these 7 tips will ensure that you and your pillion enjoy many safe and enjoyable miles together.
Jamie and I have enjoyed many years and miles riding together on Two Wheels. This has not always been the case. Yes we have always enjoyed the riding part of the two wheeled experience, however there were times, when our riding experience created frustration and possibly placed our safety at risk. Here are a few things that we have learned that makes our two up riding experience a great one.
1- Keep your pillion involved. One of the things I do, is to ensure that Jamie knows a few key details before heading out on a ride. First I let her know where we are going, the route we are taking to get there, where we might stop or how many miles the scheduled stops will take place. This allows her to know what the general plan is and if I miss a turn she can let me know about it. (yes, sometimes I ignore the GPS haha) I would not advise all pillions to do this, especially newbies to the two up lifestyle, but Jamie takes an active role in documenting our rides. She takes pictures from the pillion seat and she has captured many incredible photos from the back of the bike. Jamie also knows there is a time for this activity. While we are enjoying a spirited ride on a twisty road is NOT the right time. I think you all get the picture. The more involved the pillion is in the ride, the more they will want to continue to ride.
2- Mounting & Dismounting This may seem like a simple action, however getting on and off the bike is a dance and one that can end up with toes being stepped on if rider and pillion are not on the same page. This simple act can cause a number of bad things to occur, like dropping the bike or hurting the pillion or rider, so why not start off on a good note. Here is how we do it. The passenger should ask if it is ok to get on the bike. I know this sounds odd, but when this occurs all parties are aware of what is about to happen and can prep for the action. . The same could be said for dismounting. Jamie places a hand on my shoulder when she wants to get on, this allows me to say yes or hold on a second. She also taps me on the shoulder before starting her dismount. This works well for us. Find out what works well for you and do them each time. Trust me, it will make for a great start and end to a ride.
3- Be Smooth Be composed when accelerating, braking, shifting and cornering. It is the riders responsibility to make the pillions riding experience a good one. Being a pillion is all about trust, hard acceleration and clunky shifting does not lend itself to building trust. There will be times when action must be taken, to avoid an accident or for the safety of both parties, but these actions should not be the norm. Ride smooth and your pillion will gain more trust in you and in turn enjoy riding more. If you have not seen the trend here the goal is to keep the pillion feeling safe and having fun, thus increasing the likelihood of more rides together.
4- The Correct Gear Ensure that your pillion has the correct gear to be comfortable on the ride. Spend some money and get them gear that fits and will be the most protective for them. Nothing ruins a ride and dampens the spirit of a pillion more than not having the right gear. When the rains come, correct fitting rain gear is a game changer. If the temps drop, having a good set of warm riding gloves will make for a great riding experience. Take the time and spend some money on riding gear. Your pillion will thank you.
5- Accessorize Jamie feels really safe with a top box installed on the bike. Besides being a great tool to store things, it makes her ride more enjoyable. It was an easy decision to have one on the bike. Communication devices have changed our two up game. It has enhanced our riding experience more than anything we could have added to the bike. Having the ability to communicate with just a touch of a button is a true game changer. It also allows for the pillion to listen to music or even talk on the phone if the mood strikes. I will be honest, there are rides where we go for many miles without ever keying up and talking to each other, but having the option to talk is a great feeling. If Jamie wants to stop for that much needed bathroom stop, she can make it happen with a mere push of a button. We feel that having a communication tool is essential for a great two up riding experience.
6- It takes two Remember that there are two of you on the bike. This means you have to adapt your riding style. I personally don’t mind riding tank to tank without a stop. Jamie does not agree with this mind set, so we take a short break every hour or so just to get off the bike and stretch. It does not have to be a long break, but it works well for the two of us. You have to be flexible as things will come up that need to be addressed. You just stopped and 10 minutes down the road one of you has to take a potty break. It happens. Roll with the changes as one of my favorite groups used to sing. Understand when tensions are on the rise. Jamie knows that I hate arriving to our destination in the dark, so we do everything we can to avoid that situation. Jamie is not a big fan of riding in high winds or on the interstate for any extended amount of time, so again we change course if needed.
7- Have Fun! If you have found that one person who loves riding pillion, the one person who wakes up on a Sunday morning and asks “where are we riding to today” then take advantage of it! I liken it to winning the lottery. I get to enjoy riding a motorcycle, creating memories together and seeing great destinations with the love of my life. It is an amazing feeling and I know that I am so lucky to have “hit the lottery”. So doing the small things listed above are not a chore. It is a privilege.
I hope that you all read this and take a few things from it that will enhance your two up riding experience. I love riding a motorcycle and have been doing it for over 40 years. However I will say that the last 18 years of riding with Jamie has taken my joy of riding to an entirely different level. We have seen so many things, met so many great people and enjoyed numerous miles of exploration together. Being able to do this on Two Wheels is a mind blowing experience and one that we hope you all will get to enjoy in the near future.