Rides and Tales

Observations From Behind Bars

Ride Bell

with 3 comments

Just a couple days ago, I did something I would have never featured myself doing. I rode into town, to the Harley-Davidson dealer, and bought a ride (or, “guardian”) bell.

Yeah, who’d a-thunk it? I’m not really a bell kind of guy, I’m a Honda kind of guy and bells aren’t really a Honda kind of thing.

The fact is, my oldest and best compadre called and asked if I wanted to ride into town with him to pick up a quart of Genuine Harley-Davidson Motor Oil for his, recently acquired, 1974 Sportster.

No, I don’t know the identifying H-D letter code.  Yes, I’m a heterosexual.


I do know the bike was built by my bud’s younger brother, a man who has been forking Harley-Davidson motorcycles for, easily, 35 years, and that it shines like a diamond in a goat’s ass.

That being neither here, nor there, we got on the expressway and expressed our way on over to the Harley dealer. It was like old times.

Okay, it wasn’t exactly like old times.

You can’t just walk into a dealership, light up a smoke, grab a couple quarts of oil and check out the knockers on Fred’s hot ol’ lady while she takes your post-dated check. No. You make your way through the waxes, polishes and air fresheners till you find the accessory counter. Oil is behind there, somewhere.

While my bud was negotiating his purchase, Jill and I wandered over to where they sell the doo-daddery, including ride bells.

We keep some traditions, still. We don’t paint motorcycles green, we don’t put a hat on a bed and we don’t wear denim jackets that don’t have gun pockets sewn in. A knife must be purchased with a penny, and a motorcycle with all the change in your pocket.

While a quart of oil or a ready wrench is probably better gremlin repellant, bells seem to have a place in the tradition of the Harley owners sub-culture as such. We bought one for our bud.

Since the bike sports a “Blessing of the Bikes” sticker, indicating that the bike was, well, blessed, we were asked if the bell would negate that blessing (I think it’s expired, now, anyhow). A pagan friend once told me that he didn’t have any trouble with a Christian blessing, since he’d accept divine help from any quarter, so I suggested that the bell is a supplement rather than a replacement.


I guess buying the bell was our way of blessing our bud, too. He was a long-time Triumph man before life put him on a side track and I think he might have been a little self-conscious riding a loud sporty Sporty. At any rate, the little present tickled him so Jill and I were blessed, as well.

Another fine old tradition we keep is the coffee break.

Afterwards we expressed back to the big Bluff without incident, accident or gremlin.


Written by fiddle mike

April 3, 2009 at 1:33 pm

Posted in culture, motorcycle

Tagged with ,

3 Responses

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  1. Great story. At first I thought you bought the bell for yourself, and was going to have to tell you it would do no good that way. The bell must be given and received, not purchased for one’s self. Anyway, I see you got that straight. I never thought they did much good though. Last one I had bugged me dangling on my ride, looking like it didn’t really belong to the bike, so I chucked it into the woods one day. I have to wonder if it had any bad karma. I’m not superstitious anyway. (I say this while knocking on wood)! LOL!

    Mr. Motorcycle

    April 3, 2009 at 1:59 pm

  2. A friend bought me a gremlin bell…it’s been bad luck ever since. If I actually believed in that crap, I would have taken it off…cuz since he bought it for me, the bike has seen her fair share of bad juu juu…More than any of the previous years. I don’t chalk that up to the ride bell however…just to how the cowchips landed in my path…sometimes your able to avoid the crap, others, well you avoided one only to land in another…but…ya never know how things really are, maybe there is something to this shit, maybe I should take this seventy dollar bell off my fricken bike (most expencive [non] part on the bike thus far) and toss it into a forgotten memento box, and pray for better roads?


    April 4, 2009 at 5:36 am

  3. I forgot to click the follow up box…”so here I am again, playing fool againnn….”


    April 4, 2009 at 5:39 am

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