"The Wave"

Between Arizona Bike Week and the Day Ride features for the site, I have had the opportunity to do a fair amount of riding over the last couple of months. And as you know from previous articles I am usually in some sort of deep profound thought about my surroundings. Lately I have been trying to figure out the structure of waving at other riders. And I have found that there seems to be a lack consistency in this activity. This whole idea came to mind when I saw a painting called Highway Handshake by Dawn Holmes from Prescott Valley. It was a really neat picture of two motorcycles waving while passing on Hwy 89A  Click Here to see this painting so you will have a picture of what I am about to say.

"The Types Of Wavers"

It seems as though we now have at least 5 different types of wavers:
The First Waver:
This is a guy who enjoys being a waver and waves at everybody. He starts waving at least 3/4 of a mile away to make sure that you will see that he waved and is expecting the return wave.
The Timely Waver: The guy who waves at just the right time to be cool, but allows enough time to get a return wave with no effort on your part.
The Late Waver: The guy who is actually waiting for you to wave first, but since you didn't, the guilt of being a non-waver is too much to bear so he waves at the last possible moment. If you try to give the return wave you are forced to look like a retard trying to get it done.
The Return Wave Only Waver: This guy is really not a fan of the wave but will give the courtesy return wave. He will rarely be a First Waver and is much closer to a Non-Waver than a Waver.
The Non-Waver: This guy wouldn't wave to Pamela Anderson even if she was riding topless on the back of a Fat Boy.

I'm sure you've experienced every one of these wavers somewhere along the line and maybe even fit into one of these categories, you know who you are. It is sometimes unsettling trying to figure out where you are going to fit in with the oncoming rider. If you are a First Waver and throw out that big howdy-dooty to a Non-Waver, you've got a big mottsa ball hanging out there. You feel somewhat offended and spend the next couple of miles trying to figure out why you were snubbed. (If you are a Metric Cruiser rider you usually go right to the motorcycle race card to answer that one.) A few of these instances can actually make you become a Return Only Waver. And if you are a First Waver, where do you draw the line as to who to wave to? Do you wave at cruisers only? Do you include the sport bike riders? They are usually Non Wavers anyway. Will a Vespa rider get a wave? Or does it just have to be a V-Twin, 600cc or above? There are too many variables and way to much to compute while doing 50 mph toward an oncoming 2-wheeler.

"The Types Of Waves"

There are also 6 different types of waves:
The Crossing Guard Wave:
This is the open palmed, arm bent at the elbow, fingers pointed straight up wave much like you saw in the Dawn Holmes picture above. This wave can also be mistaken as a right turn signal by the traffic behind them. 
The Stop Traffic Wave: This is the arm straight out to your side, open palm facing forward like you used to do out of the back window of your Dad's 57 Ford Fairlane. This wave can also be confused as the slow down sign for trouble ahead.
The 1 or 2 Finger Wave: One of the most popular waves. This is the arm fully extended down to your side at a 45% angle with 1 or 2 fingers pointing to the ground. A perfect example of this wave is in the picture linked above. Although, this is really not a good wave to a guy riding a Harley. He probably thinks you are telling him some parts just fell off. 
The 4 Finger Wave: This is done by leaving your left hand on the handlebar but unwrapping four fingers and pointing them straight out. You will usually see this from the Return Wave Only rider. Comes back to that lack of motivation with the whole waving process.
The Prom Queen Wave: This is with the left arm fully elevated and hand moving side to side like you actually know the person you are waving at. This is a rare wave but can usually be seen coming from the passenger on a Gold Wing.
The Nod: This is a relatively new response in lieu of a bona fide wave. This is usually executed by the rider that is not sure where he fits in. Not quite a First Waver but not really a Non Waver. He is looking for his own identity in the waving community.

"The Protocols"

What do you do when there is a group of say...5 oncoming riders? Will one long wave take care of the whole group? Or does it require 5 individual waves?
And what about poker run waving? We have to put a moratorium on the return route poker run wave. I feel like I need to put a little rubber hand on my handlebars that pops out when I push a button to take care of these days. And lastly, what about the going the same direction wave? Does this require a wave or a nod? And if you are passing on the left side do you wave with the right hand or come across the body with the left, which could also be mistaken as a Prom Queen Wave? These are all questions that Enquiring minds need to ask.

"The Conclusion"

I've asked a lot of questions, so I decided to do my own scientific test to see just how the statistics would give us an idea of where we are. I know in different situations you would get a different result.  But here it is. I did the loop of Cave Creek Rd. and Scottsdale Rd. on three Sunday afternoons and was a Non Waver. I found that there are consistently only 20-30% First Wavers out there. Which says that there are 70% Non Wavers. I did the same as a First Waver and found that there are 70% Return Wavers. What does all of this mean? Not a dog gone thing. It just means that you have had another look at some of the profound things that go on in my mind while riding. But the next time you are waving, I'll bet you'll be trying to figure what category the other guy is in. The good news is, it won't take you long to find out. Happy Waving.

Barry Caraway
"The Road Is Yours - Take The Ride"

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