Tuesday Coffee Talk - Do you Wave?

Do you wave? "Wave, to whom? That person I don't know?" "But why doesn't that person wave back? How rude!" "Hey, I don't know you I don't owe you anything, just let me do my intervals... and please don't draft... let me turn my iPod back on."

What is it with the wave to other cyclists. Do you do it, do you reply if waved to, do you wish we'd stop this foolish act, etc. Waving to other cyclists is mostly done as if we are all apart of some secret non-biological family, some underground club or secret society. The wave can say to the other cyclists, "have a good ride" or "glad to see you bold enough to be out in this weather like me", or a handful of others. One local pro says he makes a point to wave to everybody he see's out on the road but I bet on some days his wrist could get pretty tired out on the roads.

But not everyone waves. I remember when I started out in cycling in the midwest we waved because there were so few of us but come out on a beautiful weekend in Boulder County in March or April and you'd probably come home with wrists more sore than you legs. Do I wave, no not to every single person but I'd say I do most of the time. As cycling grows in the Front Range I might not wave to everyone but I'll continue to wave often.

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21 Comments

Please wave, but not at me

I don't make a point to wave to every cyclist and don't expect everyone on a bike to wave back to me, just because you are on a bike does not make you worthy of a wave. However, I have started giving a friendly wave to cars that wait to pass or give me space as they are coming around. Try it and you will be amazed at the positive reactions from motorists who really appreciate it when a cyclist acknowledges them! Drivers wave back to me, give thumbs up, give even more space and I am sure it reinforces courtesy to cyclists. With the growing tension between cyclist and motorists, that is probably the best use of your waving energy.

Will third this comment.

Will third this comment. Though cycling is now my #1 thing, I came from a team sports background and it occurred to me a little while ago that road cycling is the only sport that inconveniences the general public, slight though it may be. I bet this explains a lot of the tension we've seen lately between drivers and riders.

In my attempt to at least not be part of the problem, I have taken to signaling a lot, thanking drivers and pedestrians with a wave when they yield, even if I have the right of way, and make an obvious show of stopping at every stop sign where there is a car anywhere in sight.

I often wave or give the head nod to other riders as well to honor the "brotherhood of the asphalt". Especially in winter when you often have to put up with a lot of s*** to get in a decent ride, I figure everybody deserves a "well done" little nod or whatever. Most people nod or wave back, and every once in awhile I get a cheap thrill when I realize that the person who just waved back is a well-known pro. Times like that I realize I am very fortunate to live and ride here and I intend to do my part to help keep it that way.

Don't be a dick, wave.

I grew up in a small town (<5,000 people). My dad had a small business and occasionally he'd drive us to school. He would do the 1 or 2 finger farmer waive from the top of the steering wheel. One day I asked why do you waive at everyone, even the people you don't like, he said, "It makes people happy to be acknowledged, it's good for business, and really, what's the harm? So, Ryan, don't be a dick, waive".

So on my morning commute, I 98% of the time waive, unless I'm sipping my latte, in that 2% of the time I'll most likely say Hi, goodmorning, have a nice ride, Beautiful morning, eh? or Howdy. It tends to throw people off and I know it makes me feel good when folks do the same. So, don't be a dick.

It appears that all cyclists

It appears that all cyclists like to wave. Motorcyclists included. I see them waving at each other from their Harleys all the time. It always surprises me when people wave riding 35-40mph downhill. They should probably keep their hands on their bars and just nod...for their own safety. I think waving is a good thing and am always happy when a pro cyclist finds the time to wave. It's the pros who think they're "above" the waving thing that have it wrong; it's easy PR for the brands they sponsor.

I Ride the Wave

Hi... my name is Mike and I'm a waver, but it really depends on the scenario. If I'm hammering up a trail or on the road, I'll acknowledge you, but it will be obvious I am way too out of sorts to wave. Here in Denver if I'm on a bike path... I hardly ever wave as I would look like the Queen of England parading through town, but otherwise... if I haven't seen another cyclist in a while... I'll wave.

The funny thing is that this waving phenomena is not at all unique to cycling. I was an avid motorcyclist before ditching the engine and switching over to my lungs/legs instead. There's a two fingers at 8 o'clock wave we do when on motorbikes. I'd consider doing that wave on a bicycle, but I think it would look stupid doing anything under 40mph. The funny thing is that the motorcyclist wave is pretty much mandatory to be honest. Even if you're leaning over hard mid-turn you still do it. If someone passes by and doesn't wave, you immediately know that guy is either a newbie or a dick. Then again, there is that whole subculture element to motorcycles.

I'm a waver too!

I love acknowledging others while out on a ride. Like others have stated, I don't normally wave on bike paths or when the going is tough, but if I'm out cruising, especially when the weather is nasty, I'll wave to anyone and everyone. I have noticed that the ladies are more likely to ignore my wave. What's up with that?

I also give a friendly wave to motorists that don't turn in front of me, and are generally aware that I exist. I truly appreciate them and like them to know it.

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