Two Up Riding - Hints, Secrets, Things to do or not to do

From: "drbob Date: Sun, 19 Sep 1999 11:23:04 -0600

The pure technique issues are obvious and trivial. If you need to worry about decreased braking/cornering ability you're going too fast. Load the bike with a lot of weight if you want to practice. THE issue is passenger comfort, of all kinds. Short trips, low speeds, uncrowded roads, and , most important, constant asking for feedback: "Is this OK? Are you comfortable?"

Do _not_ try to demonstrate the thrills of motorcycling and the performance of your great bike until requested to do so. Just riding is thrill enough for new passengers. Do _not_ overcomplicate this with a lot of instructions on what to do, unless you know that she's the kind of person for whom details=comfort. For example my whole spiel on what to do is "Lean or don't lean, but please don't change your mind suddenly. We won't crash, but I'll have to compensate.

Watch out for the hot muffler." Everyone I've ridden has figured out how to get on/off pretty well, and to keep their feet on the pegs. No need for complicated signals on the first ride since it's less than a half hour and I'm constantly talking to them. Daylong trips are a different story. I've given many their first ride with no noticeable problems. Done properly you will have an eager and fun companion. Done poorly, she'll want you to sell the bike. bob

__________________________________________________________________________ From: Bill Grissom" Date: Sun, 19 Sep 1999 21:06:34 GMT

My SO hadn't ever riden before this year. Now we've spent some very enjoyable time together on the bike. We are still newbies, far from the hundreds of thousands of miles some on the list have done two up. For us, the key to her having a good time is her comfort. There are a lot of things I can do to help in this regard. I know this stuff is basic common sense, but here is what I've learned:

Before you ride, be very clear with her on what her responsbilities are as a passenger. Feet on pegs at *all* times. How and when you want her to mount/dismount the bike. How you want her to lean in corners, etc.
Find her a good, properly fitting, quiet helmet immediately. Nothing is worse (not to mention unsafe) than wearing a ill-fitting helmet. She might not even know to complain at first. I sent my SWMBO to buy her own with only some general guidelines from me. She settled on a Shoei RF-800 and her enjoyment ratio spiked upwards. Also, buy her a tinted shield with the helmet. My SWMBO really likes her Silks helmet liner. Should keep her helmet nicer inside, too. (I shamefully confess that we don't yet have her a complete set of gear. Still working on that. She's little, so fitting her has been a problem.)
Braking distance *is* increased. Planning ahead is even more important. Other than the obvious safety issue, her comfort is a factor. See next point.
Smooth is the key word. You have the advantages of knowing when shifts/speed changes are about to occur, you have handlebars to hold on to, and you have an unobstructed view of what's coming. OTOH, she can't predict when the bike may move in an unexpected manner, especially at first. Her vision is significantly impaired by your big, helmet-wearing melon. Shifting roughly or hitting the brakes hard jerks her head and body much more than your own. When you are alone, practice to see how smoothly you can change gears. 1-2 upshift is toughest for me.
Ride more conservatively than you otherwise might, especially at first. Make sure you get feedback along the way about how she is feeling.
Traffic may scare her. Heck, it scares me sometimes, too. Find some nice backroads with low traffic to ride while you get used to riding together. Just spend some time riding somewhere out of the way for a late breakfast or lunch.
Intercomms are really great for me. I know this is a thread unto itself, but it is great to have some capability to easily talk about how she's doing, point out cool road sights, and hang-on warnings ("Train tracks coming, hang on") will help.
Assume that she needs to stop long before you do. Her sitting position is more cramped than yours and she doesn't have a lot of good choices on how to hang on and still be relaxed.
Pay special attention to slow speed manuvers. Your margin of recovery from a slight tip is greatly reduced.

That's all I can think of offhand. There was a passenger carrying FAQ somewhere on the net, but I can't find it again. Good luck. Enjoy the ride. Bill Grissom Cary, NC

__________________________________________________________________________ From: "CHRIS BELL Date: Mon, 02 Aug 1999 13:44:36 -0600

I don't know of a web site about riding two up. However, as an MSF instructor I have a few suggestions. MSF does not specify a minimum amount of time before beginning to ride two-up. MSF just says get PLENTY of riding experience before taking on a passenger.

BE PREPARED for your bike to handle differently. It will accelerate slower, turn differently, and take longer distances to stop.
INSTRUCT your passenger about dangers (hot parts/flying bugs) and what to expect on her first ride. Passengers need to be reminded that the exhaust is HOT and that their feet are inches from a moving wheel. They need to keep their feet on the footpegs and let YOU balance the motorcycle at stops. Many inexperience passengers get freaked out when you lean you bike through a turn and try to put their foot out or counteract a lean. Tell her ahead of time that leaning is part of riding. Have your passenger look over your shoulder and lean with you.
RIDING GEAR for a passenger should be just as good as what you are wearing. She should have a helmet, jacket, gloves, boots and long pants. If you make her riding experience a good one, she will probably soon be off the back of your bike and riding next to you on her own bike.
Chris Bell Austin, TX

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