Cyclists wave to each other. That’s what we do. Doesn’t matter if we know each other or not. It’s usually not. But if you see another cyclist coming towards you on the road, you take your left hand off the bar and open it in a friendly gesture. Perhaps this little civility is why when we race, we call each other “brother.”
When this rhythm is disrupted, it’s sort of like when a Westy driver doesn’t give his compatriot the peace sign, or a Yotavan driver doesn’t give his fellow the bird. Certainly not high treason, but it reflects poorly on whomever failed to participate.
Sometimes, though, you see it coming. Like on Saturday, when I was casually pedaling through Alpine on my way back home. Two cyclists were riding towards me with the look, if not the pace, of riders on a Very Important training ride.
As I approached, I opened my left hand to bid them hello and happy riding. But instead of waving back or outright ignoring me, the lead cyclist looked at me long enough to see if I was friend or foe, evidently determined foe, then turned his gaze back to the white line and kept riding.
Now there are situations when it’s OK not to wave back, such as 50 mph descents, negotiating tight switchbacks, or alley-catting through traffic. But rolling at 19 mph on the quietest road in the most bike-friendly town in the state is not one of them.
And yet, the failure to wave was exactly what I expected. Looking at me first inquisitively and then disdainfully was somewhat surprising, but I knew the guy wasn’t going to wave. The sleeveless jersey was the giveaway. Obviously one of that mongrel breed of loners who call themselves “triathaletes.”