I recently went on a motorcycle trip. Nice trip down to South Carolina to visit a friend of mine. 480 miles from my house to his without incident, without problem, and with a whole bunch o’ wind and pavement beneath the tires.
It was a much needed vacation for me, some time alone to reflect and think. It was also a nice start to what I believe will become a yearly ritual for me. Be it for a week or an extended weekend, a long motorcycle ride each year seems to be in order. But that’s another story.
During my time in South Carolina, my friends wife saw a couple of motorcyclists do the customary hand out to the side “wave” as we were heading into Columbia, SC on the “slab” (4 lane divided highway). At that point she asked “Why do they do that? They’re clear across the four lane!”. At the time I didn’t have a good answer for her, but as I pondered the question during my ride home, I came up with a theory.
Biker’s wave because we all share a common interest. Bikes. We know that no matter what the other guy is riding, he enjoys the same joy of being on the open road on two wheels. As you pass folks in cars, you have no idea what they might do for a living, what they like on tv, what hobbies they might have. All you know about that person is that they are heading to a destination in a car.
When you pass a biker, you know at least one thing. They ride. Now, you might meet that person in another situation and have nothing in common, but while you are on that bike, you share the road and a passion. In fact, you might not even like that other person. But, chances are, if you happen to be stopped along side the road, scratching your head and looking at your bike, they will stop. They might not be able to help, but they will stop, because they share that common interest.
Of course, some don’t wave. Maybe they’re shifting gears, didn’t see you or are just too afraid to let go of the handlebar. Or, maybe, just maybe, they don’t share that sense of brotherhood or their sense of brotherhood is only with those that ride the same kind of bike. Those folks are the minority.
I hope that helps explain to those non-bikers out there why we wave. In the mean time, keep the rubber side down and see ya’ll in the wind.