I spent 18 years riding exclusively mountain bikes, so I got really familiar with the often-discussed issue of bike riders who refuse to wave at their fellow cyclists. As mountain bikers, we always wrote them off as “roadie snobs.”
Then I bought a road bike.
Now, I sometimes find myself tossing a friendly wave at mountain bikers, only to get the same aloof, I’m-too-cool-to-wave-back response. So what’s the deal? Are they assuming I’m a roadie snob, so they’re caught off guard? Do I not look as hip or stylish on a bike as I’m supposed to, and therefore I’m beneath contempt? More likely, many of them are probably simply lost in their own thoughts, or they’re pricks who take themselves and the world too seriously.
Except for the high-speed, crotch-rocket crowd, motorcyclists wave at me with at least the same regularity as fellow bicyclists. They seem to be into the whole two-wheel brotherhood thing.
Bicyclists are the only people I’ve ever known who ponder the existentialist dilemma of why we don’t wave at each other. As far as I can tell, if a golfer, fisherman, Frisbee player or dog walker waves at someone who ignores him, he simply mutters “jackass” and forgets about it. But we cyclists debate it, publish magazine stories about it, or write about it on our blogs.
Maybe that’s because we draw social lines between types of cyclists: road, mountain, etc. That’s pretty silly, since we’re all doing basically the same thing.
Dave Moulton recently wrote on his blog, “I wave to everybody when I am riding; not just people who look like me, other people on any kind of a bike, those walking, running, or on skateboards; even ladies pushing babies in strollers. They are all people like me, out getting some fresh air, and exercise.”
I think that’s a good policy: Be nice, and all that random-act-of-kindness bullshit. I don’t wave at every rider I meet, but I generally try, and I’ll keep doing it.
Hell, I’ll even wave at those free-rider types with their body armor and 45-pound, Kawasaki-wannabe bikes. One of them might even occasionally raise his cigarette into the air and wave back.
That’d be nice.
And on the subject of waving, don't forget to take advantage of the opportunity to wave at me with one finger. After my recent "Fingered" post, George suggested giving me The Finger online, so let 'em rip, folks. The Grillmeister has already provided a bird-flippin' picture and Jeff has said he'll take the challenge.
I'll do a photo collage or something. The most creative shot that contains both a middle finger and a bicycle will get special attention. Who knows? Maybe I'll come up with a prize or something. Just send them to the e-mail address from the link on this page.