Top tips for two-up rid­ing heaven

A happy, com­fort­able pil­lion makes life eas­ier for both of you

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week -

Get the right clob­ber 1

Find a way of mak­ing sure your pil­lion has the right kit. At least a prop­erly-fit­ting hel­met, ar­moured jacket, proper gloves and high-top boots along with a pair of sturdy jeans. Try and match your own kit to theirs, as your own kit will play a part in how you ride and af­fect how they feel. Would you want to jump on the back with a rider in full race leathers when you’re only wear­ing a fash­ion biker jacket and a pair of train­ers?

Com­mu­ni­ca­tion is vi­tal 2

Ex­plain that stay­ing re­laxed will help the bike’s han­dling and con­trib­ute to a smoother ride. Ex­plain how the bike will lean dur­ing cor­ner­ing and ask them to keep their head be­hind yours (or pos­si­bly a lit­tle to­wards the in­side of the cor­ner if they want to see where they’re go­ing) when cor­ner­ing. Give them a way of com­mu­ni­cat­ing, in­clud­ing a sig­nal that they would like you to stop (such as a hand on your shoul­der).

Of­fer easy board­ing 3

Vir­gin Limo bik­ers, who ferry VIPS around Lon­don’s streets, have a method that makes it easy for their pas­sen­gers to get on the back seat. The rider gets on and leans the bike onto its side­stand. The pil­lion can then stand with their left foot on the left pil­lion peg and swing their right leg over the rear seat. Keep your weight to the right to coun­ter­act the pil­lion’s weight while it’s con­cen­trated on the left peg.

Try­ing to im­press isn’t im­pres­sive 4 When tak­ing a pil­lion for their first ride on the back of a bike just the thrill of be­ing on the back of a mo­tor­cy­cle will feel fast and ex­hil­a­rat­ing enough with­out daft hero­ics like heavy ac­cel­er­a­tion or weav­ing in and out of traf­fic. You’d have scared your­self wit­less if you’d rid­den like that when you first got on a bike, so imag­ine how a pil­lion will feel. Smooth shifts 6 If your bike will al­low them, clutch­less shifts up through the box make for a smooth ride. Just roll the throt­tle off slightly to re­duce the en­gine load and then slip the lever up into the next ra­tio. The ex­cep­tion is for the shift from first to sec­ond, which will need the clutch. For down­shifts, slip­ping the clutch at the end of the lever travel will re­duce the sever­ity of the de­cel­er­a­tion. Stop for a con­sul­ta­tion 8 Lug­gage fit­ting in­struc­tions will al­ways sug­gest stop­ping to check on the se­cu­rity of your load af­ter a short dis­tance. It’s also good ad­vice when car­ry­ing a new pil­lion. Give it 20 min­utes or so for them to bed in, then find a con­ve­nient point to stop and check that they’re happy, know what they should be do­ing and are on­board with what you’re do­ing. Care­ful with your right wrist 5 When it comes to the throt­tle, be as­sertive but not ag­gres­sive. Think of the at­ti­tude of the bike and try to main­tain it in as flat a po­si­tion as pos­si­ble, as weight trans­fer will un­set­tle the pil­lion, who is sat fur­ther back, doesn’t have the power to an­tic­i­pate what you’re go­ing to do and doesn’t have han­dle­bars to hold. Run­ning a taller gear will make the bike pitch less. Max­imise think­ing space 7 De­velop a smooth style and think fur­ther ahead than you might as a solo rider. Give your­self greater dis­tance from the ve­hi­cle in front to in­crease stop­ping time. When it comes to slow­ing, the rear brake is your great­est friend. This has less ef­fect on the bike’s at­ti­tude, keep­ing it flat­ter and more com­fort­able. Smooth use of the front brake will be needed to stop in a hurry. They think it’s all over… 9 When you’ve fin­ished, let them get off the bike in the re­verse to the way they got on. Rest the bike on the side­stand and counter their weight by shift­ing yours to the right while they swing their leg over the back of the bike and dis­mount. Take the chance to ask them what they liked and dis­liked and you might find they want to re­peat the ex­pe­ri­ence.

Keep your pil­lion happy and the chances are you’ll have re­cruited a new rider to the bik­ing fold

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