He didn’t pop a wheelie when he rolled up to the Vatican in his popemobile, but Pope Francis definitely showed his cool side, greeting tens of thousands of Harley-Davidson owners at Sunday’s Blessing of the Bikes.
In celebration of the iconic motorcycle maker’s 110th anniversary, leather-clad bikers lined the streets of Vatican City alongside habit-clad nuns. Revved-up engines thundered throughout the Latin recitation of the Lord’s Prayer in a quintessential biker’s benediction as Pope Francis drove up the main boulevard to St. Peter’s Square, blessing bikes and bikers from his open-top jeep.
The four-day celebration attracted HOGs from around the world to Rome – upwards of half a million, by some estimates. The fete included a special Mass and a parade past the Colosseum and other ancient landmarks. “Papa Francisco” flags fluttered from the handlebars of many bikes. And the Milwaukee-based manufacturer gifted the Pope with two white classic Harleys for use by the Vatican police force and a black leather vest with an eagle on the back. Here’s hoping we’ll see him actually don that vest one day.
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