Guide to pillion riding on a motorcycle

When it come to jumping on the back of a first time it can be a pretty daunting experience, although you’ll soon find that the rewards of two-up touring are many.

You’ll have to look far and wide to find someone who has done as many pillion miles as world record holder Julia Sanders, co-founder of GlobeBusters Motorcycle Expeditions alongside husband Kevin.

If you’re thinking of going pillion for the first time, or just want to get more out of 2-up riding, Julia has been sharing some of her top tips in the June 2017 issue of RiDE.

  • Get Acquainted

If it’s your first time, a good briefing from your rider is essential. Getting to grips with the essential parts of the bike or modifications being made helps to make you feel part of the experience. Also get advice on the right kit for your journey, as being cold or wet will make it less enjoyable.

  • Getting On & Off

There are two main ways to get on a bike, either by swinging your leg over, or using the foot-peg to step up a bit like a stirrup. The right method for you will be determined by the bike in question, along with your height and other characteristics. Take the time to practice so you feel more comfortable.

  • Holding On

The more you ride, the more relaxed you will become as a pillion, but there are some things to try and remember. When cornering, lean with the bike, rather than fighting to remain upright. Also try not to fidget or make sudden movements when the bike is travelling slowly or coming to a stop. Whether you hold on to the rider or another point on the bike will depend on the setup of the motorcycle itself, and what feels comfortable to you at the time.

  • Sharing Duties

As you become more experienced, you can start to share more of the duties on a journey. Whether it’s navigating, taking photographs or paying tolls for example, every little helps and can all become part of the pillion routine.

  • Comms

Whether you decide to use an intercom system or not, it’s important top develop some kind of system to help you communicate with the rider. Simple signals can let you know when the rider needs their full concentration and shouldn’t be distracted for example.

  • Plan Your Day

Working together you should agree on what the day’s riding is going to entail. By knowing roughly how many miles you’re planning to cover or when you’re going to get a break you both set out with the same expectations.

Both Kevin and Julia now lead motorcyclists on life changing adventures across the globe, with their fleet of Triumph Tiger motorcycles all fitted with tyres from the Continental adventure range.

You can view our range of adventure tyres here.