Recently, Marty Jemison, great guy and fine ex-pro, posted on Facebook that he is surprised by how many cyclists do not wave -- even when waved at.
First I was outraged that any dork on a bike would fail to wave at what amounts to cycling royalty. But as I thought about it I decided that many people are simply unaware that cyclists have traditionally exchanged greetings...or salutes -- that we acknowledge one another.
We bike riders like cyclists. We respect a cyclist who's out there on his/her bike for whatever reason, but we especially like and respect sporting cyclists, racers, ex-racers or never-racers, out there for fitness and training and the simple love of rolling on two wheels. We've always ridden. We intend always to ride.
We figure that if we see a rider wearing Lycra on a pro-style bike, that person is a bikie like us. We wave and feel a moment of dismay when he or she doesn't wave back.
We forget that thousands of folks who couldn't tell you what GC means or have never heard of an echelon ride bikes like ours and wear outfits like ours. They've never watched a Tour stage. The only racing cyclist they can name is Lance. They ride bikes but they are not bike riders.
They don't know how things have always been among bike riders. Probably they don't want to know. They ride for weight loss or cheap victories on the bike path or because cycling is somehow cool and all their friends have Strava too.
They feel no comradeship for cyclists beyond their circle of friends. They and we have nothing in common, despite the similarity of our appearances. Is it any wonder that they do not wave? Many will not make the slightest gesture, say the merest triviality, spend the first dollar....without knowing that what they are saying or doing or buying is cool -- accepted among their peers as cool.
Evidently: Scowling is cool. Acting too cool for school is cool. Authenticity that can be purchased is cool.
Waving at us? Uh-uh. Even if we're Marty Jemison....