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Question for the bikers.

4284 Views 36 Replies 21 Participants Last post by  YamahaFan
So today is my 2nd day of cruising out in traffic, I'm going along just having the time of my life.

I pass two motorcyclists going the opposite way, they both wave at me. I wave/point/awknowledge back... never done that before.

I've noticed this before with bikers, how they always wave when passing. What is that about?

-a shared love of the same hobby?
-an awknowledgement that we're all cool?

The camaraderie of it all is impressive... that two experienced bikers cruising together on their $20k hogs would awknowledge an inexperienced noob on his $500 Virago, but if I had to venture I guess, it would be that this hobby knows no experience levels, it's not about money, it's not about social status, it's just about loving the wind in your face.

Another thing I noticed was that none of the sport bike riders did this... only the cruisers.

What is this all about? Is there anything else I need to know, regarding interactions with other bikers? I'd hate to snub someone on accident....

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It's the comraderie of being a rider. I always initiate a wave. Don't care if I get one back. I think you'll find most will wave back. If you see the same ones daily, you'll almost certainly get a wave. As for sport bike riders, watch for the (non-middle) finger point or the slight head nod. They tend to like to have their hands on the bars.
Guy definitely raises a valid point for the sport bike riders. They may just nod, or move their fingers on the grip, without releasing their grip. I have 2 sportbikes, a dual purpose and a cruiser, and I try to wave all the time. Of course, sometimes I'm more intent on that car or truck that's trying to run me off the road, so I may not always wave at every single bike that goes by me. When I intitiate the wave, I actually feel that I get more responses from riders other than the guys riding the cruisers. But, as Guy says...wave to everyone.
People must be getting better with waving. I did around 350 miles yesterday and almost every bike I passed waved back.
I'm not an "in-crowd" person so I wave to share the passion, not because "we're all cool".
Guy and Bullzaye: not sure about your area but here in Massachusetts (or at least my area) the only case sport riders don't wave back is when they're up/down-shifting thus their hands are on the clutchs, or they just didn't see you.

When did this whole wave thing start anyway? when I was a kid on the back of my dads bike I never saw people wave to each other (unless they actually knew each other) and that was up until the mid ninetys when he parked his bike. Then fast forward to a couple years ago when I Started riding street everyone suddenly waves! Is it something to do with the bike clubs not being nearly as prominant as they once were? I can't find where the sudden change came into play where everyone decided to "play nice in the sand box". Don't get me wrong I'm all for it and I wave to everyone I can.
We still wave at each other even in cars and trucks in Northeast Texas. Just a holdover from better days. My old pickup is lifted, and out here in Arizona (military sent me here) the guys/gals with lifts on old jeeps and trucks will wave. The people with the shiny new trucks just look at you like they are sure that they make more money than you. Same goes with bikes. Some of the new hardcore look at you like they are sure they are tougher, some of the older riders give a wave, and everyone else is somewhere in between. I wave at everyone and I don't really know how many wave back.
Most always wave. Though from time to time you do not get one in return. I just figure I did not need to know them anyway.

Giving a wave or other type of acknowledgement doesn't only pertain to bikers.
I drive a Mustang and occasionally get waved at by other Mustang drivers. You will see this between other people driving similar sports cars, especially for those driving the same year and model as the other guy.

The wave just seems more common with bikers than with cars. Probably because you can see the guy on the bike waving at you much easier than a guy behind a tinted window. :)

Funny thing though. I was driving my Mustang and was waved at by a guy riding, a Honda VTX cruiser, I believe it was. I didn't know him so I assumed maybe he drove a Mustang like mine.
Back in the early 80's, bikers weren't all that friendly, especially if you didn't ride a Harley. I pulled into a rest area back then with my 550 Suzuki, and there were 8 or 10 guys on their Harleys. They were all driving choppers and looked like they had just crawled out of the garbage. One of them made a smartass remark about what I was riding. Don't know what got into me, but it made me really angry. I walked over to the guy and told him, "If you think you're the meanest one here, get off that candidate for a junkyard, and I'll show you who's the meanest SOB on this highway!" He immediately said, "Oh sir, I was just kidding around. I didn't mean anything by it!" I stared at him for a moment, and then walked away. After starting down the road, I thought to myself, "You stupid old fool! You could have gotten yourself killed back there!" Now, I just ignore people who make smart remarks or don't wave. It's not worth it, and now I'm REALLY OLD! :)
Yeah I usually wave to everyone I pass on a bike....well everyone I see. Most times, I get a wave back...sometimes not. Doesn't really matter to me tho, I always try to wave.

For me it's not about us "all being cool" it's more a hello to someone that shares an interest in something that interests me. It's as simple as that really.

Funny thing is, here in OK, I see a lot of cruiser riders simply lower their arm and flatten their hand in a sort of below the seat salute. I've even heard someone refer to that has the "Harley Wave" but the way they drop their arms and the shape of their hand makes it look more like a salute.
I read somewhere that waving with one finger extended (not the middle one) with your hand down meant that you were riding the number 1 bike in America, a Harley. And, only Harley drivers did that. Now, it has evolved into everyone waving. I think it's a good thing!
Top Ten Reasons Why Harley Riders Don't Wave Back

10. Afraid it will invalidate warranty.
9. Leather and studs make it too heavy to raise arm.
8. Refuse to wave to anyone whose bike is already paid for.
7. Afraid to let go of handlebars because they might vibrate off.
6. Rushing wind would blow scabs off the new tattoos.
5. Angry because just took out second mortgage to pay luxury tax on new
4. Just discovered the fine print in owner's manual and realized H-D is
partially owned by Honda.
3. Can't tell if other riders are waving or just reaching to cover their
ears like everyone else.
2. Remembers the last time a Harley rider waved back, he impaled his
hand on spiked helmet.
1. They're too tired from spending hours polishing all that chrome to
lift their arms.

Top Ten Reasons Why Gold Wing Riders Don't Wave Back

10. Wasn't sure whether other rider was waving or making an obscene
9. Afraid might get frostbite if hand is removed from heated grip.
8. Has arthritis and the past 400 miles have made it difficult to raise
7. Reflection from etched windshield momentarily blinded him.
6. The espresso machine just finished.
5. Was actually asleep when other rider waved.
4. Was in a three-way conference call with stockbroker and accessories
3. Was distracted by odd shaped blip on radar screen.
2. Was simultaneously adjusting the air suspension, seat height,
programmable CD player, seat temperature and satellite navigation system.
1. Couldn't find the "auto wave back" button on dashboard.

Top 10 Reasons Sport Bike Riders Don't Wave:

10. They have not been riding long enough to know they're supposed to.
9. They're going too fast to have time enough to register the movement
and respond.
8. You weren't wearing bright enough gear.
7. If they stick their arm out going that fast they'll rip it out of the
6. They're too occupied with trying to get rid of their chicken strips.
5. They look way too cool with both hands on the bars or they don't want
to unbalance themselves while standing on the tank.
4. Their skin tight-kevlar-ballistic-nylon-kangaroo-leather suits
prevent any position other than fetal.
3. Raising an arm allows bugs into the armholes of their tank tops.
2. It's too hard to do one-handed stoppies.
1. They were too busy slipping their flip-flop back on.

Top Ten Reasons Why BMW Riders Don't Wave Back

10. New Aerostich suit too stiff to raise arm.
9. Removing a hand from the bars is considered "bad form."
8. Your bike isn't weird enough looking to justify acknowledgment.
7. Too sore from an 800-mile day on a stock "comfort" seat.
6. Too busy programming the GPS, monitoring radar, listening to i-pod,
XM, or talking on the cell phone.
5. He's an Iron Butt rider and you're not!.
4. Wires from Gerbings is too short.
3. You're not riding the "right kind" of BMW.
2. You haven't been properly introduced.
1. Afraid it will be misinterpreted as a friendly gesture.

:p Yup...I'm an "equal opportunity offender" :cool:
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I ride sport bikes and for me it's always been the two-finger salute. Basically the peace sign but given while pointing my middle finger at the ground palm forward. If I'm shifting I'll leave my hand on the grip and just move the fingers.

It's camaraderie. People are psychologically drawn to commonalities. As a human you always look at how other people are like you and most people normally want to associate with people who are like them.
Thanks for the great laugh, Alpha. You need one for Vintage riders.
Alpha Male

That was funny... but man are you going to get hate male from lots of groups!
Still a good laugh for the rest of us may be worth it. I'm going to clip and save those.

Ride safe & long,
Colorado Fats
I laugh the loudest over the Harley Rider reasons. I ride a 2005 RK Custom with some loud aftermarket pipes, and have an ink addiction, so #6 & #3 make me ME!! :D
Alpha Male: I'm gonna get you because you'd get me fired!!!
I couldn't stop laughing while my boss' in front of me lol
Thanks for the laugh dude,

YF, if ya can't laugh at work, get a new job bro! LOL!

I'm sort of a one-man operation, so I'm the only one here at my office most of the time. I can laugh my butt off, crank the tunes, work on the Harley, make dumb noises, and post funny stuff on forums all day long. :D
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