Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Where's the love?

I was stunned today because 2 out of 3 cyclists I passed waved back at me.  Usually no one waves. There's a story behind the one who did not, today.  I refer to him as Mr. LHT because that's what he rides.  Nice bike, nice kit, always commuting, clearly knows his way around a bike.  So why will he not wave back to me?  It's gone from being a bit of a game and is now just starting to irk me.
It's not like this is Toronto or another really big city where the bike lanes are jammed and one needs to focus or be killed. No.
I suggest that there are four regular commuters on my route, myself and Mr. LHT included.  For two years I have been waving to him and what have I ever gotten back? Nada.
Isn't there supposed to be some kind of code? Some kind of brotherhood and kinship? 

Photo courtesy of George Marks.  I presume its copyrighted too.
Today I thought I'd pull over and take a random shot for the BLOG of someone heading the other way.  I could see that it was going to be Mr. LHT so instead, I thought, I am going to give this another try.  No traffic to speak of, so clearly he will see me.  I sat upright, looked him in the eye from across the road and waved with my hand above my head.  NO mistaking that gesture.  He had to have seen me that time but there was no reciprocation; no nod, no wave, nothing verbal, no lifting of the fingers from the brake hood, as I say, nothing.
Although I have taken on Mr. LHT as a personal challenge I would hasten to add that this kind of non-reaction is typical, in my experience.  Alas.


  1. Sadly, my experience, here in Denver, is very similar. I am more surprised when I receive a return wave than when I don't

  2. I do not happen upon many bicyclists, but usually get a positive response. Since traffic is generally light, I've taken to waving at the motor vehicles. I don't keep score, but most folks wave back, even the tough guys in giant pickup trucks. I'm more concerned about letting them know I'M friendly than what their response is. It's been a fairly successful (but not perfect) campaign so far.

  3. @Pondero - good idea. I do tend to wave at motorists who are clearly aware and making way for me. For example, some people have their nose out in an intersection and will back up knowing that they are crowding me out into traffic. Another example might be folks waiting to turn left in front of my path instead of rushing out in front of me because I am not a car. Both types I will wave to as a gesture of appreciation. However, perhaps I will consider some more random waving and see what the effects of that are.

  4. Another addendum to the post...perhaps I too am a snob. I realized on my way in to work that I had ample opportunity to wave to or otherwise acknowledge people on bicycles. However they were on 'beaters', usually teenagers, and riding on sidewalks going in the opposite direction of traffic. I wouldn't expect them to acknowledge me anyhow because I probably just seem like a "weird old guy." But still, perhaps I am the one with the proverbial log-in-my-own-eye here.

  5. I just read your post (better late than never, right?). I live in rural S.W. Missouri where I am usually the only one out on a bike when I ride to my office or out just rambling. I occasionally will see one other person who appears to be riding for recreation. One morning, last spring, I had just left my house riding to the office. To my utmost surprise, I met coming my way a fully loaded touring cyclist (on a Bianchi Volpe as I recall). I was so taken back, all I could muster at that moment was a hardy "GOOD MORNING" to which he answered in kind. After we passed, I turned my head to look back at him and I believe he had done the same towards me. I think he may have been just as surprised to see me. I still kick myself for not stopping to visit with him and ask about his tour. Serendipity.