This morning I started thinking about the routines that I perform before getting on my bike and started wondering if other bikers had similar routines/superstitions to ensure a good ride. I found some interesting reading using my Google-Fu (like Kung-Fu but on the internet).
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.
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.
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.
Helping a Fellow Rider: Karma, baby!
Motorcycle technology has advanced to the point where one rarely sees another rider “broke down” on the side of the road, with the exception of an occasional flat tire. Think about that next time you wave to a passing rider. In time of need, the person you waved to may be the only one who stops to help you.
Today, though, it became a lot more – a reminder of what it really is all about.
This mirrors the issue of why motorcycle riders wave to one another. In many instances, we’re all each other has.
I’ve stopped a number of times for riders who look like they might be in trouble. In most cases, the rider is fine and can handle the situation on their own. But I’m sure each of us would appreciate having someone who understood riding (or even just someone to make sure I was okay) there to have our six, so to speak.
I’ve stopped for lone bikers on the road and offered my cell phone, tools and a drink of water. Mainly, it’s really just about the camaraderie, though: Having someone else there on a deserted stretch of highway or alongside a dark freeway.
I’ve had others stop for me, too. I’ll always remember the two gruff-looking Harley riders who stopped to ensure I was OK on the Ortega Highway years back. I was riding an old Yamaha dual sport and had stopped to adjust a loose side panel. I was amazed that these two bikers took the time and effort to get off their bikes and walk back to see if I was OK. I’ve tried to repay their thoughtfulness by stopping to assist other bikers over the years.
So if you ride – thanks. Thanks for being a part of that family that takes care of each other. It’ll come back to you.
I believe the only bolts that come loose on a ride are those for which I have no right-size wrench to tighten them. Subsequently I believe that if I carry enough tools to tighten and adjust everything on my bike, nothing will ever come loose on a ride. Hence the huge Deuter backpack filled with tools and food. The food gets eaten and replaced often. The tools have been gathering dust in their spacious compartment all summer long, happily rattling away on every rocky descent. There was one time when I swapped the old backpack for a newer one and I forgot this funky plastic two-part spoke-wrench thing that comes with Mavic’s tubeless Crossmax UST wheels (and is the only way those wheels will ever get trued). Guess who twanged his wheel while flailing down a rock staircase? See how these things are?
It’s not really a superstition but my Husband always has this thing like: when we are going to a Rally the bikes don’t leave the garage 48 hours prior to leaving, he says it’s bad luck & it does seem like it is to our friends that ride with us. it never fails if one of our friends go riding the night before, seems like they get a flat tire or some other issue with their bike.
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