by Victor Wanchena
I love it when another rider waves at me. To me it’s a little symbol of solidarity among all riders. A way of saying “How ya doing” to a fellow rider. When I first started riding the waves received from other riders made me feel like I was part of some exclusive club and, for the most part, everyone waved at everyone else. There were always those few crusty stick in the mud types that never waved at anyone and except for a few Hollywood stereotypes, motorcyclists were generally a jolly lot of people. But now it’s funny how such a small gesture as a wave has become yet another way in which we as motorcyclists have divided ourselves into small groups and cliques. The number of riders that wave to all other riders is dwindling rapidly to the point that fewer than one rider in ten might wave back at you.
This I don’t understand, we’re all on the same team. We all face the same problems and hazards on the roads. And for the most part, we’re all riding for the same reason. So why don’t other riders wave back? Is it because they’re new to the sport and don’t know the tradition? It’s possible but you would think after enough people wave at them they would get the hint. Even the most confused sort of person would throw back an involuntary wave time to time thinking you were a personal friend of theirs that they didn’t recognize. It’s possible that some riders don’t see you approaching because their concentration is focused elsewhere and therefore they never even see you to wave at. But most riders should spot an oncoming bike while scanning the road and their surrounding in the course of riding. Or, in my opinion, many riders choose not to wave back because they think it is a foolish tradition or they only wave at riders on the same brand or style of bike as them. If this is the case then we may be in for a problem.
There are dozens axioms that preach essentially the same thing. United we stand, divided we fall. The AMA is a good example of that. Regardless of any criticisms you may have for the AMA they do bring motorcyclists together and help protect our mutual interests. But what if instead of the AMA there were several small organizations that protected the interests of riders of a particular brand or style of motorcycle. Instead of being a single strong voice, they would be a din of small voices all trying to be heard. For me the wave is the on the same line. If I only wave to other riders of the same ilk as me what am I saying to everyone else? “I’m better than you,” or “I don’t associate the kinds of trash that ride your brand.” And in case you think this is a rest of the world versus Harley- Davidson rant, let me state for the record that it is not. The sort of elitism I speak goes in all directions. The next thing you know riders will only be pulling over to help stranded riders of their certain brand. Oh, wait that’s the subject of a whole different rant.
My personal opinion is we should cut with all the snobbery and posturing. You’re not so bad and neither am I. Let’s all wave at each other and at least pretend we’re friends. As footnote to this story the best wave have thus gotten in all my riding was earlier this spring from a fellow on some strange sort of chopper. As he passed by I waved and returned the wave in Samurai fashion. He threw both arms in the air and made a quick bow towards me and I even think I heard him say, “Bonzai!” Very cool.
So this month ride fast, take chances and give ’em all a wave.