Why do motorcycles have blankets?

Have you ever wondered why motorcyclists, particularly in the US, ride with a blanket roll on the back or front of their motorcycle? Is it for practical use?

It may be reminiscent of days gone by when horse riders would cross the prairies for days and weeks carrying their bedding. During winter cooler, longer rides, the blanket keeps the rider warm. 

What is a blanket roll used for?

The blanket roll is part decoration and a tip of the hat to days gone by when horse riders would ride across the country in search of wealth. Of course, a cowboy could be on the trail for days, if not weeks transporting cattle across the country. 

Naturally, the cowboy would carry with him a bedroll as his main sleeping arrangement under the stars.

Today, motorcyclists still use a bedroll. If needed, it can be wrapped around them on longer, cooler rides to keep the wind chill out.

Apart from any practical application, the Easy Rider look that Peter Fonda immortalised back in 1969 is a pretty cool look emulated by bikers worldwide.

Why do bikers have a rope hanging from their handlebars?

It goes back to the days when motorcycle gangs would have 4-foot ropes hanging from their handlebars. They are also known as “get back whips” or a “dog whip”, the latter being the perfect description.

If you have ever had a dog chase you when riding at low speed, you will appreciate the use of the “get back whip” it was intended to deter dogs from approaching closer by lashing out at the dog and scaring it off.

Why do bikers point to the ground?

There are a few stories about the origin of the “biker wave”. It’s a greeting, an acknowledgement of a fellow biker. The most plausible is after world war 2, returning service members purchased a lot of used military motorcycles and formed clubs.

The two-finger point at the ground acknowledged a fellow rider and brother in arms. This then translated into MC clubs up and down the country and across the world still being used today.

Why do motorcycle riders have a bell on their bike?

The bell has a deep meaning and cannot be purchased. It can only be given and accepted.

These bells are to ward off gremlins and evil spirits that may be lurking around the next corner to throw you off your motorcycle.

Legend has it that tormented souls wander the highways of the world looking for souls to harass. The bell will prevent this from happening.

In medieval times, church bells rang to ward off evil spirits somehow. This has followed the motorcycle community.

Who would have thought the folks who ride big American bikes like Harleys would have been so superstitious?