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Bells, Gremlins and Potholes

Let me introduce you to the Evil Road Spirits.

By Mistress Chris

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Have you ever noticed those little silver, brass or chrome bells that often hang from motorcycles?  Ever wondered why bikers would hang a small bell on their bike?  They certainly are not going to be able to hear the tiny ringing of the bell over the rumble of the exhaust! 
Have you ever experienced strange things happening to your bike?  It won’t start, or your clutch suddenly needs adjusting, your timing is off, the gears are not shifting quite right, or loose wires keep appearing? 
Let me introduce you to the Evil Road Spirits – they find motorcycles incredibly attractive and a wonderful place to hang around and cause trouble.  These are small, tiny little gremlins who love to wreak havoc wherever they go and cause accidents.  
These Road Spirits hate bells, they get trapped in the hollow of the bell, and the constant ringing drives them insane.  They lose their grip on your bike and fall onto the roadway leaving an indentation in the road – and thus potholes are born.  Haven’t you ever wondered how all those potholes were made? 
Origin of Biker Bells
The true origin of the biker bell may never be known, but may have ties to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.
In the 1930’s the Jackpine Gypsies Motorcycle Club was formed in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The rally started as a half-mile dirt-track race, with a few racers and small group of about 200 onlookers.
It is said that a bell was given to entrants to pin on their shirt as a token of entry—much like a button or wrist band might be given today.
Commemorative Bell
Another traditional meaning for motorcycle bells is as a tribute to a fallen friend. A brass bell is often hung from the left side of the swing arm on the motorcycle. Each time you clean the bike, and bend down to polish the bell, you can remember your friend with fondness.
Legend of the Gremlin Bell
As the story goes, an old gray-beard was riding home from Mexico, with saddlebags loaded full of toys and trinkets for some kids in an orphanage near where he lived.  It was a cold night in the high deserts just north of the border.  As he rode he thought of rides past, epic journeys with long lost friends and the many nights just like this spent in the saddle.
Ahead in the small beam of his old headlamp he thought he saw something.  As he rode on it appeared again, this time there were more of them.  There were tiny little creatures that seemed to dart in and out of the beam as fast as the wind.  They were dark little dodgy spirits, quick, and all but translucent in the moonlight—they were road gremlins. Before he could react they were on the bike.  As he mashed on the brakes the front tire blew, and the old rear drum brake that had served him well for years locked up.
When he came to he was nearly ten yards from his bike.  One saddle bag had been torn loose and was lying next to him in the cold, hard packed dirt.  In the light of the moon he could see his bike, the little spirit like road gremlins dancing on top.  He raised himself up to his elbows, where he could see them more clearly, and they caught a glimpse of him too.  That’s when they began to approach.  Slowly, almost curiously, they stalked towards him. As they advanced he picked up the only thing that was within reach, the saddle bag, and began to wave it at them trying to keep them at bay.
From inside the bag came a ringing noise.
He noticed that if he shook the bag the little gremlins would fall back, plugging their ears in retreat.  He quickly unstrapped the bag and dug out two sleigh bells from a set of toy reindeer buried in the bag.  As he knelt there shaking the bells the gremlins retreated off into the darkness.
As if attracted like a moth to a flame, two staggered lights approached from the distance, and came upon the lone rider in the darkness. To the lone rider they seemed like angels coming upon him with wings, guided by the sound of the bells.  The two riders helped the old gray-beard brush himself off and gather his belongings.  They set up camp and talked long into the night, about the old man’s brush with the road gremlins, and of many rides past.  The old man offered to pay, but as-is biker tradition, the two men would not accept any form of repayment.
In the morning the men helped the gray-beard patch his tire and limp to a little service station in the next town.  Again, as they prepared to go their separate ways, the men refused payment.  The old man had suspected this, so in the early morning hours just before dawn, he had awakened and attached two bells, one to each of his angel rider’s bikes.  As the old man watched his new friends roll out of the dusty service station driveway, he thought he could hear the ringing of bells over the low rumble of the bikes.
There are many variations on this Legend, and you will hear many tales told around campfires late at night with good friends, beer and bong.  The tale started a long, long time ago, and has been handed down by word of mouth with embellishments along the way as each storyteller wove their own magic into the tale.
Just like any true biker, it doesn’t matter how they dress on the outside, the heart of the story remains the same. It’s a reminder of the generosity of friends or in random acts of brotherhood along the road. The spirit of comradeship and brotherhood between bikers is what the ride bell is really about.
Legend says that if you buy a bell for yourself, the magic will work its spell.  However, if you have been given a bell by a friend as a gift, then the magic doubles in power and you will be well protected.  
You can never have too much luck!
Trolling through the Internet I came across these places to buy Guardian Bells, I offer you a few ideas on what and where to go if you are interested in buying one of these sweet, little bells.  
Click for website or to order.
Click for website or to order.

There are many choices, this is just one:
Celtic Cross Guardian Bell – 100% pewter, made in USA, $9.99
Part Number: 153-270
Click for website or to order.
Click for website or to order.

The chrome plated Gremlin Bells vary in size and shape  from bell to bell.  All bells come with a card that includes a version of the bell story and a 12" piece of leather cord.
$5.00 or $15.00 for a bell in a wooden gift box.
Click for website or to order.
Click for website or to order.

Live To Ride Guardian Bell: Pewter bell with wrap around design.  On the front is an American bald eagle with a banner that reads Ride To Live.  Turn the bell around to see the rest of the banner reading Live To Ride.  $9.95  Part #BEA1081
Includes a gift bag and the Legend of the Bell.  FREE shipping in the USA.
They sell bells on every theme you can think of: Animals, bugs, Celtic, civil service, dogs, fantasy, flags, memorial, military – you get the idea!
Click for website or to order.
Click for website or to order.

Lady Biker Rose Bell - $18.00  SKU Bell Lady Biker FH
Many others to choose from.
Click for website or to order.
Click for website or to order.

Harley-Davidson Women's Pink Label Ride Bell
Price: $16.99, Doc's Sale Price: $13.59
Many more to choose from!
Click for website or to order.
Click for website or to order.

Bling Guardian Bell - the only Swarovski crystal Bling Guardian Angel Biker Bell.  It comes in lots of different colors!  $49.95
Click for website or to order.
Click for website or to order.

Australian company – every choice possible, there is a huge variety of quality bells available. $14.95

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Reader Comments

We are a manufacturer of guardian bells. We have more than 60 existing designs. We can do customization. Do you have any interest please?

Jason Jiang

Friday, November 25, 2022
Editor Response We are looking forward to your talents.
Year 2005, Bandit sent me a goodie bag with bikernet tee shirt, 5-ball patch, the motel keychain room no. 69, stickers, his book Chopper Orwell signed, and the Bikernet Keychain. I still have em all.

My bell is on the petrol lock key. Yes we lock up the petrol tank and the petrol pipeline so no one steals the expensive fuel and no one tampers with what is inside the tank or tube.

Ujjwal Dey
Bomb-aye, India
Friday, October 17, 2014
Editor Response About to finish another book, and the order for new keychains is in.

Very good article.... really liked it a lot. Now I know why there are so many potholes. All that means to me is that we are getting more and more of those creatures off of the roads we all travel.

Now if we can get all of the states to pitch in and bury those little creatures by just putting a little cement or black-top to cover them up, that would be really great...

Ride safe... and watch out for those burial plots or pot-holes.... until we meet on the rode .....BE SAFE..........JC

Jerry Cullen
Dubuque, IA
Monday, April 28, 2014
The other part of the story I heard was that the gremlins will get trapped inside the bell till the clapper knocks them out and when they fall on the pavement this creates potholes.

So, as Paul Harvey used to say, "Now you know the rest of the story!"

Stu Lach
Sault Ste Marie, ON, Canada
Sunday, April 27, 2014
Editor Response It's all bullshit. I know the Code of the West. It's all about Karma, Dharma, and Nirvana, goddammit!

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