I started to notice something when I was out on my longer solo ride yesterday, just how many people don't wave back. As my friends know I'm a friendly rider who waves at other motorcyclists regardless of brand, equipment, profile, etc. We're all on two wheels and it's just a little nod to the brotherhood. I started to pay attention after the first hour or so and made a little mental list of who waves back and who doesn't...was interesting. These lists are not meant to be definitive, simply my observations from the last 30ish years.
Who waves back?
1. MC's. Yes, MC's with rockers and all. In fact, I can't recall not getting a wave or nod back from at least one (if they're riding in a group).
2. Other grey haired folks on sport bikes and sport touring bikes, pretty much without fail.
3. Other solo sport bike riders.
4. Folks with a whole heck of a lot of stuff strapped onto their bikes with bungees and tape. Always.
Who doesn't wave back?
1. Harley posers in small packs. they must be too cool or simply can't bring themselves to acknowledge a non Harley. **These same douches would always wave back when I was riding my cruiser.
2. BWM riders on very clean, new model, "big" BMWs and especially if they are with one or two others similarly equipped. Typically the person will be fully decked out in the full Motorrad catalog with blinged out rides (usually GS) that likely never see rain. Other BMW guys just fall in with the rest (sport bike guys and sport touring guys who do wave). If it's an older GS or K, especially if it also meets num4 above, they ALWAYS wave back.
3. A large number of riders who must be too nervous/afraid to take their hand off the bars or eyes from the death stare forward. You can see the fear in their bodies from across the highway. Get educated. Go riding with veterans. RELAX, trust us, it's supposed to be fun.
=note= I think 1 and 2 in this section are related and maybe 2 and 3.
At this point I think I can make some general observations:
- Road dirty (not gross, just "used") bikes wave back. They also stop to help you if you need it.
- The older the bike the friendlier the rider. It might be from having to talk to a lot of strangers over time because the bike breaks down, but whatever these are a friendly bunch.
- Odds are really good that the person in the Vanson with a nice patina is going to wave, and you probably won't be able to keep up with them when the roads starts twisting. The guy in the brand new Harley vest, over the Harley jacket, Harley shirt, Harley glasses and Harley underwear, who looks like they are very afraid of having to turn around in the parking lot, is not.
- The guy with the big grey beard, skin tanned like leather, more patches than denim on his ragged vest, is going to know a shitload more about bikes; even though he's on a big ole' Harley and your not. When he says "Maybe check the connection under the fuse block first", just do it. You never know, his other bike might just be a class winning CBR-RR.
Above all folks, wave back. Like I said, it's supposed to be fun! If you break down on the side of the road I *will* stop and help you, I'm hoping you would do the same.