Episode 48:  The Biker Wave - You've Got a Friend

Episode 48: The Biker Wave - You’ve Got a Friend

There are lots of things to love about motorcycling.   Speed, adventure, appreciating the engineering that went into the design of your bike and our community of riders is just one of them.  A community who, although total strangers, show you that they care by giving you that simple gesture.  

The motorcycle wave with the left hand, or sometimes called the biker wave.  It comes in several forms ya know, but to me it means just one thing.  It means that you care.  And that is what the Peace Love Moto podcast is all about.  It’s about spreading the good news that riders do care for that total stranger who’s also out on two wheels.  You may be out on a solo ride, in the middle of nowhere, but just about guaranteed, if another motorcycle rider is coming your way, you’ll see a wave.   And once you see that wave, and you respond back, then 

PLAY You’ve got a friend by Carole King.

And I believe it to be true.  With that simple wave, you’ve got a friend who you just haven’t met yet.  And that, my friends, is just pretty awesome.  Let’s talk about it.  Thank you for joining me today! 


What’s the deal with our left hand?  Everytime another rider comes by, our left hand has to get busy.  Doesn’t matter if you’re about to pull in the clutch to change gears, you’d better get that left hand free for “the wave”.  You’ve got to be careful of course on corners and such, but if you don’t respond to the approaching riders wave, well, they are going to think you’re either a beginner rider who doesn’t know what you’re doing, or just an BLEEP!  Ha ha

For those who don’t know, the biker wave is a greeting between motorcyclists that can have multiple meanings.  Maybe to simply express solidarity. We’re are out here together.  Unlike the folks in cars, we are sharing the elements.  The nice weather, or the wind, or the rain, or the heat or the cold.  Yep, we feel it and so does the other rider.  

The biker wave serves as a silent reminder that they are not alone and that there is a community of riders who understand and support one another. It's a way of saying, "We're in this together, and we've got each other's backs."  You may already know also, that if we see another rider on the side of the road, most of us will stop to make sure everything is OK, or if the other rider is looking at us, we give them a “thumbs up” and which means “are you OK”.  Usually, they will give a “thumbs up” back, but they may also signal to you that they do need help.  So what do we do?  Of course, we stop to help.  That’s what motorcycle riders do.

The biker wave can also be used as a peace sign. That’s usually my go to sign.  In some riding circles, a raised palm with the fingers spread out is a gesture of peace and goodwill.  Motorcyclists often use this gesture with their left hand, typically done under the handlebars, as a way to communicate their peaceful intentions. It's a way of saying, "Let's ride together in harmony and respect."  

I’ve got to tell you, in my many many years of riding, I have never once seen the middle finger from another rider.  Even if I’ve accidentally gotten too close to another rider or whatever, I’ve never seen a hateful gesture.  Never.

Motorcycling and expressions of care for each other breaks down barriers.  Race, religion, sexual expression, none of that matters to me when I see another rider.  The wave is this nonverbal form of communication that really transcends even language barriers and cultural differences. The biker wave is a symbol of unity, community, and a common love of the open road.

An interesting article on a website called “PsychVarsity”.  The article is called “The Psychology of Motorcycle Riders: Exploring the Mindset and Behaviors“.  Or my interpretation, why are we motorcycle riders a little bit crazy?  Ha ha.

Part of the article reads “The psychology of motorcycle riders encompasses a range of factors that influence their experiences and choices. For many riders, the thrill of speed, the sense of freedom, and the adrenaline rush form a significant part of the appeal. Riding a motorcycle demands a heightened level of attention, focus, and skill, (here’s the part I completely relate to) creating a state of flow that provides a unique and immersive experience.”  

So what does this have to do with this biker wave?  Listen to this part.  “Furthermore, the sense of belonging and camaraderie among motorcycle riders plays a crucial role. The motorcycle community fosters a strong social bond, offering a supportive network of like-minded individuals who share a common passion. Whether it's through group rides, rallies, or online forums, riders connect with others who understand and appreciate their love for motorcycles.”


I’ll kinda wrap up with this.  A couple of weeks ago, I was riding on an open road and approaching an intersection that was maybe a quarter mile away.  Another motorcycle was coming my way and the rider turned right at that intersection, so we were not going to pass each other.  But that rider raised his left hand, high in the air and waved it back and forth.  He or she did that just for me.  Wow, that meant a lot.  This biker wave thing may not be a hug, but to me sometimes, it’s pretty darn close.  It means, somewhere out there, we’ve got a friend.  Yes, Carole King said it very well, didn’t she.  You do have a friend when we’re out on the road.  And for that, we can be very grateful.  As always, thank you for listening.  I wish you peace.  I wish you love.

Music by:

Brett Wilson:  Mountain Zen Den

Carole King:  You’ve got a friend

Sergii Pavkin from Pixabay

Geoff Harvey from Pixabay