the bikes this side of Pittsburgh,” he said, although there are similar events in Murrysville and North Huntingdon.

While it's a church-connected activity, it's not “churchy,” he said. Yet, there will be some Bibles on the picnic tables, which anyone can take.

“We get the everyday business guys to the hard-core bikers who can drive across the country and not take a bath for three days,” Sorchilla said.

Ministers, church leaders and other laypeople bike in for the day.

Paul Morris, 44, of the East End of Pittsburgh, went to the first blessing service and hasn't missed a year.

“It's always the start to my riding season,” he said. “It's the official kickoff, and the blessing is cool, too.”

The atmosphere was friendly, enjoyable and relaxing, he said.

“You ride in, and you're a part of it,” he said.

All kinds of bikes were there — motor scooters to Harley-Davidsons. Morris rides a 34-year-old Suzuki that he restored. He knows it's “on the lower end of the food chain.”

“As long as they have it, and I'm riding, I'm going,” Morris said. “This year, I'm not letting the construction on the parkway stop me. I'll just leave an hour early.”

For more information about the CPC Riders, visit cpcriders.org.

Dona S. Dreeland is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5803 or ddreeland@tribweb.com.

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