Biker Bell Legend

dec_article3Have you ever noticed that some riders have a small bell hanging off their motorcycle? According to legend, the biker bell wards off gremlins, also known as evil road spirits. Dozens of variations of the story have been told over the years. We liked this one, found on

Legend of the Gremlin Bell

As the story goes, an old graybeard 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 – 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 saddlebag 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 saddlebag, 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 graybeard 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 graybeard 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.

Buying Guide

If you’d like to buy a bell for a fellow biker, there is no shortage of styles available. A few websites we found include:

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