One of Dave's recent posts deals with a pet peeve of mine: the fading courtesy of the "wave".
It first got under my skin when I first moved to Nashville in 2000. I was living on the west side of town and trying to ride myself back into shape after my college years - when I just didn't make much time to ride. I found myself climbing up and over Knob hill and over to Belle Meade Boulevard then doing a loop through Percy Warner Park. Some days I'd do it on my road bike, others on my mountain bike. I was the same rider from day to day, but while on my road bike I'd get a few waves from oncoming cyclists. While on my mountain bike, it's as if I wasn't there - both oncoming riders and those passing me going the same direction (I did say I was out of shape and on a mountain bike after all...) just wouldn't give me the time of day. Maybe since I grew up in "Small Town America" I had grown accustomed to this friendly acknowledgement from kindred sorts - whatever our affiliation. It just irritated me. I decided then that I would not be one of those people and that I'd wave at everyone. Everyone. Every time.
Small gesture, I know. But here's the deal: we're all out there battling belligerent drivers, struggling up the hills, hot, sweaty, thirsty. We're in this together. It doesn't matter what size your tires are or if their knobby or smooth. It doesn't matter if your bars drop, are flat, or have aero extensions. Carbon, Aluminum, Ti, Steel. Spandex or Cotton. Whoever you are and whoever they are - you're not too cool, too fast, too good, or training too hard to at least lift your palm and at least say "hi".
How can we expect motorists to respect and get along with us if we can't show some respect to each other? And don't even get me started on the "racers" (intentional use of quotes) who won't at least slow down for a rider on the side of the road and see if they're alright. The day you flat or break your chain and are SOL because you don't have what you need - watch other riders return the favors you visited. Kharma is funny that way.
And I want to take the next step that Dave took in his post - wave at the motorists too! I can't speak too highly of myself; because this is something that just started clicking with me recently. But as much as I believe that motorists behavior toward cyclists is the direct result of the other cyclists they have encountered - this was all too logical to me. The more I can make myself a predictable, pleasant, polite cyclist to drive with; the better it will be for my comrades on the road after me. So, when a driver waits for me to pass before pulling out from a side street - I wave. When they patiently and politely wait behind me on that curvy climb or descent and then pass when it is safe - I wave. Any time they generally show me a level of respect as a user of the road - I wave. I don't know that they always see it; but it can't hurt.
Think about it.