The #waveback

Being a professional cyclist can be a lonely job.  Every week I spend hours and hours alone on the bike riding hard, not riding hard, wishing I had more friends to ride with, and listening to audibooks.  It’s because of all this alone time that I’m a huge fan of the cyclist wave or the #waveback.

The #waveback is an effortless and nice way to show a little solidarity with other cyclists and to lighten your mood I’ve left for rides in a foul mood and have finished feeling great just from the waves, smiles, and “hellos” I’ve gotten from other riders.

Doing the wave back is super easy and I’ve written a simple step by step process on how to do the #waveback

Step 1: Ride Bike

you should already know how to do this

you should already know how to do this

This is the easy part of the equation.  Just get on your bike and ride it.  Note however that if you’re riding inside, this post does not apply to you.

Step 2: Wave at Other Cyclists

just like this

just like this

Maybe even throw in a smile and a “hi!” or “hello!” Please note however that you should probably wear your bibs under your jersey lest you look like a total f**king fred.

Before you ask, no this is not limited to other racers, or to folks in lycra, or to grownups, or to people who look “pro.”  I’m an equal opportunity waver and you should be too.  I will wave at every man, woman, and child on every Kmart bike.*

It seems like some folks on fancy bikes have a little bit of a hard time grasping this so I’ve made a simple flow chart.

print this out and tape it to your stem

print this out and tape it to your stem

Waving Hall of Fame

I want to recognize some superior wavers who I have come across in my day.

1. Ian Crane who once enthusiastically waved at me while simultaneously avoiding being hit by a distracted driver who pulled out right in front of him.

2. Rhae Shaw who will always wave and yell “hi!!!!!” and 90% of the time will flip and ride with me for a bit. Rhae has more than once flipped and ridden 20+ k back to my home with me.

3. Literally every little kid on a bike ever.  I kids love to wave and say hi and share a big “I love riding my bike” grin.

4. Pretty much every local Seattle area pro rider including Carson Miller, Steve Fisher, Tyler Farrar, and Zach McDonald all of whom always give a friendly wave and a smile.***

5. Without fail every mountain biker I meet up with on every trail.

Waving Hall of Shame

With the good of course comes the bad.  On any given day I’m maybe 1 for 10 on the #waveback.  There are however those who are the worst of the worst.

1. Literally every dude in a blank Capo kit on his $30,000 whatever road bike who is way too busy stemgazing and way too cool for school to be bothered to wave back.****

2. A large unnamed local masters team who I swear not one member of the team has ever waved back, smiled back, or even acknowledged the crazy lady enthusiastically waving, smiling, and yelling “HI!!!!!!!!!!!!!” at them.

I want to start a movement and I know I’m not the only one. I would challenge each and every one of my fans, readers, and followers to make it a goal on your next ride to acknowledge every cyclist you see and try to make the roads a friendlier place.

* I will not however wave at someone on one of these things because just no.
** not a bike
*** #wavingispro
**** They’re probably also too busy scoffing at my habitually mismatched kit to be able to wave back, but don’t forget mismatched kit is also pro.

About Jess Cutler

35 year old pro road and cyclocross racer. National Champion. Generally nice person.
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3 Responses to The #waveback

  1. Kate says:

    I love this! One of my favorite games is waving at everyone I pass — especially cars (“see me! I’m a person too! And nice and friendly, so please watch out for me!”) — and seeing who waves back.

  2. redboy1 says:

    You speak so much truth in this post. Non wavers are the worst. I sometimes use the power fist for fellow cyclists when it is raining or nasty cold. It’s a good variation of the wave to confirm our bad assness. Keep on waving!

  3. redboy1 says:

    Non wavers are the worst. I sometimes use the power fist when it is raining or nasty cold to acknowledge my fellow cyclist’s bad assness. Keep on waving!

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