Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Blast from the past - Riding Pillion

Yesterday I rode pillion, I haven't really done this since I earned my motorcycle license.  We have two motorcycles in our garage and only one of them is insured - and it's mine. Once upon a time, on lovely summer days back in the '80's you would find me and then boyfriend riding all over Northern BC.  Those were heady days, we used to go everywhere on his bike!  I continued to ride on the back off/on over the years, but that seemed to pretty much come to an end when we had our kiddo, it wasn't practical and it didn't lend itself to much riding time. 
The cruiser is my hubby's bike Honda V45 Magna, he's had it since 1983, he used to pick me up for dates on that baby and I'd hop on and away we'd go!
At one time I was a great pillion passenger, you couldn't ask for better. I never fidgeted or leaned the wrong way.  For the most part I was very content, although my view was mostly obscured by the back of the hub's head.   I loved nothing more on a hot summer day to go for a ride on some twisties.  It was the time of my youth and bck then there really was no motorcycle gear to speak of and I shudder at our lack of gear.  I rode on the back of the bike for 28 years and then all of that changed when Pandora's moto box was opened with the scooter.
My impressions of my experience of riding pillion I would have to say it feels very odd sitting on the back. K said that when I have ridden on the back on two occasions that I am squirmy now.  He says he can feel my hands twitch when he shifts, brakes, and rolls on/off the throttle.  He he says he can feel my left foot wiggle around when you would be throwing in a shift, it's reflexive.  My bike also has a very unforgiving passenger seat and does not have a sissybar, I felt like I was going to slide off.  Its funny I didn't enjoy the ride as much as I used to and actually felt anxious for some odd reason, its hard now to give up control. 

  This seat is not conducive to a comfy passenger ride
There is an art to being a pillion passenger, when the passenger does it well and leans with you and doesn't wiggle around or thunk into the back of your helmet it makes for a good ride.  I have yet to take a passenger on my bike and really haven't had a need or a desire to do so.  I think what made it more difficult as well as we were both concerned about the bike bottoming out on bumps and when corning due to the fact that I lowered, so it actually made the ride less smooth and not as fluid as it usually is.  I also have to hand it to those who love riding pillion and are good passengers!
So my question is would you ride pillion? Or do you think you could not handle giving up control?  Got to say the view from the back was not as nice from the front and it was awkward trying to crane my neck around over the hub's shoulder.  I think next time we will take the car ;)  


Unknown said...

I could ride pillion if I had to--if, say, my bike broke down on a group ride. Otherwise, I'm afraid I don't see the point of it. Why ride when you can, well, ride?... (Maybe that didn't work out so well. ;-) )

On another note... Your husband still has his bike from the early '80s?! That's AWESOME!

RichardM said...

You should have made him ride pillion.

Andrew Thomson said...

Richard's right!

I know for a fact that I am a shocking pillion and it's also something that I do not enjoy.

I've also had good and bad pillions on the back and the difference really makes a difference if ya know what I mean...

Dar said...

Ry - Yup its thr same bike! I was 18 years old when we first started dating! The bike is starting to get finicky, but for a 33 year old bike its amazing. Last summer it just rolled over 50,000 km.

Richard - I suggested that, but he wasn't too amenable for that.

Andrew - I have to say not sure I am going to sit back there anytime soon, he needs to get insurance.

Trobairitz said...

Having gone from a life long pillion position to a rider myself I agree with you Dar. I hate riding on the back of hubby's bike now and he is a trained professional. Okay, maybe hate is a strong word but I am not nearly as comfy as I once was.

No heated grips back there, no handlebar to hang onto, foot pegs are in the wrong spot, etc etc. And I can't control the cornering speed. For some reason it feels a lot faster from the back after having ridden my own bike for 8 years.

Dar said...

Trobairitz - Exactly! It was definitely harder getting onto the back of mine with the hard bags in the way and the pegs are quite a bit higher up and make me all scrunched and I felt like I was going to slide backwards a few times. It is not my favorite place to be anymore and I can't see a repeat of this happening any time soon.

Michael J. said...

No, I couldn't ride pillion any longer. It's just not the same. No shifting, rolling the throttle coming out of a curve. My spouse doesn't like riding pillion which is just as well. She is not a good accessory on the back. Too much squirming around. I prefer solo with just me and me.

SonjaM said...

I have been a pillion rider before getting my own licence, Dar. After that - like for yourself - it was hard having to give up control, once you know how being in the rider's seat feels.

But there's one memorable pillion ride two years ago in Southern France. It was on the back of a Harley Davidson with Gary France at the end of a long riding day, when I was too exhausted to do any more riding by myself. I really enjoyed that one.

Lynne Goebeler said...

Dar, I was only a pillion rider for a handful of times before taking the plunge with a scooter myself, 20+ years ago. Now I ride with my husband only when a bike is being dropped off for service or something similar. Well there was that one time I sold a bike in Florida and we rode back two up on
his bike. Now I have had the hubs as a pillion on my bike too...he had broken his wrist on a ride in NC...I should probably write about that one day. ;-)