If you don't ride a motorcycle, you might have never noticed this. I didn't before I rode a motorcycle, but my sister did.
Motorcyclists acknowledge each other with a downward wave when they pass each other. I saw this numerous times before I became a rider, but I just thought it was a coincidence that every motorcyclist seemed to know each other. Duh.
When I got my first motorcycle almost four years ago, Hubby took me on a few short little rides so I could get used to the bike. Well, that's what I THOUGHT he was doing. He only knows one speed: wide open. And he doesn't know that he's supposed to look in his mirror every now and then to see if I'm still back there. That's why he didn't even know I had dropped my brand-new motorcycle the very first time I tried to ride it out of our subdivision. I had ridden it one quarter of a mile. Broke its little taillight off. A stranger stopped to see if I needed help, but Hubby was long gone. But I digress.
On one of those short rides, we met another motorcyclist, and he acknowledged me with the downward, sort of two-finger wave. I got all emotional and almost had to pull over. I had a Sally Fields moment, thinking "They like me! They really like me!" I was a member of the club.
My step-daughter said she and her then-boyfriend only acknowledged "real" bikes. When she said that, I took it to mean that they only acknowledged other Harleys, and I was a little offended. I also secretly wondered how the heck they could tell what brand a motorcycle was by looking at it from the front going 60 mph. Or in my case, 40 mph. In retrospect, I think what they meant was they didn't acknowledge the so-called "crotch rockets". Or those little scooters that sound like a mosquitoes on steroids, but I'm with them on that. Now that I ride a Harley myself, though, I don't have to have motorcycle envy. Hubby swears he doesn't care for Harleys and he's prouder of his Honda, but I'd like for him to explain then why he went to the trouble and expense to have new pipes put on his almost brand-new Honda last year. What do they do? Make his Honda sound like a Harley. But I digress again.
Sometimes when I'm riding my bicycle, I like to throw down the motorcyclists' gesture just to see what the rider will do. Most of the time they ignore me completely. Occasionally one of them will, probably out of sheer habit, return the gesture, and I can tell that he is thinking, "Damn, that is a BICYCLE. I didn't mean to wave at that broad." Because I'm pretty sure most of them would refer to a woman on a bicycle as a broad.
Occasionally I just make eye contact with a motorcyclist and smile, and sometimes one of them will make an awkward wave-type gesture, not entirely sure of what to do in that situation. Once on BRAG a motorcyclist was stopped at an intersection waiting for about a gazillion bicyclists to go past, and I gestured that I wanted to trade bikes. Either he didn't understand my sign language, or he didn't understand why there were a gazillion bicycles on the road in the first place. He didn't even have the decency to smile, much less laugh uproariously, which is what I thought it deserved.
When I'm on my motorcycle and I see a bicyclist, I feel obligated to let him/her know that I also ride a non-motorized two-wheeler. But most of them glare at me for polluting the environment and not getting my arse out there to pedal myself. When I come up behind two of them hogging the entire lane and making me go into the oncoming lane to get around them, I want to stop and tell them that it's bicyclists like THEM who get the rest of us killed. Or at least have bottles and cigarettes thrown at us. Sometimes I give them the motorcyclist greeting, left hand extended downward, but most of the time they look at me as if to ask, "What in the world are you pointing at?"
When I'm on my bicycle and I see a motorcyclist, I also want him/her to know that I have one of THOSE, I'm just CHOOSING to pedal and get some exercise. I don't want motorcyclists to speed away all smug and all.
When I rode my bicycle on Sunday, I saw several motorcycles on the road at different times. It was the first decent day of the year, so I wasn't surprised. I also saw a robin and a family getting their boat ready to go to the lake, but they may have been rushing things just a bit. One motorcycle that I saw was one of the larger ones, and there was a .... larger .... man riding it. I waved, he nodded, we went on our way. Then I made a turn or two, and there he was again, coming out of a driveway. I don't know if he lived there or if he just decided to take a break. I smiled and rode on. He came out into the road behind me, and he slowed down to match my pace. That means he was just about to fall over. He pointed at my bicycle and said, "That's what I NEED to be doing."
I nodded at his motorcycle and said, "That's what I'm GOING to do, just as soon as I get home." And then, of course, I had to.
I just wanted him to know that I had a choice. Just in case he happened to be one of the motorcycle snobs.