I visited Portland recently and spent a lot of time rolling around neighborhoods with some very well-connected bicycle advocates who know everyone in PDX from the Farmer's Market vendors to the coffee shop baristas. I noticed a lot of people smiling and ringing their bells or honking at us, NOT because they were passing us or thought we were being dicks, but because they just wanted to say hi.
Back in Chicago, I thought this was a pretty cool tradition, and I notice other cyclists saying hello this way occasionally. Just the other day I was carting my milk crate to Trader Joe's and I exchanged simultaneous bell dings with some BMX teenagers (sorry, kids, but I didn't even date high schoolers when I was in high school. Thanks for the lascivious grins, though).
So, is this a neat way of saying "yay for us!" to other cyclists, or is it super annoying? I know sometimes I'll get honked at by a car and I'll be terrified someone is about to run me over or I'm being a huge asshole and I'll look behind me and some Trixie is giving me a thumbs-up and calling "Nice bike!" Thanks for the compliment, but you know you gave me a heart attack, right?
NI don't mind when honks or catcalls come from other cyclists, partially out of some possibly misguided sense of solidarity, and partially because unlike cars they don't have the ability to murder me with little effort.
So; if another person on a bike rings their bell or honks their horn at you, do you "brrrrrriiiiiiiing!" back, or do you get pissed off? Should this be standard practice for two cyclists to say hello?