Riding with a passenger is a great way to share your love of motorcycling. It’s a good idea to educate your pillion partner on how to be a good passenger. Here are some tips to ensure that the ride-sharing experience is fun for both of you.
1. ATGATT (All The Gear All The Time)
Insist on full protective gear for you and your passenger. This should include a DOT-certified helmet. Although this is not required by CO law it IS the safest way to ride. Eye protection, which IS required by CO law; pants and a protective jacket–preferably leather or textile designed for slide protection; full-coverage footwear; and, of course, gloves. Don’t forget seasonally appropriate layers to combat heat and wind chill. In the mountains, we have the unique potential of experiencing all 4 seasons during a ride!
2. Pre-Ride Briefing
Go over parts of the bike that can burn or otherwise hurt the passenger if they are new to motorcycles. Be sure they understand that bikes must lean to corner and that the tires provide plenty of grip. Go over what they should expect during the ride and come up with hand signals for communication (or practice using whatever communication device you might have).
3. Show Them Where to Hang On
A passenger on a motorcycle should pay attention to what’s going on and to brace for braking and acceleration by holding the grab handles or the waist of the rider and pushing into the foot pegs/boards with their feet. It’s the rider’s job to ride smoothly and to avoid abrupt or extreme starts and stops, but the passenger plays a critical role in overall bike stability. The passenger should not put their feet down when stopping. Some passengers think it will help but it can actually cause imbalance.
4. Lean With The Rider
Passengers new to the backseat of a motorcycle can get nervous and counter the rider’s steering efforts by sitting upright in corners. To avoid a counter-leaning problem, the passenger should lean with the bike and look over the inside shoulder of the rider.
5. Find A Balance
Once you have ridden together for a while you will learn the best hand signals or other communication methods and you will quickly get into a routine. Be sure to find a balance of riding and stopping that keeps both the rider and the passenger happy, hydrated and comfortable. Some enthusiasts can ride for hours without a stop and some like to stretch after 30 minutes have passed. If both rider and passenger have something to look forward to then the trips can easily become a fun way to spend time working as a team and spending time together.