2012-06-15 14:22:02+0000 - California, United States of America

Carrying a passenger needs even more thought than riding solo. It alters the way your bike performs thanks to the extra weight on the rear tires.

Photo credit: http://esr.cc/LgKoU1

There's another person's safety to consider. Losing a pillion through negligence is not something you want to experience. Take a ride on the back of any big sports bike, and you'll know they barely fit for the purpose, something worth bearing in mind when you take someone onboard a sportsbike, especially at speed. In saying that, with the right approach and understanding there's no reason why a pillion can't have as much fun as the rider.

The first consideration to make is for the pillion's safety, which will be affected by the sort of bike you have. Riding on the back of a Honda Goldwing is both secure and luxurious, the seat is as big as a sofa and there's plenty to grab onto. Something like an Aprilia Tuono is a very different matter, with virtually nothing to hang onto, the already wheelie prone bike becomes a liability for a passenger if it's used in just a spirited fashion, never mind hard.

The pillion's motorcycle experience matters greatly too. If they've been doing it for years they'll know what to expect and what's expected of them. If not then a few tips from the rider about the importance of keeping still and bracing themselves against forces of braking and acceleration won't go amiss.

Tell the passenger not to shift their weight on the bike, it's tempting for a pillion to either try to help the driver lean around corners, or to compensate by leaning the other way. Neither practice is safe. Instead, the pillion should sit 'like a sack of potatoes', neither moving their body deliberately nor trying to keep stiffly upright. Make sure your pillion doesn't take their feet of the foot pegs, they don't need to put their feed down at a stoplight - ever.

It can feel natural for the pillion to hold onto the driver's shoulders, as they are the highest point while on the bike. However, pushing on the riders shoulders puts a lot of strain on his arms, and may interfere with his or her ability to steer efficiently. Holding onto the driver around the waist, or using the pillion grab rail at the back of the seat are better and safer choices. If the pillion is snugly tucked against the driver and clasping the driver around the waist, the two bodies will tend to naturally lean together around corners. Cornering and decelerating are the most unstable time for a bike.

Photo via: MotoUSA

If a pillion must shift their weight, tell them to wait until the bike is accelerating or at least travelling quickly along a straight road.

Always tell someone new to pillion riding to make it quite clear if they're unhappy. And make sure they're dressed as well as you are. They're at as much risk in a fall as the rider. Biking for two isn't for everyone, but done right it can be twice the fun. Enjoy the ride! Eat Sleep Ride

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