Every time I go out on the roads to ride, I pray. My prayer is always the same: “Dear Lord keep me safe and others from me!”
I know many bikers who pray or focus their attention on God, a higher being, super energy to ask for protection before they ride.
However, a crop of riders have a completely different way of asking for protection — they hang Guardian Bells, also called Gremlin Bells, on their bikes!
A guardian bell is a small bell hung on a motorcycle to ward off evil spirits and gremlins. These bells are also believed to bring good luck to the rider. Gremlin bells are made of different materials, including pewter, brass, and copper.
How did the legend of the Guardian Bell come about?
There are many stories and folklore surrounding the genesis of the gremlin ????. While it’s hard to ascertain which one of these was first reported, I have researched and compiled the most famous ones.
Legend 1 – The English Countryside Motorcyclist
Motorcyclists have attached spirit bells to their bikes for years to ward off evil road spirits and gremlins. The legend of the Gremlin Bell began in the early 1920s when a motorcycle rider travelled through the English countryside. Suddenly, his bike began to sputter, and he had trouble keeping it upright. He saw a small cottage in the distance and made his way to it hoping to find help.
The cottage was home to an older woman who told him that a gremlin had been sabotaging his bike. She gave him a bell to hang from his bike, which would ward off the gremlin. The motorcyclist was sceptical but took the bell and hung it from his bike. Sure enough, his bike ran smoothly from that day forward, and all mechanical problems disappeared. And so the legend of the guardian bell was born.
Legend 2 – The Solo Biker at the Cafe
One story tells a biker on a long road trip who stopped at a small cafe for lunch. While eating, he noticed a small bell on the door and asked the waitress about it. She told him it was a Gremlin Bell and a good luck charm used to ward off evil spirits.
The biker was sceptical but decided to take one with him on his trip. As he continued his journey, the biker had mechanical problems with his bike. He would ring the bell whenever something went wrong and say, “Gremlin be gone!” And miraculously, his bike would start working again. He continued to use the bell throughout his trip and arrived safely at his destination. The biker decided to hang the bell on his motorcycle as a protective charm. Ever since then, Gremlin Bells have been used by motorcyclists worldwide.
Legend 3 – The Young Couple
Another tale tells of a young couple out on their first date. They were driving down a dark country road when they hit a gremlin. The gremlin was killed instantly, and as it died, it let out a blood-curdling scream. The couple was scared after the incident and did not ride for a long time.
They finally decided to hang a guardian bell from their bike as a protection against any other gremlins that might cross their path. Only after they had the guardian bell on their motorcycle could they summon enough guts to ride again!
Legend 4 – World War II
The legend of the Gremlin Bell began with World War II. Allied aircraft pilots were overwhelmed with fatigue and often hallucinated during flights. Some of their hallucinations included seeing mystical creatures — Gremlins attempting to sabotage and bring down their planes. These pilots were doing extraordinary long hours of work with little rest and were under distress.
To ward off these gremlins and protect their planes, the pilots began to hang little bells from their aircraft. They physically would snap out of the hallucination by the constant ringing of the bell. They believed that the bells would harass and confuse the gremlins, leading them away from the planes.
After the war, some of the veterans brought these guardian bells back home with them. They had seen the powerful charm of the bells keeping them safe during dangerous flights. They believed the bells would afford them the same level of protection on their motorcycles!
Legend 5 – Memorial Bell
This started out as a tradition of motorcyclists hanging a bell to remember a fallen fellow biker. The fallen bikers’ mates would often hang a bell with some inscription or engraving to remember their departed buddy. The tradition has grown, and bikers hang bells in memory of other bikers, loved ones and even pets. In this case, it is not so much a guardian bell motorcycle but a memorial bell.
Legend 6 – Monks and Knights
One story says guardian bells were created by a group of monks trying to ward off evil spirits who wouldn’t let them meditate peacefully. So strong were the guardian bells that these Shaolin monks created that Gremlins disappeared from their village and all surrounding villages.
Another story claims that guardian bells were brought back from the Crusades by knights who had been given them by grateful villagers that the Knights had helped protect.
There are even more stories, but I will leave you with these six for now. The common theme is the faith people have put into the ability of the guardian bells to protect them from evil spirits. That’s what guardian bells do!
What are these Gremlins? What is their beef with motorcyclists?
A Gremlin is a small creature notorious for being mischievous and causing trouble. They are often depicted as being ugly and dirty, with sharp claws and teeth. While they can be helpful at times, their main goal seems to be causing as much chaos as possible. Some believe that gremlins are bent on doing evil because they were once humans who were cursed by a witch or sorcerer. Others believe that they are simply mischievous by nature and enjoy causing havoc. For the reason, gremlins have a reputation for being troublesome and are often feared by those who cross their path.
What are some of the other names for Guardian Bells?
Guardian bells are known by several other names. The most common ones are Guardian bells, Gremlin bells, Angel bells, Memorial bells, Spirit bells, Motorcycle Bells, Fortune Bells, Biker Bell, Ride Bells and Goblin Bells.
What’s the best way to attach a Gremlin Bell?
All guardian bells come with an eye (guardian bell hanger) or a key ring to easily attach the bell to your motorcycle. The best place for the guardian bell to have the most impact in warding off bad luck is the lowest part of the frame and as far forward as possible on the motorcycle. Attaching the bell low on the motorcycle can effectively pick up Gremlins in the hollow of the bell. Once in the hollow of the bell, the constant ringing drives them crazy and consequently they leave the bell and stop chasing the biker.
What are some of the things to be mindful of with a Gremlin Bell?
- Guardian bells are essentially a gesture of goodwill and good intention. They work their charm best when they are gifted to your fellow biker friends. The power of the bell becomes ineffective if a biker buys and uses it for himself. It’s a great gift for a fellow biker but a useless one for yourself. The only exception is memorial bells.
- If you ever sell your motorcycle, make sure you retain your guardian bell. Use the guardian bell on your next motorcycle but do not pass it on.
- The older the guardian bell, the stronger its magical powers are. As such, WWII guardian bells are packed with much power, for they have been effectively warding off Gremlins for many decades!
- If you are dying, you may pass on your Guardian bell. Make sure to honour the guardian bell by being discreet and wise in choosing the new keeper. Guardian bells are all about intentional goodwill.
- Guardian bells are never owned; they are only kept.
- Be a joyful giver of Guardian bells to fellow bikers.
- Never steal a Guardian bell because that renders the bell’s power ineffective. It must be given voluntarily to you with good intentions.
Where can I purchase a guardian bell?
Guardian bells are easily available for purchase online. Lots of vendors will even allow customization at the time of purchase. You can easily find vendors on Amazon and Etsy to start with.
Are guardian bells only for Harleys?
No. Guardian bells can be put on any motorcycle. However, they are rarely seen on sports bikes, super sports, adventure or superbikes. They are very popular with Harley owners and cruisers, though.
How many Guardian Bells can you have?
There is no prevalent standard for this. However, most bikers have only 1. It is said that those who have had accidents can sometimes be seen riding with more than 1 motorcycle bell. They also typically tend to be given the Angel Bell, essentially a guardian bell with an Angel on it.
Some riders collect guardian bells even though they only use one at a time on their motorcycles. Guardian bells also serve as perfect gifts for a new rider.
Are Guardian Bells expensive to buy?
They typically sell for anything between $12 – $40 apiece. The more customized they are, the more expensive they are.
My personal take: Would I ever have one or gift one?
There is no doubt that many bikers believe in the mystery of the guardian bell and its power to ward off little gremlins.
I believe the perfect guardian bells for me our my prayers and faith in the Alpha and the Omega.
Evil spirits, evil road Gremlins, harmful spirits, evil little creatures — my faith in the One is sufficient to keep them at bay.
To each his own! See you in the next one!