One may enjoy riding a motorcycle solo, some may even pray they’d always ride solo, but there’s no escaping having to ferry a pillion at one time or forever.
Having a pillion isn’t that bad. Since you’re the one riding the bike hence in control, most of the pillion’s demeanor depends on your own.
It helps to ask your passenger if she (I’d usually have female pillions, so let’s just use the feminine pronoun) had ever ridden on bike. You could then brief her on the aspects and roles of a pillion. Promise them that it’ll be fine, and keep your word.
Gear her up
Best ask her in advance she owns any proper riding gear, because you’d need to bring your spare jacket, helmet and gloves if she doesn’t. Please don’t be that lamer who wears a high-end helmet, airbag one-piece racesuit, gloves with titanium knuckles and top-of-the-line boots, then hands his passenger a helmet from when Carter was President and little other protection.
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Getting her on
Take a couple of minutes to brief her on how to get on and off. That’ll save you guys from the embarrassment of ending up in a head on the sidewalk. Trust us.
Requests that she climbs on from the right side, if possible, away from the traffic. Just how one would mount a horse, she then needs to stand straight up before carrying her left leg over the seat. Advise her to settle gently down onto the seat, as an abrupt slam-down may cause you to lose balance. This is especially critical on a tall adventure- or sport-tourer, as one may be top heavy from a full tank of gas, in addition to fully-laden panniers and top case.
Be prepared to compensate for some rocking around at the rear while she climbs on, and brief her to only get off the bike when you say it’s okay to do so.
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Placing her hands on her thighs may induce her to feeling insecure. Instead, she may hold on to the grab bar, if she doesn’t want physical contact. That’s fine.
However, unless you’re riding a full-dress tourer, it’s best that she hangs on to your waist or places her palms on the fuel tank. That way, both your masses become one for more stability instead feeling as if you’re carrying a tree stump back there. She should feel more secure too.
Let her know to tap you on the shoulder should she needs for you to stop. (If she grabs you by the neck, it should very well mean that you’re riding like a jerk.)
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She may put a foot or both feet down, mistakenly thinking that she should assist in keeping the bike up when you stop. Do thank her and advise her that she should just keep both feet up unless it’s time to get off.
By the way, your bike needs a rear seat and footpegs to carry a pillion.
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Ease up on the corner speeds
Corners may be exciting for the rider, but they usually scare the passenger, experienced or otherwise. Just take it easy this time; you still have the opportunity to ride the Tail of the Dragon in less than 12 parsecs next time.
Convince your pillion to stay relaxed, especially her waist and torso, and lean with the bike. She doesn’t have to assist by hanging off, and definitely not by leaning the other way.
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