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Better Biking is our new bike column by BicycleSPACE Marketing Manager Tony Pelton

Not to sound like a West Coast fanboy but the Pacific side of the country has us beat when it comes to bicycle etiquette. Why doesn’t anyone wave here? On the West Coast you get a wave from just about everyone on a bicycle, and it makes you feel just peachy. However, waving to fellow riders on the East Coast is a different animal. Riders don’t wave here and I don’t understand why, which makes me angry.

DC’s lack of waving has got to be one of my biggest pet peeves. Sure the hodgepodge of bike lanes need to be unified. Yes, taxis are constantly making middle-of-the-block u-turns attempting to kill us. Definitely, agreed, the streets need work, but how the hell can we work on all that if riders can’t manage to wave to one another? Whenever I wave at a fellow rider in DC all I get is the stink eye as if I just gave them the bird and mouthed, “F You.” What’s the deal, DC, Too cool to wave?


Perfect example, just last week I was riding to my favorite cyclocross trail located in Verdant (there is a lot of pot smoked on the Fort Dupont trail system) Anacostia. My riding buddy and I stopped at a bulletproof-glass-all-over store to pick up a plastic flask of climbing juice (Jim Beam) and had an extremely pleasant interaction with the store clerk, all the while dressed in our goofy-ass lycra. After leaving we rode by some other lycra clad riders returning from Anacostia. As we passed my hand shot up and I gave them an enthusiastic—I may have had a beer at The Passenger before our ride—wave. What did I get in return? Niet! And those were fellow Spandex Warriors! All the folks in the hole-in-the-wall liquor store were much friendlier.

And don’t me started on the commuters. What excuse do they have? Everyone’s out there risking life and limb to commute and they can’t even muster a wave? How can you not wave back to someone waving at you on the same form of transportation! Preposterous. So in short, START WAVING, DAMNIT! There are no reasons not to, and at least four reasons to wave.

  1. Waving feels awesome for everyone involved.
  2. Waving makes you feel like you’re in an elite club of bicycling persons.
  3. Waving lets others know you’re capable of emotion (you are aren’t you?).
  4. Waving acknowledges the struggle is real.