Motorcycling with a Passenger: Double the Pleasure, Double the Fun

Some simple preparations and communications can make the difference between a pleasant motorcycle passengering experience and a disaster. ** By Jamie Elvidge.**

Dear Rider,

If you're lucky enough to have someone you care for on the back of your motorcycle, you should consider it a gift in trust. Even if you are an experienced rider, there is much to know about carrying a passenger. I'm not speaking solely of how riding double affects the behavior of your machine, I'm also talking about simple comfort and convenience factors that will make any ride more pleasant for both of you.

    Dear Passenger,

    First things first. Do you really trust this guy? That's the number-one thing we want passengers to mull over before they accept a ride on the back of a motorcycle. It doesn't matter if he's your father, a first date or your husband of 20 years; you must not take this question lightly. You're gambling your very life on faith in his skill. If you doubt it, say no. If you're not sure, ask questions: How long have you been riding? How long riding this particular bike? Have you ridden with a passenger before?

    Riding as a passenger can be a very fun, relaxing experience, not to mention a fulfilling, intimate way to connect with the person you care about. So once you're comfortable with his abilities, here's what you need to know to develop your own.

      The whole idea behind these tips is to increase your chances of a next time. And a time after that. We too often hear stories about passengers who tried it once and said, "Never again." The number-one cause is poor communication up front. (Number two is a dumb-ass rider trying to impress his passenger with speed and antics, but we know that's not you.) Nail down your expectations before you ride, and you'll both prosper.

      Behind every successful man is a strong woman? Eh, maybe. Behind every contented man is a happy motorcycle passenger? More likely.

      _Hey, if you have any questions or situations that I haven't addressed, feel absolutely free to contact me via e-mail at

      _For more information on safe-riding equipment, strategies, techniques and skills, see the _ Street Survival section of

      Illustration by John Breakey