I feel obliged to inform the caged commuters (that would be anybody enclosed in a metal box and strapped, by law, in an upright position--unless you are riding on 21' rims, then you are allowed to recline while driving) concerning rules of the road for the enlightened ones who are able to move about freely. This post will not attempt to recruit bikers by explaining the sense of freedom and the heightened senses but rather attempt to educate caged riders about what is happening around them. The one point of biker etiquette to be covered today is the "biker greeting". No doubt, you have witnessed this. If you are following a motorcycle at a safe distance (you are in the minority--we can stop very quickly--you can't) you will notice that as another bike approaches from the opposite direction that usually each rider will lower his left hand as if he is pointing just to the left of his foot. First of all, relax. This is not an indication of gang affiliation. Rather it is an indication of international brotherhood. It is a way of saying "Hey, brother, way to go! I, like you, decided to brave riding the roads with the brain dead caged, strapped, telecommuters (it seems everybody in a car is talking on a cell phone). Good to see you survived another day. Hang in there. Watch those insectiles." It is similar to calling Rush Limbaugh and saying "mega-dittos" to save saying what everybody else has said many times. Of course, some may be having a slightly different conversation in their heads but you get the idea. Here is what you probably don't notice. There is discrimination among bikers. I am not making this up. It is not as bad as among church folks, but close. You see, there are many types of motorcycles and therefore great variety in riders. Geico insurance demonstrates much wisdom in acknowledging this disparity in their advertisements. Condensed version; bikers can be wildly different but still have one thing in common--great insurance coverage from Geico. Watch for their ads, you will see it. With respect to the many variations, allow me to broadly categorize bikers into two general groups (not including off-roaders since they, well, are not on the road). The two broad groups are; 1) cruisers and 2) sport bikes. Purists will want to diferentiate further (Japanese vs. American, etc.) and there is a place for that. But for now either you are on a bike built for cruising around town and touring several hundred miles or you are on a bike built for screaming between traffic lights and ripping from lane to lane on the open road while laying head first and feet back as if you are poised for the beginning of the 200 meter breast-stroke. Some folks like both types and can communicate with either crowd without making enemies but most riders see it as "us and them". Because of that, you don't see many sport bike riders giving the standard biker salute and most cruisers don't bother waving to sport bike riders. You think I am kidding? Start watching. Rarely will two cruiser/tourer riders meet that they don't give the cool left-hand-down wave but the same warm greeting is not often extended to sport bike riders.
Here is my observation; we are all prejudiced in some ways. We tend to like, admire, and want to be around people who are like us because we expect they are most apt to like, admire, and want to be around us. It is sad to see that human quality in many settings. It is funny to see it riding the roads on two wheels. People are funny animals when you stop to think about it. Even the caged ones.