It suddenly ocurred to be last Sunday on a ride that an amazing array of riders now initiate the wave or wave back. I wave as long as I am not otherwise occupied controlling the bike, but I have had plenty of unreturned waves in a few decades of riding. Time was, only beemers waved to beemers, harleys to harleys, etc.

In the last year or so, I have seen a harley wave to a sportbike, a goldwing wave to a classic, and a chopper wave to me on the GS !! What is the deal ?? Are we witnessing the breakdown of a civil society ? Is it global warming ?

No. It is the potent combination of TV and affluence. Let me splain. TV has converted the motorcycle rider from outlaw to a sort of wall street marlborough man. He has expensive toys, is not risk-averse, and rides to the more spartan bed&breakfast on the weekends. Chicks dig it. Relative affluence means that many of these guys (and of course girls) and the wannabees they spawn, probably own a set of Ping golf clubs, a classic car, and a motorcycle or two. Those with more than one bike (or who have moved from one bike to the next) are likely to have an archetype of more than one breed, and have little brand loyalty, so perhaps a Harley dresser and a Hayabusa, or an Orange County Chopper and a Ducati 1098, or a KTM Adventure and a Vespa, or a Goldwing and an R27.

They wave because they may have one of your bike at home, or they may be about to buy one. So be careful about those stereotypes, because the banker or lawyer on the Harley may have a K1300S as his/her other bike, and the wave may just be a genuine appreciation of what you are riding….

So where does that leave those of us who consider ourselves keepers of the flame ? Right where we have always been. There has always been an element which moves in and out of the fringes of our passion. Many move on to the next thing, but a few join the clan and help to keep the wick oiled. Wave back, you never know…

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