Tips And Tricks For A Motorcycle Passenger

I have not always been the best at being a passenger on the bike. Trust me. There were certainly times I would get on and off so awkwardly and I would squirm around during the ride, shifting the weight, causing Lin some major stress. These things are all huge no's in sport bike world. I have really been perfecting my riding skills these last seven years because as a passenger on a bike, you carry just as much responsibility as the driver. And for the ladies out there that are scared to ride, I promise you this can be such a fun experience if you will just let yourself go there! Excited to share some tips and tricks with you here in just a bit. And for my ladies out there needing motorcycle packing tips, grab that here. And help with moto gear and travel essentials...I did so much research through trial and error and you can grab that info here

I absolutely love traveling the world on a sports bike. Like, it's seriously my favorite thing to do!!!!!!!!!!

I just came off of a fantastic repeat ride on the winding roads of the Mount Magazine Scenic Byway. Riding through the gorgeous Ozark National Forest is one of my favorites. Mount Magazine, officially named Magazine Mountain, is the highest mountain in the state of Arkansas. The mountain is a flat-topped plateau with a sandstone cap rimmed by precipitous rock cliffs. Two peaks are situated atop the plateau, Signal Hill, which reaches 2,753 feet (839 m), and Mossback Ridge, which reaches 2,700 feet (823 m) The 10-mile ride up AR 309 to Mount Magazine from Havana not only has switchbacks and tight curves, there’s also a huge elevation change as riders cruise up and over this wonderful geological feature.
AR 309 at Havana starts out at an elevation of about 380 feet. The first mile is fairly pedestrian, but it soon reveals its twisty nature. By the time the road crests at Mount Magazine, it has risen out of the Petit Jean Valley over 2,200 feet above Havana. The ride up the mountainside is full of hairpins and tight curves often running through tunnels of heavy foliage. From the peak, AR 309 continues winding back down to about 490 feet at Paris. Together, the total elevation change is over 4,300 feet. The state park atop Mount Magazine features an impressive lodge and cabins with accommodations as magnificent as the scenic views. The other three legs of this loop are nice routes through the Arkansas River Valley and the Petit Jean Valley. These roads are scenic and run through a combination of farms and woodlands. While not as technically challenging, this stretch is pleasant and relaxing. We had a freakin' blast to and from Hot Springs on this ride. (We are calling it the last ride of the season here in Oklahoma...my word, it got so hot in Arkansas yesterday) 

We also just rode the iconic Pig Trail again too! Hands down, one of the most scenic spots in the state. The Pig Trail was recently named the top motorcycle ride in the United States by USA Today Readers’ Choice poll. Starting in Clarksville, take US 64 to Altus. Drive through the Arkansas River Valley where rich soil lends itself to generations-old vineyards producing award-winning wines. Continue on to Ozark to start your journey on the world-renowned AR 23. Considered one of the top riding destinations in America, AR 23 runs from the Arkansas-Missouri border to US 71, south of Booneville. While the southern portion is a very nice ride, it’s the highway north of I-40 that is simply exhilarating. This is the location of one of the most renowned routes in the country – the Pig Trail. While the entire length of AR 23 is often referred to as the Pig Trail, it’s actually the 24-mile stretch from I-40 to Brashears – at the junction of AR 16 – that comprises the famous ride, which continues to rank among the best rides in the nation. There are two competing explanations for how the Pig Trail got its name. The first is that since this portion of AR 23 was part of a popular back-road route into Fayetteville for University of Arkansas Razorback football games, it was therefore dubbed the Pig Trail. The other explanation is simply that the road is as twisty as the tail of a wild hog.

Regardless, the Pig Trail has become synonymous with coiling pavement and breathtaking scenery, often running through deep tunnels of overhanging trees. The ride from Brashears through Huntsville to Eureka Springs is still very twisty and winds through beautiful landscapes. The flora along the entire route is lush and thick, and you’ll often run along ridges and beneath the cliffs of rugged Ozarks terrain

The Ozark Extension
Another option for this route is to take a side trip to Ozark. There are two ways to get there. Follow the route as instructed above, but take AR 215 off AR 23 between Ozark and Brashears. AR 215 is snakelike and runs alongside the wild Mulberry River. Or, you can take AR 103 from Clarksville to Oark, which is full of hairpin and tight curves, 25 mph switchbacks and stupendous scenery.

Oh em geeee....favorite!!!

TIPS AND TRICKS FOR THE PASSENGER...

  •  It is customary to get on or off the motorcycle from the left side. Always wait for the rider to tell you it's okay to mount or dismount. If you start to clamber on (or off) when the rider does not expect it, the sudden weight change on the motorcycle will be disconcerting, at best. You might pull the motorcycle over, a huge no-no. Here is the best way to get on a motorcycle and the method all adult passengers should use: extend your right leg over the seat and then slide gently up onto the seat. Put your feet on the footpegs and you are onboard! It is all a question of balance; the rider is not strong enough to force a big motorcycle to stay upright if you cause it to get out of balance. To dismount, just reverse the process you used to get on. With a little practice, getting on and off will become second nature.
  • Once you are on the motorcycle, plant your feet on the passenger footpegs and keep them there. You absolutely do not want to bring your foot into contact with the rear wheel, drive chain or belt, or the hot muffler. Never attempt to help the rider hold the bike upright when it is stopped. Keep your feet safe by keeping them on the foot pegs at all times. And you want a good comfy moto boot. 
  • Place your hands on the rider's hips. That is the best way to hold on to the rider and it keeps you in touch with the rider's movements. Keep your weight centered over the motorcycle. Try not to move around any more than is necessary, particularly when the motorcycle is stopped, as it affects the balance of the motorcycle. Once you get more comfortable and go on more and more rides, you can keep your hands on your passenger grips located on the side of where you are seated. I personally like having my own space on the bike and just let Lin do his thing. 
  • Motorcycles turn by leaning (banking like an airplane), not by steering like a car. Don't be alarmed when the motorcycle leans over to go around a corner. To position yourself perfectly for a turn, just look over the rider's shoulder in the direction of the turn. If the motorcycle is turning right, look over the rider's right shoulder; if it is turning left, look over the rider's left shoulder. Always do this, without fail. You don't have to do anything else; looking naturally over the rider's inside shoulder will automatically put your weight right where it belongs in a turn. Keep your body in line with the rider's body to prevent the motorcycle from leaning more than the rider intends. (When going straight, it doesn't matter which shoulder you look over.) Never lean out of a turn; you could cause an accident that way, which is another big no-no. I like to refer to this part like dancing. You sorta just find your rhythm together. I mirror everything Lin does on the bike and it makes the ride that much more enjoyable. 

  •  When the rider puts on the brakes it causes a forward weight transfer. If the rider is forced to break hard, as in an emergency, this forward weight transfer is very apparent; you will be forced against the rider, and you will start to slide forward on the seat. Don't panic. Try to keep back, away from the rider. Resist sliding forward by pressing your feet against the footpegs; use your thigh muscles to control your position on the seat. If you slide forward, you force the rider forward, reducing the rider's control over the motorcycle. It also moves the weight distribution of the motorcycle forward, reducing the weight on the rear tire and therefore the traction of the rear tire, making it more likely that the back tire will start to skid. Obviously, none of this is desirable. Concentrate on your core and use your thighs and try to avoid sliding forward. This is probably the hardest part but over time it will just come naturally. Ladies, you will get a work out! My legs and core are always sore after a long ride because I keep them engaged. 

  • You can be an active participant in the ride by staying alert and being prepared. Help the rider look for potential danger and be prepared to hang on and hold yourself back if you anticipate a need for sudden braking. Likewise, if the rider is forced to swerve the motorcycle to avoid a hazard in the road, you need to be prepared for the sudden lean and change of direction. You can also help the rider scan for animals that may run into the road. Dogs and deer are particularly unpredictable and you may see a deer on a hillside above the road, or a dog in somebody's front yard, before the rider. (After all, the rider is concentrating primarily on the road.) If you spot a hazard of any sort that you think the rider is unaware of, tap the rider on the appropriate shoulder and point at the hazard in a way that brings it to the rider's attention.

  • And communicate! Let your driver know when you are tired, uncomfortable, feeling scared, and have just reached your riding limit for the day. As fun as it, their are so many different variables. (weather, if you got sleep the night before, wind, etc) I sometimes get so relaxed on the bike that I can fall asleep so I need a coffee break. 

(Chuck Hawks is amazing ! I got my tips from him and just elaborated with my own experiences) 

#MakeLifeARide you dears!!!!

XOOXOXOOXO
SAM