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Why I Wave

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Old 09-07-18, 10:22 AM
  #1  
scotton
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Why I Wave

I generally make an effort to wave at oncoming drivers, and on my ride this morning I reflected on why I do this. Here are the three reasons why I wave:

1. The main reason is to humanize myself. People in Texas are generally very friendly until they get behind a wheel. Then they tend to turn into rage monsters. I suspect this is because we are no longer people, we are boxes zooming around in box world. So I wave at people to say "Hey, look at us. Two humans in the same part of this big spinning rock. Isn't that neat?"
2. I'm trying to train motorists to look for cyclists. It's kind of like using treats to train a dog. If you get the motorists looking for a wave, then they are looking out for cyclists. Also, I'm trying to trick people into thinking that maybe they know me. You are less likely to run an acquaintance off the road. This may backfire if the motorist actually does know me, because most of my friends would absolutely run me off the road.
3. If you wave at someone and they don't wave back, you get that smug feeling of superiority. Or you just spotted someone who is not paying any attention to the world. And if you wave at a cyclist and they don't wave back, you have my full permission to flip them off. That might help reset their ****** meter to a more acceptable level.
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Old 09-07-18, 10:32 AM
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Paul Barnard
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I wave when the situation warrants. A rare motorist on a remote road, yep. A safe, courteous or cooperative pass on a lightly traveled backroad, yep. To my fellow cyclists and pedestrians on the less busy stretch of the MUP, they get a friendly wave, nod or greeting. It never hurts to present ourselves as kind humans, since we are all to often perceived as rude, self-centered annoyances.
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Old 09-07-18, 12:36 PM
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Maelochs
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If you train drivers to expect waves, they might then get angry at cyclists who don't wave, and then be more apt to run Them off the road.

You are spoling things for everyone.
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Old 09-07-18, 12:45 PM
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Depends on the circumstance, sometimes...it's creepy, like a adult of the same gender...sometimes it's make me think the waver is just a little crazy.
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Old 09-07-18, 01:27 PM
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Colnago Mixte
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Everyone's crazy, didn't you know that? Some are just better at covering it up than others, but we're all completely nuts in some way or other.

I think in a lot of situations, like in really remote areas where you don't expect to see anyone else, it's 100x creepier NOT to wave or say hi to someone you encounter. So I'm pro-waving, when I feel it's appropriate, I think it builds a sense of community, and wakes people up who look at the rest of the world as nothing more than their own personal video game, and other people as just ones and zeroes.

If they don't wave back, fine. I'm not gonna invest so much of myself in a casual wave so as to let it ruin my whole day, that definitely would be creepy.
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Old 09-07-18, 01:36 PM
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Naw, maybe flash Roadie sign like raising two fingers from the left hood, or a barely perceptible nod. But some people really ARE crazy, and waving at them just attracts their attention.

FWIW, flipping off the non-wavers is probably OK since we won't notice it any more than the wave itself, nor care much. But Texas must have changed some since I lived there, if flipping people off is that casual now.
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Old 09-07-18, 02:41 PM
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On the gravel roads, where cars come along only ocassionally, I wave. Waving to passing drivers is a common thing here when you’re driving the backroads - so it makes sense to do it when I’m on my bike. A raised forefinger is sufficient. A full-on wave is way over the top and a violation of backroad waving etiquette.
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Old 09-07-18, 05:14 PM
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Jim from Boston
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Why I Wave
Originally Posted by scotton View Post
I generally make an effort to wave at oncoming drivers, and on my ride this morning I reflected on why I do this. Here are the three reasons why I wave:

1. The main reason is to humanize myself. …
2. I'm trying to train motorists to look for cyclists...
3. If you wave at someone and they don't wave back, you get that smug feeling of superiority…
I have previously posted to several threads:
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
As a year-round commuter through the mean streets of Boston...
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
… I find threads about what to say to a driver futile, since these are brief, often emotion laden encounters, and often the cyclist makes a bad impression.

I have in the past posted about giving “bicyclist curses,” and “bicyclist blessings; about 5 blessings a day, and about 3 curses a week….
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
I have those exact thoughts whenever I am passed, even when not too close by motorist who does not slow down or move over slightly, just as an indication that they notice me. I always think those self-absorbed cagers are only restrained by the thought of scratching their cars, or the hassle of filing police reports.

My only satisfactory retribution is to give them my previously-described Bicyclist Curse.

(I repeatedly jab my pointed right index finger in their direction, while shouting an accusatory, ”You, you, you…”). The possibility of metaphysical retribution is more satisfying than the middle finger.

I do also bestow Bicyclist Blessings on drivers who show even a modicum of respect, with a wave of the hand...
And in more specific situations:
Originally Posted by Paul Barnard View Post
...My experience has shown me there are times to be out in the lane

All those who pass courteously get a friendly wave. While there really is no value to them in my moving right, I think it does give them the impression I am being cooperative. It also gives me a little more room.
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
My usual routes are pretty safe…early morning or after rush hour in the evening, in the reverse commuting direction, on residential (though somewhat busy) and light commercial thoroughfares.

On a few rides over the past few days I have tried out the more aggressive position, in the right tiretrack, with very good results. I can easily monitor the driver's responses in my rearview mirror...so far no aggressive maneuvers or honking.

I also like your strategy of gently nudging towards the center, then relenting towards the right. And I always give a wave to the cooperative driver, either before or after their pass.


So this morning I employed the above-described strategy again with excellent results. ...I soon determined that at about 30 yards behind me, the driver probably has noticed me, but is not yet impatient. So at that point I veer rightward to acknowledege the car’s presence and show my cooperative “share the road” attitude
.

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 09-07-18 at 05:20 PM.
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Old 09-07-18, 05:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Greenhil View Post
On the gravel roads, where cars come along only ocassionally, I wave. Waving to passing drivers is a common thing here when you’re driving the backroads - so it makes sense to do it when I’m on my bike. A raised forefinger is sufficient. A full-on wave is way over the top and a violation of backroad waving etiquette.
Our roads are mostly paved, but there's not much traffic and the same customs apply. I wave whether in a car or on my bike, but it's a subtle country wave. That stops when you get on the main highway.
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Old 09-08-18, 10:21 AM
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Any driver who shows me a courtesy gets a smile and a wave. An example would be on the two lane back road that I ride, someone coming the other way wants to turn left. They stop and signal.
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Old 09-08-18, 10:39 AM
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BobbyG
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
...these are brief, often emotion laden encounters, and often the cyclist makes a bad impression.
...that also describes my high-school dating experience.

Since I ride leaning forward on road bars, a full, arm-up wave is difficult; plus in traffic, I like to keep my hands by the brakes.

However, when a car at a cross street waits for me to pass, rather than trying to shoot out ahead of me, I will give a short hand-off-the-bar wave with a smile and a nod. For passing cyclists, if they nod, I nod. I've been trying to remember to nod "up" like the current popular style, although a couple of days ago a young cyclist nodded "down" at me as I nodded "up" at him.

I also will ring my bell, or toot my horn (AirZound) which I hope motivates other cyclists to get a bell and a horn, if they ride in traffic.

I don't often instigate a wave to other cyclists. But when I do, I certainly don't "flip the bird" to those who don't wave back or acknowledge me.

I will ring my bell and perform a full arm-up wave when I see small children riding with adult supervision. It gets some very big smiles.
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Old 09-08-18, 10:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
If you train drivers to expect waves, they might then get angry at cyclists who don't wave, and then be more apt to run them off the road.

You are spoiling things for everyone.
LMAO !!!!
Back to the OP: I not only live in "the country", I live in The South, where a certain genteel civility is a long-established part of the culture, so polite acknowledgement of another's existence is common, and almost expected.
So, I often wave, nod, or at least give a flick of a few fingers, especially when an oncoming car is going slow, or I can see the driver looking at me, and often, they're waving at me at the same time.
This is in sharp contrast to other areas of the planet, where I might expect yelled profanity or hurled beer bottles.

Last edited by Brocephus; 09-08-18 at 10:56 AM.
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Old 09-08-18, 11:22 AM
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Jim from Boston
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
… these are brief, often emotion laden encounters, and often the cyclist makes a bad impression.
Originally Posted by BobbyG View Post
...that also describes my high-school dating experience.
Originally Posted by BobbyG View Post
......Since I ride leaning forward on road bars, a full, arm-up wave is difficult; plus in traffic, I like to keep my hands by the brakes…..For passing cyclists, if they nod, I nod. I've been trying to remember to nod "up" like the current popular style, although a couple of days ago a young cyclist nodded "down" at me as I nodded "up" at him.

I also will ring my bell, or toot my horn (AirZound) which I hope motivates other cyclists to get a bell and a horn, if they ride in traffic.

I don't often instigate a wave to other cyclists. But when I do, I certainly don't "flip the bird" to those who don't wave back or acknowledge me.

I will ring my bell and perform a full arm-up wave when I see small children riding with adult supervision. It gets some very big smiles .
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
Personally, I do wave, except where there are loads of cyclists, such as my early morning commute in downtown Boston. I’m not put off by a lack of response either.

I do have a seemingly unique greeting. Besides, or in addition to a wave. I yell a hearty “YO.” It’s an easy syllable to shout, and IMO expresses a crusty cameraderie, yet does not expect a reply. Maybe you could try that.
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
When I see a roadie, I don't wave, but instead I yell "Yo" as a signal of camaraderie. IMO, that doesn't require a response, and you don't appear to be a Fred if unanswered. Probably the other rider is out of breath.

And when you do get a wave back...you've won!
A couple years ago on the Wall Street Journal morning news program on the radio was a feature segment about runners and cyclists greeting each other. The most significant reason to do so, as I recall was that both participants in such an encounter face the same dangers on the roads and MUPs.
I duly note though, the OP wrote:
Originally Posted by scotton View Post
I generally make an effort to wave at oncoming drivers, and on my ride this morning I reflected on why I do this...

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 09-08-18 at 01:45 PM.
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Old 09-08-18, 05:39 PM
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raria
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Depends on the type of wave

I use rhe queens wave

Originally Posted by mtb_addict View Post
Depends on the circumstance, sometimes...it's creepy, like a adult of the same gender...sometimes it's make me think the waver is just a little crazy.
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Old 09-08-18, 09:27 PM
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scotton
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To be clear on a couple of points, it's not a full-on Forrest Gump wave, more of a casual, semi-pope benediction. Just raising the left hand off the hoods 6 inches. In the truck, I can get away with lifting a finger or two off of the steering wheel, but I like to make more effort on the bike since we have proven ourselves to be invisible with our dayglo camouflage and blinking stealth lights.

As far as flipping off other cyclists, it's situational. Where I usually ride, I might see another cyclist every other ride. This isn't a busy metro area or bike path, this is out in the sticks. Every time I see another cyclist, we wave or acknowledge each other, usually simultaneously. However, there is a group of 3 to 5 guys (all wearing matchy-matchy jerseys and shorts) that I see on occasion who are way too serious to acknowledge that we are all doing the same fun and silly activity at the same time. That, or waving back is not aero enough. Either way, they still get a wave from me, but by the time it gets to the last guy there are a few fingers and a thumb missing from the wave. I guess afterwards they can have a good chuckle about the fat guy on the steel cross bike that keeps flipping them off. Maybe in the future I'll stoically stare straight ahead and try to out-cool them. I've never out-cooled anyone in my life, but I think I have a chance with these dudes.
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Old 09-09-18, 11:22 AM
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scotton
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Fun update:
I did a little experiment on my ride this morning. Rather than wave, I lifted my fingers on my left hand. Of the 60 or so vehicles that I gave the finger lift to while on the hoods, zero responded. Of the 20 or so vehicles that I finger twirled while on the tops, every driver waved back except for 2 that were clearly involved with their phones. So while on the hoods I'll be going back to the full off-the-bars wave.

Also, I saw three cyclists wearing matching gear that gave me a friendly wave and hello. It wasn't the usual group of cool kids, but it still made me feel good.
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Old 09-12-18, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by DaveZ View Post
Any driver who shows me a courtesy gets a smile and a wave. An example would be on the two lane back road that I ride, someone coming the other way wants to turn left. They stop and signal.
Same here. Thanks.
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Old 09-12-18, 09:41 AM
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I will admit it, I give a right-handed off-the-bars normal person wave to the Greenway park workers in their jeep/golf cart or blowing machine. It's traditional, I've seen them just about every morning for years and a lot of the regulars do it. Which is likely my fault for starting it up. The poor guys probably have to wave to bikes every minute now. But just their job or not, I very much appreciate them keeping the path cleared every morning, and pulling sticks and branches and who knows what else off.

But other cyclists, joggers, drivers after I leave the path, it seems mostly pointless. Some mornings there's a "good morning" to just about everyone, sometimes not. You really can't read anything into whether a cyclist waves or not.
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Old 09-12-18, 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Harhir View Post
Same here. Thanks.
+1, I like the main dish to include a friendly and cooperative attitude, but with a side of skepticism. I generally hold my hand up in a relaxed position, to ask them to please hold up. If they nod or acknowledge my request, I give them a thumbs up.
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Old 09-12-18, 09:56 PM
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I tried doing The Wave on my bike, but since I was riding alone, it was just a guy pedaling standing up briefly, periodically.

None of the drivers passing by joined in. But I didn't take offense .... I was just a little saddened.

Maybe the semi-pope of Midlothian could say a semi-prayer for their poor, unsociable souls?

By the way .....
Originally Posted by scotton View Post
I like to make more effort on the bike since we have proven ourselves to be invisible with our dayglo camouflage and blinking stealth lights.
That's some Nobel-Prize-for-Literature-level writing there.
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Old 09-12-18, 10:50 PM
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Constantly checking my eyeglass mirror for cars approaching from the rear I more than not give them a wave if they move over before being on top op me when they pass by. I often acknowledge oncoming traffic with a wave or nod when riding on 2 lane roads.
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Old 09-13-18, 10:23 AM
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scotton
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
Maybe the semi-pope of Midlothian could say a semi-prayer for their poor, unsociable souls?
My padre plays dominoes better than their padre.

If you recognize me as a semi-pope, I think my bike shorts may be too snug.
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Old 09-13-18, 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by OldTryGuy View Post
Constantly checking my eyeglass mirror for cars approaching from the rear I more than not give them a wave if they move over before being on top op me when they pass by. I often acknowledge oncoming traffic with a wave or nod when riding on 2 lane roads.
Lets them realize you're not roadkill or some inanimate object. Roadkill doesn't wave back, though there was once a flattened dog I used to see on the way to work whose floppy ear would wave in the breeze as cars buzzed past. Kinda sad actually. That poor dog sat there for weeks.
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Old 09-14-18, 09:21 AM
  #24  
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If I waved at every motorist I encountered I would have carpal tunnel syndrome and rarely have both hands on the bars.
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Old 09-14-18, 10:15 AM
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Now that I have my carry permit, I wave my pistol at passing motorists.
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