Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Motorcycle Superstitions

Blessing of the BikesBikers like any other facet of society, have their superstitions. I'd thought I talk about some of them.

Blessing of the Bikes

Now that Easter is just around the corner, and Spring is just about here, we'll start hearing more about "Blessing of the Bikes". It's fast growing into one of the biggest biker superstitions.

A Blessing of the Bikes is actually religious, and if you're religious it's not hard to understand why you'd want to do it. But there are many non-religious people, who for some reason, make a point to get their motorcycles blessed. And that's when it becomes superstition.

I remember attending a poker run in my local area called, "Bikers for Education" or the "BFE Ride". It's held in the Spring, and starts from a Catholic school. A priest comes out and douses each of the motorcycles with holy water. I can remember hearing some people say, "Oh yes! my bike has some water on it!".

In theory, the water is supposed to summon the power of God to protect you and your motorcycle from bad luck. I don't think the blessing worked, because when it came to time to announce the winners of the raffle, all I had was bad luck.

Ride Bells

The little iron bell that hangs from a biker's motorcycle is supposed to ward off evil spirits. As the story suggests, these demons exist on all roadways, and when a motorcycle passes by, they grab on to it and begin chipping away at your good luck until finally you have a crash.

The tingling of the bell is said to irritate these demons and prevent them from hitching a ride on your motorcycle.

BTW, the bell only has its power when someone else buys it for you, otherwise it doesn't work at all. Some vendors argue that it actually has half-power if you buy your own, but this is just marketing baloney to get people to buy two.

Green Motorcycles

Supposedly, a green painted motorcycle is bad luck. The legend has it that the Harleys used in World War II were often sitting duck targets, and many military riders got their butts blasted off them. And since they were painted Army green, it eventually translated into modern folklore.

This one might actually be true. I know a guy who had a green Road Glide, and dropped it several times, one time injuring his leg. Then he got the bike repainted, with a different shade of green, and wiped out on it again. From what I could recall, when his bike still had the factory black, he never crashed it.

A Dead Man's Motorcycle

There's a saying that riding a motorcycle that belonged to someone who is now dead is bad luck.

It's not necessarily that that person was killed on the motorcycle, just that he's now dead. Supposedly, his spirit is still riding that motorcycle along the great highway in the sky, and if he sees you riding his bike in the physical world, he'll knock you off of it.

You don't even want to use parts from that bike.

23 comments:

  1. Not me....when I'm gone, I hope someone enjoys the crap out of my bike!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. The bell was originally a mark of shame, give to the rider in the group with the most recent crash. I can only assume some yuppie saw one on an actual biker's bike and asked about it and the biker laid a bunch of crap about "road gremlins" on him and he bought it hook, line and sinker. Now everyone has one.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Actually, the bell is to remember the fallen riders. When you ride, the bell gets dirty and oily, then when you clean your bike, and get down on your knees to clean it, you're paying respects to fallen riders, and respecting the road which they are no longer with us to ride on.

    ReplyDelete
  4. We always made the last person to drop their bike carry an eightball (the round black one) until someone else dropped their's when they could hand it off.
    Bot a bell.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I must agree, a bell is given to a rider who has had an accident.Watch out for bikes that ring too much, they might have lots of bells

    ReplyDelete
  6. I have a green bike and so far so good, its an 06', maybe since my 1st one was purple and I am female it makes a difference....even went over Monarch Pass in the snow..

    ReplyDelete
  7. I have a green bike, 3 years now, and it's all good. I'll keep the green.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Monarch Pass is scary enough in a car let alone a bike in the snow!!! The bells are popular around Illinois.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I just bought a green bike and crashed it the first day riding! Someone pulled out of a parking spot without looking I had to swerve so hard I dumped the bike. Then a friend told me you have to strip all that green off there its bad luck. Never crashed before so I believe it!

    ReplyDelete
  10. How about there are more and more idiots on the road that don't pay attention as they drive. They don't look for motorcycles at all. I don't care what color your bike is anything can happen to anyone. Your experience can help but doesn't always matter. But, if your superstitious you can blame anything in life on your superstitions. I'm 37 been riding since I was 14, rode all colors of bikes ,and nothing. I'm not buying this story.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I don,t get why non-religious riders would have their bikes blessed. I've never had an accident, I'm not religious, and never had my bike blessed. But then again it's not a green bike.
    I better go get a bell and knock on some wood. haha

    ReplyDelete
  12. The bell began because the only "approved" eight-ball was a stolen one. Bells "could" be had without theft - and yeah, you could sneak it onto the last-guy-to-crash's bike. When (If) he washed it, he found it, usually on his knees. I never figured out how it became a "good thing" to have a bell. Beale Gibson, Google me for Blues.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I don't have a superstition. I have a statistical study. You have an 8 in 10 chance of NOT being rained on if you have good rain gear.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I bought my bike from my son-in-law when he was diagnosed with terminal cancer, he wanted someone close to have his pride and joy...I believe if anything his spirit protects me and yes...it has a bell, given to him, no he didn't drop it.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Same as the guy above me. My bike was my dads, and he's gone now. I don't think hell knock me off, besides its been in mine and my dads name since I was 4

    ReplyDelete
  16. Well my dad bought a motorcycle which had been fixed up after the previous owner died on it after hitting a deer. Told my dad it was bad luck, never thought a few weeks later my dad would also die on the same motorcycle after an accident.

    ReplyDelete
  17. A dead man's bike sounds like something a motorcycle dealer made up,to sell new parts and bikes !!!#%@#&@$

    ReplyDelete
  18. I don't believe in the bells!!!! I've ridden both Beemers and Harleys, and they both had Pabst church keys hanging from them. For you young folks out there a church keys is the old style can opener because we didn't have pop tops back then!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Thanks for the good article. Interesting "folklore" concerning bells. I chuckled as I read it. I've ridden since I was 15, and am now 72. I've ridden on-road, off-road, competition, through snow and ice, winter, summer, night and day, and break-neck fast and slow, in the US, Canada, and Asia... (even had a couple "green" bikes) and I never had a "bell" to protect me or my wheels. Take the first and last letters of BellS, discard the rest, and this is what I believe about bells, with all due respect to the adherents. Common sense and the good Lord above is my "bell."

    ReplyDelete
  20. Well i think the bells r cool and im buy n my husband one for christmas

    ReplyDelete
  21. The bell is an old school alarm.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My wife first bike was green and she had a bell and she never crashed. IJS...

      Delete
  22. Y'all are just so full of it!! You got to believe what you believe!! It ain't got nothin to do with color or bells or any other such nonsense!! Live to ride! Ride to live! Just enjoy your bikes!!

    ReplyDelete

About Steve

San Diego, CA-based motorcycle rider who likes long road trips, old rustic bars, craft beer, and tough women. Can often be found where there's free Wi-Fi, writing about the mysteries of life. (Read more...)