The wave, I’ll admit it, until I had been riding my Harley for several months I thought it was silly and I didn’t really get it. Go back to before I rode a motorcycle and I made fun of it, sad but true! I use to laugh and tell my husband you don’t see me waving at other people driving Explorer’s so why do bikers wave at each other?! I didn’t get it.
I now understand that while out on the road you develop a feeling of closeness to those you have never met, you understand how they feel with the warm sun against their face or the rain pelting down on them. There is a bond despite that the only you thing you may have in common is that you both ride a motorcycle. The wave is a way to connect to your fellow biker. I have read some articles that claim some bikers use it show their approval or respect for what you ride. Me, I don’t care what you ride, just get out there and ride it. If you wave to me and I am in a position to safely wave back I will.
Is it safe to wave? So what if you are a new rider and not sure about taking your hand off the handle bars? Then don’t do it! Until you are comfortable waving, a smile and a nod will do. Hopefully the other rider understands and if they don’t well, that’s okay too. As a rider safety has to be your first concern. I began by nodding or I would keep my hand on the bars and just lift the fingers up, sort of a half wave. Then I slowly began to raise my hand more and more. Now I feel comfortable, most of the time, with a regular wave. If I am in a curve, the weather is bad or I don’t feel comfortable taking my hand off the bars I revert back to the smile and nod.
What’s the proper way to wave? If you have been riding for even a few months I am sure you have noticed several distinct waves. Some do the low one finger, others a peace sign and then there is the “hi mom” wave. Scott and I laugh at that one especially when they do it almost hopping up and down on the seat of the bike but hey, they are riding so I wave back! Full Throttle has a great post with the low down on each style in their hand greeting post. As you ride you will develop a wave that feels comfortable to you, go with it.
They didn’t wave back, why? Don’t be offended if you do wave and the other biker doesn’t wave back. There are a multitude of reasons and most have nothing to do with the you. They may not see you, maybe they are a new rider and not comfortable yet or heck they may not wave just because they don’t want to. Maybe they haven’t developed that connection to fellow riders yet. Then you have the ones that don’t feel like you deserve their respect. Many motorcycle clubs will not wave back unless they are passing another member or a club that is associated with theirs. That’s fine with me and I don’t take offence when they don’t return the wave. The only reason that bothers me is the fact that if you are a woman rider the chances of getting waved at are even less than for our male counterparts. There are still clubs, groups and individual riders that don’t feel a woman has any place on a bike of her own. I have had groups pass Scott and I, wave at him and quickly put their hand down as they approach me. I have even over heard men say women have no business on their own bike. At first it irritated me but then I let it go. I am riding my ride, living my life and hopefully when I am on road showing that women have a place in the motorcycle world.