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Five Ways to do the Motorcycle Wave

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 Ways to do the Motorcycle Wave

When two bikers pass each other on the road, you are sure to see them give each other “the wave”. It comes in many forms some of which have been a tradition since the motorcycle boom of the early 1900's. Unfortunately, the wave isn't typically covered in the motorcycle safety courses required to get your license. As a result, many new riders pick up on this custom by mimicking the wave of seasoned riders they come across. In order to help the those who are new to riding, the five most basic motorcycle waves are covered here.

Low Left-Hand

Sometimes dubbed “The Harley Wave” this one is a popular choice among cruiser and chopper riders. It's a dignified greeting as old as the wave itself that is marked by it's low-angled position. To do it, the arm must extend fully and aim down towards the street almost as if the rider is pointing to the road he travels.

You'll notice a specific hand direction in this wave. The palm of your hand must either face the rider being waved to or face the downwards toward the road. Furthermore, it's customary to flash a thumbs up or peace sign while your arm is in the low position. It may sound like these difference are overly subtle to even be noticeable, but the trained eye will know the difference between this classic bikers wave and a choppy attempt that disregards the details.

Straight Left Hand

This wave is used by all kinds of riders, from street bike speedsters to cruiser riders. Its a fairly simple one too: The left arm is extended out, raised only slightly above the shoulder and just like the low wave, throwing up the peace sign is good form. Who said bikers were anything but peace loving and harmonious?

Left Hand High

This variation isn't much of a biker specific wave at all, consider how you would wave to any old person in regular society and viola. The only thing to avoid is to literally wave your hand back and forth as this would look quite silly. Instead, present your relaxed open palmed wave to the oncoming rider and they will know you are doing the left hand high wave.

One end-note, it's frowned upon to use this wave if you are a cruiser rider and are using proper riding gear on. It will appear that you are not following the customs of bikers as all cruiser riders know the waves specific to them.

Right-Hand Wave

Those who wave with their right hands know who they are. Its the dad-bike riding, cruise control using, luxury over style wave. If you can't do this wave because you're busy doing that thing called making sure you have full control of your throttle, don't worry, the Ultra Classic and Goldwing riders who use this wave knew they were sacrificing cred when they bought their dooomed-to-be-uncool touring bikes. So long right hand wavers!

Left Hand Forward

Different bikes have different postures meaning different riders have different waves. The hunched over crotch rocket riders have a wave exclusive to them. It's a tricky wave due to the unique sitting position of these riders.

To pull it off, raise your left hand slightly above the grip, no more than a few inches, let your palm make a statement to the other rider, and return your hand to the grip. The key is to do this all in a continuous motion. In order to not look like a fish to pink-slip racers, you may want to practice and perfect this one before hitting the streets.


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