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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Demon Bells - The Story Behind the ‘Demon Bells’


Legend has it that Evil Road sprits have been latching on to motorcycles for as long as there have been bikes on the road.  These Evil Road Spirits are responsible for mechanical problems and bad luck along a journey.  Legend goes on to say that by attaching a small bell on your bike The Evil Road Spirits will become trapped inside the bell where the constant ringing drives them insane, making them lose their grip until they fall to the ground. (Ever wonder where pot holes come from?) Legend also has it that the mystery of the Motorcycle Bells (demon Bells, Spirit Bells) carries twice as much power when it is purchased by a friend or loved one and given as a gift.  Show someone how much you care.  Offer them defense against the Evil Road Sprits!  Give a Motorcycle Bell and share the Legend of Good Luck it offers to a motorcycle and its rider.

Road bells come in may varieties, but do you know the origin of this rider’s talisman?  Read on and learn!

Since it’s October, with the days growing shorter and colder, and with Halloween on the way, it’s natural to start thinking of the spooky and the macabre.  What better way to get things rolling than with a discussion of a popular riders superstition, the use of a small bell affixed to the underside of their motorcycle or scooter to ward off ill fortune?  Westender EZ has done a bit of research, and may well have found the origins of this peculiar practice.  Take it away, EZ!
The Legend of The Road Bell
 It has been many years since I first did the research to find the ‘True Story’ of the ‘Why?’ and ‘How?’ of those bells we put on our scooters for ‘Good Luck’ and so I thought I’d pass this on once again for all those new faces I see every time I ride.It is said that it all started during World War II outside Asch, Belgium, in America’s campaign against Germany. The time was late 1944 and Harley motorcycles were being used to carry messages back and forth between the command posts and the front lines. They were nimble and quick and got the job done.
  Lt. Dave Knox of the 9th Armored Division rode one of these sidecar equipped Harleys as fast as possible along sometimes muddy rutted, and sometimes very dry dusty roads, heading cross country whenever the roads ran out.
One day, his very good friend Lt. Col. John Meyer, one of the top aces in the 8th Air Force, presented him with a small chime or bell as a good luck symbol – telling David that if this good luck bell were to be mounted very low on his Harley, the chime coming from such a bell while riding down the road would scare off all Road demons, thereby protecting the bikes rider from all harm. Soon Harley riders were giving little bells to other Harley riders as good luck charms throughout the war.
The idea carried over after the war and when our fighting men came home and purchased Harleys of their own, the idea of presenting one’s riding buddy with a “Road Bell” became popular during the late forties and very early fifties. It is said that in 1953 during the filming of “The Wild One”, a movie about motorcycles loosely based on a 1947 fight between some bikers and the townsfolk in and around Hollister, California, that the star Marlon Brando (who rode a Triumph) gave a small brass “Good Luck Bell” to Lee Marvin who got to ride a Harley-Davidson in the movie.
The Road Bell must be presented as a gift from another and not purchased by the bikes owner. Place the bell as low as possible and towards the front of the motorcycle so as to ward off any and all road demons along the road ahead.
Sometimes as I ride along, I will hear the chime from my bell and smile, knowing that another Road Demon was just scared away and my journey that day would be a safe one.