I have done a lot of reading lately about this business of “the greeting” that we motorcyclist give each other as we are pass on the road. I have read about the variations, regional differences and supposed snobberies. And as one final bit of research I even asked a fellow biker who was filling up his big Harley Classic at the gas station, “What are your thoughts on ‘the greeting?’” His answer? He just doesn’t bother! Only if he recognizes the rider coming his way will be bother to greet him. Now I am assuming that all my readers know what I am referring to in writing about this but I will spell it out for the sake of this article. With variations, it is just the act of extending the left hand down and out at about 45 degrees as you pass another biker coming your way. One of the things I found in my reading was that there is a supposed “snobbery” of Harley riders who only greet fellow Harley riders and not pay attention to other bikers. I don’t know if that is true or not and I am not here to make a blanket indictment of all Harley riders. I’ve met some really nice ones. The attitude of my gas station acquaintance was not snobbery; he just doesn’t bother with any of it.
Well maybe its just that I am new to this (only my third season) but right from the moment I pulled out onto a public road for my very first time as motorcyclist I looked forward to both receiving and giving the greeting. For me it was the reward for having gone through the effort. Buying my bike, fixing it up, studying the rider’s manual, learning to ride, going to motorcycle school, passing the tests and getting my license, it was all an effort to accomplish something I really cared about. And from the very first time another biker and I passed in greeting, that was part of my reward. With all that effort I had reached a personal goal but it was a goal that gained me entrance into a community of men and women who love to ride and love the freedom of the road. And it is an exclusive community because the vast majority of people don’t ride. Many even look at us with a wary eye or as a noisy nuisance on the road. But when I pass a fellow biker…well lets just put it this way, even my gas station Harley Classic acquaintance understood it. He said, “I suppose it’s about a sense of comradery.” Dead on!!! Definition – “A spirit of friendship and community. Good will and fellowship that exists between friends of a common interest.” And to me that is exactly what it is all about and should be about. Call me idealistic but I enjoy that greeting on the road because I believe it is an expression of comradery with my fellow bikers.
On the last ride I did before writing this article I passed 4 motorcyclists riding together on Route 4. All four of them greeted me as I greeted them. I love it! No snobbery just a great sense of comradery between guys who love to be out riding their bikes on a summer’s evening. That’s the way it ought to be. Good Riding! Keep the rubber side down and the shiny side up! Anchor