Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Cyclist Greeting Standard

While driving my family to Sonic yesterday, I saw Khal pedalling up Diamond. I recognized him from a good 600 feet away based on--get this--his gait. I knew it had to be Khal based on his high, steady cadence. I felt like I should shoot him a friendly "hi", but how? Honking would probably be the worst thing to do. Yelling would be second worst (yelling at a cyclist from a car sounds a lot like "blaamafaafuh!" to the cyclist, regardless of what you yell).

Then it hit me, how about a shaka sign? shaka sign

This means "hang loose" to most Americans, which at least when I was in a desert elementary school in the 80's vaguely meant "enjoy your physical activity". It doesn't demand the attention of the cyclist: either they see it or they don't. It makes the temporarily car-bound person feel like they're still in the cycling community--and let's face it, a high percentage of this town is in that community. Lastly, if someone else on the road sees it, it'll lower their blood pressure if it does anything.

Whaddya guys think?

1 comment:

Khal said...

From Wikipedia (and sounds right to me based on my 14 years on Oahu):

"Hawaiian locals use the shaka to convey what locals in Hawai'i call the "Aloha Spirit," a gesture of friendship and understanding ...and thus it does not have a direct semantic to literal translation. Depending on context it can also be used to communicate notions such as "all right," "cool," "smooth," and the like....The sign is often followed by waving as a greeting or acknowledgment. It can be used when driving as a signal of thanks to other drivers (for example, someone who stopped to let another driver onto the road from a driveway)."

I think it is especially relevant to bicycling as indeed, it was the universal acknowledgment of a kind or thoughtful gesture performed on the road, either between drivers, or drivers, peds, and bicyclists. We could use a little bit more of that on the Mainland.

Hence the pic of me on the Contributors page.