Riding with a passenger on a motorcycle is a sure way to share our passion and way of life with another person – usually our significant other. Travel together, eat together, be in love with the world together.
Do it right and it ends as a beautiful experience. Here are several tips on how to ride with a passenger.
1. Getting on
A simple “briefing” on how to climb on and off for a new passenger will save both of you from the hassle of “getting stuck” or worse, the embarrassment of toppling over.
Passengers will usually alight from the left side, so do remember to shift your weight over to that side to brace. Advise him/her to hold one of your shoulders, step firmly on the footpeg and stand up straight before swinging his/her right leg over the seat. Doing this allows for the foot to clear a top case, should you have one. Then he/she should lower himself/herself softly onto the seat.
Signal to your passenger when it is fully safe to alight.
2. ATGATT (All the gear, all the time)
We have seen riders suiting themselves up to the hilt when they ride: Head-to-toe in the best gear that money could buy. But their passengers are riding in only a low-range helmet. Always gear up your passenger as best as you could.
3. Hold on
Your passenger may feel more secure holding onto the motorcycle’s grab bar or strap on the seat. This is fine but brief your passenger to move with the bike and not fight it. The best way to hang on, though, is by holding onto the rider’s waist. Or on a sportier bike, place their palms against the fuel tank. That way, both your masses are combined for more stability.
Let her know to tap your shoulder should she feel uncomfortable or needs you to stop. If she places both hands on your neck, it means that you are riding like an idiot.
4. Feet up
Newbies may feel obliged to put a foot or both feet down to help you balance during stops, especially if on a tall bike and you have only one foot down. Do advise her to not do so, as it may cause you to lose balance.
5. Easy on the corner entries
Corners are what every rider live for, but they will scare the passenger including experienced ones. You do not have to beat your best time up Bukit Tinggi today.
6. Relaxed but not fidgety
Brief her to stay relaxed and to just go with the flow. Do not fight the bike, especially when in corners and riding through traffic. Advise her to keep her waist loose.
7. Adjust the bike
Remember to set up your bike properly when you plan to ride with a passenger. This is why virtually all bikes have adjustable rear suspension. The extra weight of a passenger will cause the rear of the bike to squat and take the load off the front tyre. Consequently, control can feel vague and the motorcycle slow to react. As such, add more preload to lift the rear of the bike.
8. Account for change in performance
The passenger’s extra weight and degree of interference will affect the bike’s performance in several key areas including (but not limited to) braking, steering, acceleration. Think ahead much further than you would when you ride solo to compensate.
BONUS: Smooth, smooth, smooth
Keep your controls smooth, as in no abrupt throttle and brake applications. It also means no slamming the bike onto its side for corners. The passenger will thank you heaps for it!