LINCOLN, Neb. — A 34-year-old Lincoln man purchased a 2012 Harley-Davidson Softail Slim motorcycle this past Tuesday in an effort to cut down on his perceived duty to wave to other motorcyclists.
Russell “Rusty” Brandt entered Frontier Harley-Davidson’s front door around 11 a.m. with more than a thousand dollars in his wallet. A few hours later, he had completed the transaction, having agreed to pay $11,900 for the used motorcycle.
“I learned to ride when I lived in Creighton, and there weren’t many people there. Sometimes I would see people I didn’t know, and they would wave to me. I didn’t even put two and two together that they were waving at me just because I was on a motorcycle," Brandt explained. "It probably happened half a dozen times in two years. I moved here to Lincoln and learned that other riders wave a lot. They expect you to wave back. It’s almost like a religion.”
Brandt said the waving was the impetus for his purchase. He rode in on a 2012 Honda Shadow, which he traded in to Frontier Harley-Davidson towards the purchase price of his new motorcycle.
“When you ride a Harley, you just don’t have to wave," Brandt said. "If a guy on a Suzuki doesn’t wave, you have to wonder if he didn’t see you, or if he was using the clutch. Maybe he was having a bad day, but you don’t want to assume that, because you really don’t even know the other rider. But when you see a Harley, you know why the guy on it doesn’t wave. It’s because he’s on a Harley. In fact, guys on the Harley machines don’t even wave to riders on other Harleys!”
When asked about the inconvenience of having to trade in his motorcycle for a bike of another marque and the resulting monetary loss, Brandt was able to put things into perspective in terms of a simple cost-benefit analysis.
“The Shadow was a really good bike. Really good. I mean, I didn’t even want to get rid of it, but let’s get right down to the nitty-gritty. You don’t have to wave if you’re on a Harley. I just want to take some of the pressure off when I want to go out for a ride, and if I have to cough up some money to do that, so be it. It will be worth it.”
Brandt mentioned some safety aspects that he says other riders don’t consider. Safety was a big consideration in his decision to purchase the big Harley machine.
“Last week, I didn’t wave to a guy I passed on the left. I was in the middle of shifting gears, and didn’t think about it. About a mile later, I’m stopped at a red light, and the guy comes up to me and starts interrogating me about why I didn’t return his wave. He was really losing it. I went right home and told my wife. I told her I was trading the bike. I have a family. I can’t have people I don't know coming up to me and yelling at me unannounced."
Still, Brandt remained positive about his future in motorcycling.
“It’s really not that big of a deal. I wanted a new bike anyway.”