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The Legend of the Ride Bell (Gremlin Bell)

  • Sometimes called by different names Ride Bells, Guardian Bells, Gremlin Bells, Motorcycle Bells and others, the legend of the Bell attached to your motorcycle remains somewhat the same.  Though there are many variations out there, this one seems to be the most common...


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    Many years ago, on a cold December night, an old greybeard biker was returning from a trip to Mexico with his saddlebags filled with toys and other assorted trinkets for the kids at a group home near where he worked.

    As he rode along that night, he thought about how lucky he had been in life, having a loving riding partner that understood his need to roam the highways and about his trusty old bike that hadn't let him down once in the many years they had shared the road together.

    About 50 miles north of the border, in the high desert, lurked a small group of notorious little critters known as Road Gremlins. You know, the ones who always leave little obstacles like one shoe, boards and pieces of old tires on the road and also dig those dreaded potholes for bikers to run over and crash, thus giving the Road Gremlins a chance to rejoice over their acts of evil.

    As the old greybeard rounded a curve that moonlit night, the gremlins ambushed him, causing him to crash to the asphalt and skid before coming to a stop next to one of his saddlebags that had broken free. As he lay there, unable to move, the Road Gremlins made their way towards him. The greybeard, not being one to give up, started throwing things at the gremlins as they approached him. Finally, with nothing else to throw but a bell, he started ringing it in the hopes of scaring off the dirty little gremlins.

    About a half mile away, camped in the desert, were two bikers sitting around the campfire talking about their day's ride and the freedom of the wind blowing in their faces as they rode across this vast country. In the stillness of the night air, they heard what sounded to them like church bells ringing and upon investigating, found the old biker lying along the roadside with the gremlins about to get him. Needless to say, being a part of the biker Brotherhood, they proceeded to ward off the gremlins until the last of them ran off into the night.

    Being grateful to the two bikers, the old greybeard offered to pay them for their help, but as all true bikers do, they refused to accept any type of payment from him. Not being one to let a good deed go unnoticed, the greybeard cut two pieces of leather from his saddlebag tassels and tied a bell to each one. He then placed them on each of the bikers' motorcycles, as near to the ground as possible. The tired, old road warrior then told the two travelers that with those bells placed on their bikes, they would be protected from the Road Gremlins and that if ever in trouble, just ring the bell and a fellow biker will come to their aid.

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    There are many variations of the ride bell legend, and almost as many ways to tell it as there are bikers to tell the tale. Like many other time honored stories of past, in the beginning it was passed on through word of mouth, from one biker to the next.

    In a way, this story is just like any true biker, it doesn’t matter how you dress it, the core of the story remains. Protection is offered in the generosity of friends or in random acts of brotherhood along the road. The spirit of camaraderie and brotherhood between bikers is what the ride bell encompasses.

    So, whenever you see a biker with a bell, you know that he has been blessed with the most important thing in life...friendship from a fellow biker.




  • Brewer I was just wondering if any others out there have a bell on their scooter? I gave one to my buddy recently when he got a new bike. Traded his Gold Wing in for a Road King. I explained the legend behind it and wished him the best of rides and roads.
  • redbaron I bought 4 bells @ thunder beach,panama city for my riding buddies.
  • JC Cool story!
  • BailOut Been a while since I been here on CycleFish. Just happened to roll across this story from a link on another site. I need to catch up with all my friends here.