Sunday, 21 July 2013

On waving (not drowning)

One of the first important lessons I learned as a born again biker concerned The Etiquette of The Wave. 

At first, I was so thrilled to see another cyclist heading towards me that I would wave, vigorously, assuming that they too would be thinking: "Oh look, how marvellous, someone just like me!"

They weren't. Instead, they were clearly thinking that this was another Lycra newbie ready to be road kill. At best, I received a grunt and scarcely perceptible nod of the head in response. 

The golden rules of roadie waving are as follows:

1. The better cyclist waves first. This status will have been mutually established long before handlebars are within twitching distance. 

2. A sport cyclist will not acknowledge a rider in overalls, bucket and brushes strapped to the crossbar. Neither will he or she wave at a parent grimly toiling uphill with a trailer full of toddlers attached to the frame. 

3. When passing another cyclist who is on the ascent of a hill as you speed freely in the opposite direction, waving is inappropriate and possibly triumphalist. The correct greeting here is a sympathetic lifting of the offside eyebrow. 

4. Further to (3), taking your feet out of the pedals and hollering "Weeeeeee!" marks you out as a rank amateur. 

5. Mountain bikes do not count as real cycles. 

6. The rider in front, gesturing at something on the left has not found a cake shop. They are failing to draw your attention to the pothole which is about to cause your puncture. 

7. All rules are waived in heavy rain or hail. At these times all two-wheeled travellers are united in superiority over the softy motorist and everyone waves, soggily. 

If you see a short, stocky, happy looking cyclist on your travels, give me a wave. 

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