Finding allies on the road
It was Hurley’s suggestion. We were on a gravel ride in the Bankhead National Forest in north Alabama, stopped for a minute at the end of one section of gravel and regrouping before a stretch of pavement to the next section. “Let's do the motorcycle wave to any bikers we see,” Hurley said. He also predicted that having decided to do this, we wouldn’t see any.
Cyclists frequently wave to each other when we pass, although I don’t understand why some look right at me and don’t wave back. And motorcycle riders often do a two-fingers down wave when they cross paths. But for whatever reason, it doesn’t seem like there’s a tradition of an inter-species wave. Why not?
We’re both usually out on the road for similar reasons and appreciate the same kinds of roads — flowing curves and beautiful views. And unfortunately we’re both vulnerable to cars and trucks driven by inattentive or angry drivers, although certainly to a different degree. Why shouldn’t we be allies, or at least friendly?
As Hurley predicted, we never saw a motorcycle that day. But last Sunday I decided to give it another try. So I gave a two-fingers down wave to any oncoming motorcycles I saw. And I’d say three out of four waved back.
A few cyclists give drivers reasons to be angry — rolling through red lights, riding several abreast on a busy road —so why shouldn’t we make as many friends as we can? Reminding motorcycle riders that there’s more that unites us than divides us is a good start.
The ride: Strava