Be the first one to wave

While out for a quick morning ride, I noticed a lot of other cyclists trying to get some miles in themselves. But I also noticed something I’ve heard others mention recently — not a lot of them acknowledge other cyclists.

I get a kick out of it when I meet another rider, and we exchange a wave an a smile. In most cases, I’ve never seen the other person before, and probably won’t again. That makes it just that much more pleasant.

Back in my jogging days, I’d always wave and say “hi” to other runners. Just by being out there, pounding the pavement, they had a connection to you.

Biking seems to be that way more often than not, but lately, there are a lot of nots.

Today I wore my cheapest, plainest jersey and shorts. Maybe other riders thought I was too unsophisticated to waste a wave on. But whatever the reason, I got fewer waves today than usual.

And it’s not just the guys done up in the pro kits. Guys in cargo shorts and t-shirts can ignore you just as easily.

Come on, folks. Help build the biking community. When you pass someone headed in the opposite direction, be the first to wave. It’ll make them feel good, and you’ll have done your good deed for the day. If they’re grumpy, or shy, and don’t wave back — so what? Just keep waving.


  1. says

    I agree entirely. I tend to wait for the head angle to imply eye contact then I’m ready with the first and big nod of acknowledgement. It’s worse when you get eye contact *and* no acknowledgement – I can somewhat excuse those cyclists who don’t even glance over, they might be fretting over a spousal argument, or just trying to mentally shift that twig from their front brakes 😉

    Older cyclists tend to be okay, folk from 40 down don’t seem to give a tinker’s cuss. Sign of the times.

  2. says

    I find if I give the three finger wave from my brake hoods, I get it back. I find the head nod only gets me reciprical acknowledgement 50% of the time.
    If I’m in my club gear, I get less responses than if I’m not advertising I race with a club. I agree with DocDelete that the under 40 tend to give less or just the blank stare.

  3. Adrian says

    Maybe if you’re out in the sticks, but in the city I’d be constantly waving. It would also be very weird – waving at people just because they are using the same sort of transportation. Pedestrians and motorists don’t do it.

  4. says

    If you ride at 5 am like I do you don’t even hardly see folks to wave at. Every once in a while I see another cyclist and they usually wave. The runners/joggers are usually friendly too.

  5. says

    I’m under 40, and I try to either wave or give the ‘head nod’. As Adrian mentioned, sometimes there are just too many cyclists to wave at every single one. And if you waved at every jogger on the Ladybird Lake trail, your arm would fall off! Oh yeah — my experience is that those in the 40+ crowd never wave or even smile, and often throw things at other riders. Sign of the times, I guess.

  6. says

    Actually, if you ride a motorcycle this is a very common acknowledgment you would do to other riders. I thought the same would be true for cyclists! Boy have I been wrong! I would say 20% of my small wave/ hand gesture gets a reaction. I feel like I’m sharing the road with snooty cyclists! How about just a smile? Sheesh!

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