Riding two up: On the road tips… [Part 3]

Now that you’re on the road, you’re ready for a good time. Some simple do’s and don’ts will ensure your safety and enhance your fun.


Here are some tips I’ve learned

DO: Realize that you are not in control; rider #1 is. Accept and enjoy that you are rider #2; it’s a good thing.

DO NOT: Be a back seat driver. Fight all instinctive and conscious attempts to control the bike. If you can’t “let go”, then perhaps riding two-up isn’t for you.

DO: Hold on so rider #1 has a sense of your presence. This will take individual discussion about what works for both of you but holding on to rider #1 loosely at the hips is usually a win-win.

DO NOT: Hold on with a death grip or romantic embrace. You want to avoid cramping rider #1’s freedom of movement and you want to avoid “helmet kisses.”

DO: Stay alert and pay attention to the ride. Watch for bumps, rail road crossings, debris in the road, animals and people. If you detect “surprises” concurrently with the rider, you will function as one and be a team during sudden stops and swerves.

DO NOT: Forget that you become part of the problem if your weight imbalances the ride in a quick stop or swerve.

DO: Watch the road and look over the shoulder of rider #1 in the direction of turns. A slight shift of your head to look over rider #1’s right shoulder as you go in to right turns and left shoulder as you go in to left is a perfect way to contribute to smooth riding. It is a small gesture with big results.

DO NOT: Ignore the twists and turns of the road. Be part of the action.

DO: Stay centered on the bike.

DO NOT: Lean. Rider #1 does not need your weight to accomplish a turn. It’s fun to lean into turns but it’s not your job and you’re changing the balance of the bike by “over” participating! Discuss this if you’re going to be regular riding partners. Find out what works for you both.

DO: Be light in your seat. By squeezing the bike between your knees and lifting your body slightly when you go over a railroad track or any bump, you can avoid being tossed up and landing back down with a thud.

DO NOT: Add instability to the ride by being “dead weight.”

DO: Stay in your seat when descending steep hills by supporting your weight on the foot pegs.

DO NOT: Move in to rider #1’s seat by sliding forward, caught unaware of the bike’s downhill motion.

DO: Communicate critical information
with a preplanned system. Whether it be hand signals, taps on this shoulder or that, a squeeze at the waist. Whatever your chosen form of communication, if you’ve got something important to say, have a way to “say” it. Know that talking with earplugs in and trying to be heard over wind noise is difficult and distracting.

DO NOT: Chatter idly. If you have radios, do not fill up the airwaves with everything on your mind. Only communicate what’s important. Discuss this with rider #1 and see what works for the two of you. Personally, I think the fewer distractions, the better and there’s a great pleasure in the quiet of the ride.

DO: Signal rider #1
when you’re planning to put your feet down which should only be when you are dismounting.

DO NOT: Put your feet down during a ride. You can not stop the bike or slow it or prevent a fall by putting your feet down. You can get hurt; you can make things worse.

DO: Trust your partner. Be calm. Be relaxed. Do know that you are a participant and you make a difference.

It doesn’t take two to ride a motorcycle but a two-up ride works best when rider #1 and rider #2 are both doing their parts.

Donn Brous