I went for a little ride today and when I got back home I was reflecting at all of my "road brothers" and the amount of secret wave gestures I received along the way...
Now last year on a ride down to Nashville, TN... I was on my way to meet Joshrod mid-point to continue the trek down together. Well as I was passing a semi, my bike started to chuckle and then I realized I was nearly running dry on gasoline...I coasted pass the big rig on to the side of the road and putted up the shoulder as far as I could until my tank was completley dry. Well I may be an idiot, but it happened and I had no idea where the nearest gas fill up was...so I sat on the side of a major Interstate collecting my thoughts on my next move...Should I call a friend? Should I take my shirt off and throw a thumb out hoping to catch a ride? Maybe throw my bike in the weeds and start walking??
All the while I sat there, several of fore-mentioned costume cladded "road brothers" went whizzing by staring over at me on the side of the road. Maybe it wasnt apparent I was broke down??? Or maybe all those in my close faithful community of motorcyclists had been too concerned with sticking their two fingers out in a low slung wave to stop and help.... Because I guarantee these were the same gents that threw the wave to me a few miles back when I had passed them...
Long story short...luckily some dudes were fishing nearby and were sitting in a field waiting for their ride to come. The driver was cool enough to run up the way and grab me some fuel....
Now Im not up here on my soapbox saying Im better than anyone, nor am I too proud to wave a friendly wave at someone, Im not trying to be cool and preach how a true rider acts or what constitues a REAL BIKER... but what does it all mean? Is there some rules when you purchase a 2 wheeler on this so called brotherhood? Is there a course I should have taken to be brought up to speed? I mean I have a couple hot rods and when Im driving down the road I dont see other guys in muscle cars or hopped up rigs throwing the wave???? So I figured Id do some research and this is what I came up with borrowed from FractalJazz.com:
THE IMPORTANT WAVE
One may think that motorcyclists, or “bikers” as they are known, wouldn’t have much of a care in the world as they cruise the highways, but that isn’t the case. There is something that nags at almost every biker as he is riding the ribbons of asphalt. That is, of course, the problem of waving.
It seems like a simple problem at first, but then you get into the details. The dilemma can be categorized into many sections. The following is just a few:
-Should you wave at every biker you meet? If so, what constitutes a “biker?” Obviously that would include most two or 3 wheeled vehicles, but what about someone on a moped? Some mopeds are fairly large and can be mistaken for a smaller motorcycle.
-What about waving at bikers on a brand of bike other than yours? If you ride a Harley, should you wave at someone on a Honda Gold Wing?
-Sport bikes pose another conundrum. Regardless of the brand, should bikers on sport bikes wave to people riding a touring bike, and visa versa?
-What happens if there is a long line of, say…100 bikes that meet your particular waving criteria? Do you wave at the entire line, or just the first few bikers? That could irritate the bikers farther back in the line.
-You can see that there is more to it than one might imagine. There is also the question of the type of wave to be used. There is the “low hand, one or two finger” wave. Another popular wave is the “raised fist.” Though not as popular as the low hand wave, it does serve the same purpose. Some bikers will simply wave like they are saying “hi” to their neighbor like they would if they were both in their front yards. That wave does convey the necessary fact of recognition, but it is much to wimpy for a “real biker.” It is best to avoid those kinds of bikers.
-One more facet of waving exists that can cause all sorts of consternation for a “real biker.” Let’s say you pass a biker who is sitting in the parking lot while he waits for someone. You wave…he waves. Then you get to your destination, which in this case is just a few blocks farther down the street. You take care of business and then head back. When you pass the same biker just 5 minutes later, do you wave again? I don’t know. That is a real stickler.
-What the biker community needs is some sort of equipment that would eliminate the guesswork about motorcycle waving. It would also relieve the biker of the anxiety of deciding to whom he should wave. Some sort of automatic waving arm would be ideal. If someone could develop such an item he would be a millionaire. As it is, all of us “real bikers” must continue to deal with the motorcycle waving problem.
That cleared up a lot for me, I hope it did for you as well. One thing I did learn through my useless study is next time Im hitting the roadways on a long trip, I will for sure pack my MSR fuel bottle...