Saturday, June 30, 2018

Interview With A Biker - Isabelle Beaumier By Tiffany Lévesque

Willie G & Isabelle
Harley-Davidson Museum
The first image most people make themselves of bikers are dangerous badass people but once you get the opportunity to talk with them about their values, their traditions and their code, you see how devoted, respectful and cooperative they are. This interview will give you the opportunity to explore one of the most famous biker’s tradition, the gremlin bell, as much as some of the unwritten rules of the biker’s code. I interviewed Isabelle Beaumier. Besides being my wonderful godmother, she is also passionate about motorcycles. She waits 30 years to realize her dream: having a motorcycle. She bought a 2004 Dyna Glide Low Rider she named Rosie. She really likes to attend rallies with her boyfriend Albert. They went on a motorcycle trip on July 2017 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where they had the pleasure to meet Willi G Davidson, on one the remaining Davidson descendants.


Isabelle & Friends - Daytona Bike Week
The gremlin bell is comparable to the dreamcatcher for some Native American culture. They are little bells, known in the motorcycling world as gremlin bells, guardian bells or spirit bells. These are good luck charm for motorcycle riders. The evil road spirits are attracted to the bell noise and get sucked into the bell.  Once inside the bell they cannot do any damage to the bike and the rider. The thing you’re probably asking yourself is it really working? Well, Isabelle shared a little anecdote that will surely answer your question. She told me that “While riding with my husband in USA, we had to stop for gas and food. We both notice something was off, bad vibes that make you feel uncomfortable. We did not waste anytime and ate quickly. While pulling of the parking lot, we can both fell the increasing negativity of that area. It is at this moment that we heard the noise of the bell falling to the ground.  The bell really did protect us on that trip and was replaced at the first opportunity”. Considering that being a biker can be very dangerous it is very important for biker to feel safe on their bike and the gremlin bell is a good way to do so.

Gremlin Bell
After she told me that interesting story, I start asking myself some questions like: Can people who have cars own one? Where can I buy one? My aunt quickly warned me that for the powers of the bell to work, the bell cannot be purchase by the owner of the bike, it must be gifted by another rider or a loved one. Also, these bells are known to be installed on motorcycle and not a vehicle. In addition, she told me that you could purchase the bell at most biker novelty shop, biker events and rallies. There are various shape, size and design. I was really intrigued about where bikers put their bell so I asked her and she told me “They are attached to the bottom of the frame as close as possible to the road surface. It can be only one bell per bike”. In the case the motorcycle is sold before changing hands, the bell needs to be removed and buried, it cannot be reused for another biker.



Ready To Ride
A related subject that really interested me was the biker’s code. It’s composed of some unwritten rules every biker follows. I asked Isabelle to name some of the most important one, she told me, “We normally wave at other riders on the road, you never join a group of riders unless you’re invited, never touch or sit on someone else bike, the first one of a riding pack is normally the leader of the group and if someone put his helmet on the ground beside is bike on the side of the road, that mean he needs help”. According to Isabelle, you can lose the respect form other bikers by disrespecting these rules. The most important rule for her when you are riding is to be alert and know your surroundings. Failing to do so can be very dangerous for the rider.

Ride To Live, Live To Ride
To conclude, this interview just showed me how respectful and superstitious bikers are and I really think that it is wonderful to be in a two-wheel community based on respect where the sense of belonging is really high. I just appreciate more and more the biker’s lifestyle and I hope to find out more stuff about them very soon. I also wanted to thank a lot my godmother, who gave a lot of her time sharing very interesting stories with me for my interview.

Acknowledgements


Merci Isabelle Beaumier to meet with me and share your story and knowledge. I enjoyed your company very much!

About Tiffany Lévesque


Tiffany Lévesque studied at Champlain College Lennoxville located in Quebec, Canada. Interview With a Biker - Isabelle Beaumier was written as part of a class activity for a course titled Zen & The Art of Motorcycle Studies in the Department of Humanities.

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