Main Motorcycle: '18 Bobber
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Van Alstyne, Texas
Other Motorcycle: '16 HD Ultra Low
Waving to other riders, and 'coolness': Some thoughts
A friend just sent me an article on waving from a guy pictured in front of his dresser wearing a HOG member vest, all about the coolness of an appropriate wave and what it meant to him. This got me thinking about waves. Sorry to beat a dead horse, but thought I’d get the thoughts of others on this subject to determine whether they’re similar to mine.
I wave, but I’m not hung up on it as I once was when I got back to riding. I’ve learned that the so-called brotherhood of those who ride is a myth, confirmed repeatedly after stopping to help anothers on two wheels (usually when I'm in the car and see him in time) only to find that I was the first and only who stopped with many others on 2-wheels riding by without even an acknowledgement. We’re all too busy, I suppose.
If both hands are required to ride safely, then they get a nod. Sorry, it's all I've got. I've read in this forum that those in UK often just nod as an appropriate acknowledgement to others they've never met. I agree with them in theory; however, a nod seems a tad bit aloof in the US, unless safety’s a factor. Perhaps I could get away with it if I’d let my white beard grow, ride a BMW, and have lots of money (which I don’t).
The type of wave that the article mentioned (the left arm slowly lowered extended with two fingers [really?] point toward the ground) I have difficulty doing well. (I often think that they’re pointing to a road hazard and wondering why.) Yet, in fits of sympathy to those who’ve not thought about the subject, I sometimes comply with a similar wave, but their waves harkens me back to using a suicide shift, something that “looks” stereotypical hardcore biker (or what one imagines has evolved by 1%ers). When I do comply, I afterwards feel phony.
Perhaps my feeling of phoniness is because others have pointed out that irrespective of the leathers I wear on a cold day, I'm anything but a "biker". My affinity for button-down shirts or interests in fountain pens and handwriting, Reformed Theology, Baroque music, and model shipbuilding don't exactly fit the interests of even the moderate biker, let alone hardcore. Only my interest in martial arts, shooting and reloading, may be similar. Oh, yeah, definitely beer, but not when riding.
The article also placed extreme emphasis on the motivation of the wave: to prove coolness. Well, I ain't cool. Just look at my interests! Why pretend just because I'm on two wheels? (And having thought about it: now with electric start and EFI, what is so noble about jumping on a bike anyway?)
I'd be a liar to say that I’ve never had the inclination to be cool, but the motivation was always with a purpose (attracting the opposite sex—with the strongest urge in Middle School, as my fuzzy brain-housing group recalls). It was never an end in itself. At 64, my coolness—though doubtful that it ever existed—is due to poor circulation. Besides, the subject of coolness is so evasive. I suspect that the only people who think I'm cool now are those who ask, "Isn't it dangerous to ride a motorcycle?", as if they would like to but can't fathom the courage to even swing a leg over a seat.
The type of genuine wave for me to give is similar to swearing in with your left arm/hand without movement. But that's me. No pretense…just a simple “Hey”, without all of the imaginary "coolness".