AUSTIN -- St. Martin's Lutheran Church hosted the first blessing of the bicycles service Sunday morning. Dozens of cyclists gathered at the event, co-sponsored by the group, Please BE KIND to Cyclists.
The ceremony started with prayers and scripture reading. Then the names of cyclists who have died on Austin roads were read out loud, followed by the ringing of the church bell.
"We wanted to welcome cyclists from our community to let them know we care about them," minister Jennifer Tiemann said. "We care about their safety."
A white ghost bike was on display outside the church as a visual reminder of the cyclists who have died, including 24-year-old Andrew Runciman. He died in April one year ago after he was struck by a hit-and-run driver on South Lamar.
"Andrew was brilliant -- a very, very, smart guy," Mary Ann Kaiser said, a friend of Runciman's. "Very kind friendly guy, just one that stuck out in a lot of different ways."
Kaiser hoped the special services brings awareness to cyclists and drivers who share Austin's streets.
"Cyclists are people. These are moms, dads, brothers, friends and neighbors," said Alvaro Bastidas, founder of Please BE KIND to Cyclists.
Dozens of cyclists lined up outside the church and filed inside to have their bikes blessed. The minister also sprinkled holy water on the bikes.