The legend of the silver bell

25 November 2014

One of the most curious, romantic - and unrecognized in Italy - biker legends is certainly that of the "GUARDIAN BELL". The story has several interesting points, that's what it is all about. On a desert road in Mexico, a lone biker traveled at night, carrying a sack full of gifts for poor children from a distant town. He did not know, however, that the Spirits of the Road, the Gremlins, were lurking, guilty of every hole, obstacle, piece of wood or nail that could be found on it. The little Gremlins loved to hang on to bikes and combine every possible damage, from loosening bolts to leaking oil and fuel. Thus, that night, the Gremlins knocked the lone biker to the ground, fortunately without serious consequences. As he got up, in the light of the full moon, he saw a swarm of angry Gremlins advance towards him. The biker threw the sack's toys at him but they had no effect: he found a bell and began to ring it. The sound reached two bikers encamped not far away who, curious, jumped on their motorcycles and went to see. Naturally they helped him to drive them away and he, out of gratitude, decided to give him two bells. Since then, the use of attaching a bell to a motorcycle with leather laces has become a tradition of good wishes and a symbol of brotherhood and mutual aid between bikers.

It is not known when and who spread this legend but we can still, from the story, dissect some things. Beyond the resemblance of the gift-bearing biker to Santa Claus, we are able to temporally situate the legend at the end of the 1940s, considering that the Gremlins were previously unknown. They are in fact a myth of the British fighter pilots of the Second World War, who blamed them for whatever accident happened to their planes. The Gremlins then entered the collective imagination thanks to a children's book by Rohal Dahl, cartoons and films from the 1980s. In common biker use, the bell must be silver and must be given as a gift, which suggests that these details have been worked out in view of commercial exploitation, since any bell will attract curious Gremlins inside, making them crazy with its sound and causing them to fall ruinously to the ground, away from the bike. It should be remembered that the biker tradition wants the bell hung as close to the ground as possible, even if none of us will object to seeing it hanging in other parts of the custom. There is a particular reason, however: by doing so it will get dirty faster and the biker, rubbing it to clean it, will dedicate time and thought to fond memories of all the brothers who fell on the roads. In Italy there are very few of them, it seems more of an American use, and it is rather difficult to find them for sale if not on the internet or in specialized shops. However, nothing prevents the true biker brother, interested in substance even in myth, rather than following trends, from hanging any bell found inside the house or on a market banquet, without waiting for someone to give it to him or, worse !, having to go and tell this legend hoping that those who listen to it will be tempted to buy it! So come on, open the old drawers, maybe detach it from the collar of your flea and beloved dog, or even laugh along with a pint of beer watching a rusty cowbell dangerously poised between the bars of a rat bike at a gathering, but scared to death the cursed Gremlins, in the name of the God of Speed ​​and in the face of the Merchant Devil ...

Papa Doc for MPM GENS