Whenever I tell someone that Dale and I are going on a motorcycle ride or trip I invariably face one of the following questions: “What kind of bike do you ride?”, “When did you start riding?”, “Don’t you want to ride your own bike?”, “Aren’t you bored just riding along?” The answers, in order are…I don’t ride my own bike, I never have, I don’t want to, and no, I am never bored!
I think Dale and I have figured out our roles and have this riding thing down to a science now. Dale gets to do what he loves…the planning, the driving, the bike care, and I get to do what I love…the riding, the relaxing, the enjoying the scenery, and the documenting/photography. Dale can and does sit for hours at night looking at maps, clicking and tapping on his computer, mapping and remapping, searching for the perfect routes. That is not something I enjoy. Maintenance on the bike? Forget it! He is even out in the garage in the cold of winter working on improvements, changes, ideas. All I care about is that the bike is safe and running well. And the driving? He can have it! I want to look, to enjoy the view on all sides, to be the one to spot the deer or eagle, to remind him when he has missed a turn, or perhaps an occasional stop sign! To make sure we have the gear along that we need and the perfect picnic packed. I am happy to make the arrangements so that we can be away…book the hotel rooms, make the dog’s reservation in the kennel, stop the mail, etc. But once we are on the road it is my time to relax, lean into the turns, and be free.
The best purchase that Dale and I made is our communication device. Prior to that there was a lot of pointing, gesturing, shouting at each other. Now we can chat away, point things out to each other, ask each other questions, and enjoy the ride together. It has really changed the experience for both of us and it is so much more fun. I really think it is a necessity if you intend to ride 2 up. Check our product review section soon for a review of the device we use.
I read an article recently listing the top 10 tips for riding with a passenger. Some points were valid, such as making sure the passenger wears protective clothing just as the driver does, and remember braking and acceleration are different with the weight of 2 people. Anyone who rides 2 up knows there are occasional helmet bumps because of short stops or fast accelerations. Also valid were protocols for the passenger for mounting and dismounting in order to avoid tipping the bike over and reminding them to avoid burning themselves on the exhaust. But the strangest one to me, and the one they stressed the most, was that the driver must remember that the passenger is scared (they actually said terrified) and may not act rationally. Really? I can honestly say, I do not ride behind Dale in terror, ever! Have we had a few scary moments? A few intense experiences? Of course. But the idea that as a passenger you give up all control and that is scary makes me think that the author of that article either never rode as a passenger himself or had no faith or trust in his driver if he had. It made me realize that this may be the most important part of riding 2 up and I never even thought of it until I read that article. Trust. I have always had complete trust in Dale. In his riding abilities, in his desire to bring us home safely from every ride, in his over-preparedness that I sometimes give him crap about. So thank you Dale, because of all of that, there is nothing scary about being a passenger on your bike. In fact, I think it’s a privilege that I get to go along for the ride!
For me, there is nothing like the freedom I experience on the back of the bike. Problems melt away, I feel calm and relaxed, I become one with my surroundings. Every time we ride I feel closer to Dale, nature, serenity and even God than I do at most other times in my life. So, that’s my take on being a passenger. I will try not to be offended when people ask why I don’t want my own bike. I think they don’t know what they are missing. And when all is said and done, I am left with just one question…when do we leave?