We’ve just finished our first tour of 2017 and we’re ready for more! Life on the open road, riding through untrodden ground and adventuring through the wilderness is our calling. The only thing that could make all of this any better is experiencing it all with a pillion on-board and sharing these moments over a cold sundowner that evening. We’ve put together a few tips to help you make the most of pillion riding.
One of the most important things to do is communicate with your passenger. Invent a few hand signals so that you can both communicate effectively. Simply a tap on the shoulder could mean ‘pull over’ and so on. No deep and meaningfuls please!
2. Master the Mount
Have a sturdy grip of the bike as well as the mount and have both feet on the ground so you don’t have to worry about the stand after the passenger has got on.
Your pillion should alight as soon as you stop so you can park your bike without them. Trust us, it’s much easier than picking up the bike, pillion (and your pride) from the tarmac as everyone and everything hits the deck trying to dismount!
3. Adapt Your Style
You’ll need to be flexible with the way you ride as it will inevitably be a different experience riding with another person weighing the bike down, particularly manoeuvring, accelerating and braking. It’s a good idea to practice riding with you pillion, preferably somewhere quiet and open. You’ll be able to minimise the (not so) rock and roll ‘helmet bump’ when in public.
4. Don’t Scare!
Although it might be tempting to scare the living daylights out of your passenger with an epic wheelie or side-skid, they’ll never want to ride with you again if you do! We want you to actually make it on the tour and not be in the dog-house!
5. Hold On Tight
The pillion can hold on to the grab bar or around your waist – whichever is most comfortable. Even both at the same time.
6. Exhausting Work
Safety is of utmost importance to us and, although we always have the resources to do so, we don’t want any emergency trips to hospital to treat an easily avoided exhaust burn! Ensure your pillion doesn’t put their leg or foot on the hot exhaust.
7. The Leaning Pillion
Preferences differ from rider to rider, but generally we feel that passengers should try to stay still on a corner as you don’t want them to over lean, or lean the wrong way! Many of our tours twist and turn through mountain-tops, around hairpin bends and weave through tea plantations, so you need to make sure this is nailed.
8. All the Gear
Both riders and pillions should always wear the right gear. We know our tours range from humid and hot in Sri Lanka to bitterly cold in the Himalayas, so it’s important to get this right. Layers are key!
9. Take a Break
Make sure you take enough time out to stretch your legs and get comfortable again. On selected tours with Extreme Bike Tours, we also have the option of pillions riding in our luxury LandRover for a well earned break. Longer stretches, i.e.. to and from the airport, are air conditioned coaches or mini-buses.
10. Enjoy the Extra Company!
Riding pillion is not for everyone, so enjoy it if y0u have found that person to ride ‘bitch’ with!