How do you feel about being a passenger on a motorcycle? Have you done it before, or have you always ridden your own? Just like so many things in the motorcycle world, opinions on this subject are many and varied. In her most recent video, motovlogger Amanda Zito (of As the Magpie Flies) shared a story about how riding as a passenger with her grandfather ultimately helped to shape her feelings about riding her own bike. 

While some of you reading this may have grown up in a motorcycling family, and had some adult or another in your life stick you on a bike with them when you were a small child, that’s not an experience that I had. Zito’s story is a good example of how, even if you absolutely adore the person that you’re riding pillion with, you may still come away from the experience totally determined to ride your own. 

Depending on the bike and how its seating is configured, maybe you’ll discover that you really hate how high up the pillion seat has you sitting. Maybe you won’t feel great about climbing around behind the person you’re riding with, or maybe you won’t like how you’re supposed to secure yourself on the back so you don’t fall off. That’s less of an issue with touring machines that have sizeable back and armrests, but maybe you’ll have different comfort issues (either physical or psychological) there, as well. 

Or, maybe like Zito, you’ll have one or more unfortunate memories of first having nightmares about falling over in the passenger seat on someone else’s bike, and then actually having that experience in real life. Mistakes happen, even with people you love—after all, we’re only human. Still, the feeling of not being in control can be a major deal-breaker for some people—as Zito relates that it was for her. 

That’s of course not meant to imply that you’re a perfect rider and you’ll never make mistakes—because again, we’re all human, and of course we do dumb stuff from time to time. For example, have you ever made the mistake of riding off with your side stand down? Even if you only did it once, you probably learned pretty quickly that it’s not a mistake you want to make. However, the fact that you’re the one who made that mistake, and that you weren’t a passenger on that bike with someone else making that mistake (and making you feel all kinds of anxiety on the back) probably made a huge difference in your personal stress levels. 

Making mistakes on a bike that you’re in control of feels much different than when you’re a passenger and the rider who’s in control has an uncertain moment. Even if you fall over (and yes, I’ve done it, and I’m pretty sure you probably have, too), at least you can usually go back over the events that led up to that fall in your mind, and you can analyze what caused the issue so you can fix it in the future. When someone else is in control of the bike, as a passenger, you are less connected to what’s going on—and if you generally hate not knowing why something happened, maybe that’s all the reason you need to want to ride your own. 

So, I’ll ask you again: How do you feel about being a passenger on a motorcycle? Do you love it? Do you hate it? Tell us your story in the comments. 

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