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Harleys Line Up by the Thousands for Pope Francis’ Blessing of the Bikes

Biker culture hit the Vatican City this past weekend as Pope Francis held a Blessing of the Bikes in St. Peter’s Square.

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.

Did you travel to Rome for the Blessing of the Bikes? Post your pics and stories on the E3 Spark Plugs Facebook Fan Page.

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