Riding a motorcycle with a passenger or as a passenger is one way to intimately connect with someone. And if your intention is to develop a long term relationship with this person, it won’t hurt to buy or invest in a backrest/luggage combo for your special passenger. Not to mention, buying her a set of protective riding gear like a full face helmet,motorcycle leather jacket,boots and riding gloves.
I thought riding a motorcycle with a passenger or as a passenger was a no brainer. But for safety precautions you need the basics of pillion riding (riding two-up) down pat.
For the rider or the operator here are the things you need to tell your passenger:
1. Show your passenger to wrap her both hands around your waist especially if the cruiser has no backrest.
2. Use the foot peg as a step when mounting the bike.
3. Do not mount yet until the operator is already braced. If you catch the operator by surprise, it might cause the motorcycle to fall over.
4. Avoid the hot parts like the exhaust or muffler. Both feet must be on the footrests and away from the wheel and drive system.
5. Do not put your feet down during stops.
6. Be physically in-tune with the movements of the motorcycle and the operator. Lean in during curves, hold your weight over the hips during acceleration and when braking lean slightly backward.
7. Explain and set a system of communication signals if both of you don’t have a helmet mounted bluetooth communication device. For example:
– Two taps on the shoulder could mean “I have a problem”.
– One tap on the left shoulder could mean “Please slow down”.
– Three taps could mean “Stop right now, it’s urgent”.
– Thumbs up-means “I’m having fun”.
Remember with added weight (your passenger) will mean that the motorcycle will handle differently. It won’t steer as smoothly or brake in short distance. So it is wise to brake or accelerate gradually. Riding a motorcycle with a passenger requires more skills than riding solo.
Approach every maneuver such as cornering, accelerating, braking, swerving, shifting with careful thin ice smoothness. Also plan to stop at regular intervals just to check your passenger’s emotional state and comfort.
To be sure of your passenger’s physical comfort and if you can afford it, install a
backrest on the passenger section of your cruiser. There are lots of brands backrest/luggage combo in the market to choose from that fits the model of your bike. Backrest will enable the passenger to feel secure and able to relax and enjoy the scenery. Backrest also provides a barrier to sliding off the seat.
The saddle should be deep and roomy enough to allow adjustments to your position without crowding your operator. The saddle should not slope in the rear and not slope too much on the front that you won’t slide into the operator.
So before hitting the road, have a pre-ride discussion with your passenger as how often will you stop, how long will be the ride, what type of roads will you be travelling on e.g. lots of curve,twisty gravel roads or winding back roads or high speed freeways.
For the passenger here are what you should do:
1. Interview the pilot or operator before agreeing to ride with him. How long has he been riding this particular motorcycle? Any experienced riding with a passenger? The answer should satisfy you enough to trust your life on the skills of the operator.
2. Suggest to ride with the operator on one or two shorter rides before fully committing to ride with him on long weekend getaways. You will want to check if you are comfortable with his skills and abilities and the motorcycle itself.
3. Do not startle the operator by making any noises or movements.
4. If you need to communicate,use the set of signals that both of you have discussed.
5. Do not ride with the pilot if he is drunk, high on drugs,sick or emotionally distraught.
6. Wait to get on and off the motorcycle until the pilot is firmly grounded.
7. If you feel uncomfortable in anyway, be assertive and signal the pilot. The pilot or operator should be finding solutions to make his passenger happy. Whether it is making adjustments in speed, seats etc. Do not be stoic and suck up to your discomfort. Fine-tuning is never ending.