I first heard about The Brotherhood in mid-2000, after Lonardo bought a motorcycle. After he'd been riding for a while, he was overheard discussing The Brotherhood with Castaldo (who had been riding since he was a teenager). The Brotherhood, they explained, referred to the invisible club of motorcycle riders. Membership was as simple as buying and riding a bike of some kind. "Whatever," I distinctly remember thinking, "sounds like repressed homosexuality to me."

Nevertheless, within a few months I was signed up for The State-provided motorcycle training course. My instructor was a 60ish former Drill Instructor with approximately 8 teeth named something like "Al". The course consisted of both written and practical components, the latter taught on 100cc bikes in a church parking lot. In the rain.

I was underwhelmed.

After we all passed the course's written exam, to my astonishment, "Al" gave us a brief speech.

"Today, you are entering into an exclusive Brotherhood. Respect and enjoy your membership in this family and that of your brothers and sisters."

I'm not fucking kidding. Word for word. What I had assumed was code for some kind of gay love tryst between my two closest friends was actually a real phenomenon. Well, *also* a real phenomenon.

I later learned that a critical duty of membership in The Brotherhood is The Wave. The Wave is gesture, usually with the left hand, given to other members of The Brotherhood upon passing them in either direction. A nod of the head is also acceptable. Like The Brotherhood, The Wave is an silent phenomenon, unnoticed by car drivers. It's another manifestation of the other world motorcycle riders inhabit.

It's important to note that the exact boundaries of Brotherhood membership are unclear. I don't consider scooter riders to be members, and so I never offer The Wave. Sportsbike riders often don't acknowledge The Wave, indicating they are unaware of their membership. Some Harley riders only respond to The Wave from other Harley riders, believing that a non-Harley is a non-bike.

Next time you're following a bike, watch for The Wave, and remember about The Brotherhood - a secret, easily-accessible, exclusive club of men and woman all around you.

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