I've observed this dated ritual evolve over the past three decades, and I'm puzzled by its persistence. Back in the 1970s, it was only grizzled outlaw bikers-or those who emulated them-who issued fist-clenched salutes when encountering other bikers on the roads. They were selective in their greetings, waving only at fellow Harley-Davidson pilots, creating a sense of social abandonment for folks riding foreign-made motorcycles. Fast-forward a few years and the Harley crowd became friendlier, with waves exchanged among riders of all stripes. Lately I've been waved at by senior citizens tootling along on mopeds and scooters, as well as contestants in the Sonny Barger Dress-Alike Contest. Flattered? Sure. But I doubt most of these riders would pull over to help if my bike broke down or got a flat, which a half-century ago was part of what waving at each other was all about. Back when motorcycles were scarce on American roads, a friendly wave suggested, "Hi, friend. If something goes wrong, I've got your back." Today, it's more like "Hey, I bought a bike, so I'm as cool as you, right?"