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How To Ride A Motorcycle: A Pillion’s POV

Earlier this month, I was opportune to take the new Kawasaki Versys 300 to my nearest hill station, Lonavla. The ride is defined by hairpin turns and beautiful boulevards. A trip that I was craving after a rough week.

However, I was not alone. One of my fellow riders, and a good friend, Neil said that he would accompany me. I marked it in my personal diary as my first ride with a pillion on an ADV. The Versys put up a good fight against the steep slopes and deadly turns with ready-t0-push power at the brim of the throttle. But you need to read a different textbook when you’re riding with a pillion.

So here are some pointers that a pillion has to keep in mind before getting on a bike.

Here’s How to Ride a Motorcycle


Hugs are not weird if your life depends on it. We as riders love hugs, only because it gives a better understanding of the pillion of our movements. However, a grip too tight or too loose can both be obstructive. The pillion is expected to hug the pillion somewhere between ‘hover hands’ and ‘death grip’. This becomes crucial on a small bike with high power where a pillion can upset the balance and act as an unpredictable counterweight.

It goes without saying, unpredictable is no good, especially during a curve. A rider’s focus on the turn is not the only thing that matters when riding with a pillion. Personally, I would like my pillion to look into the curve where the bike is headed.

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Pulling your arms around is a signal

Pulling the passenger’s hand around is a subtle invitation to be a part of the next dangerous thing that the rider is about to do. It can vary from downshifting and pulling a wheelie or nose-diving into a corner. However, it is the pillion’s responsibility to dial their senses to 11 and analyse the situation accordingly.

Grab Bars

Grab bars are meant for the pillion to grip on to something during the ride. However, many of the riders would prefer if their pillion leave the grab rail untouched. Grab bars are usually found below the thighs of the pillion or at the behind. In these positions, the pillion will most likely roll off the bike when the rider launches the bike into hyperspeed. Hence, it is better to hold the rider instead of the grab bars.


Burning your shoes

The foot-peg on a motorcycle is not primarily built for comfort. However, the pillion is expected to use one. Being too tall or too short does not justify reasons to rest your foot on the exhaust. The hot pipe might not only burn your shoe but also make it difficult to get the rubber of the exhaust. The same goes during mounting and dismounting from a bike. While getting down on the right of the bike a pillion should make sure that he/she steers off clear of the pipes.


Braking calls for a different position during riding. High speeds on a bike are always coupled with hard braking and bashing your chest into the rider’s back will only add to the unpredictable weight on the rider. Personally, I would prefer my pillion to balance themselves by using the tank. This puts less weight on me at the same time being least intrusive.

Read More: Why Riding In The Himalayas Is So Different From Riding In The Rest Of India

Packing The Perfect Medical Kit For Your Motorcycle Trip

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nash tupil

On my bucket list, was an himalayan motorbike tour. My wish was fulfilled through Red Panda - and I had an adventure of a life time. Very experienced lead and sweep drivers, with back up 4 wheeled vehicle for any emergency. Curated stays in relatively unknown, spartan but hygienic and comfortable places. Loved staying inside a plastic tent and also Bamboo house. Very well done by our Captain Balaji!! Thank you.

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Loknath Rath

A leap of faith was what it was.. I had not ridden a bike for last 25 years and this hum drum of a covid lockdown was wearing me down. So when Bala sent an WA invitation to ride with him for 8 days of #khukriride, it ignited a spark (pun intended).Those 8 days in Jan 2021 spent riding with Bala & Jojo across NE himalayas were full of thrill, splendor, captivating & enervating. Meticulous planning right from bike selection to route planning, excellent homestays interspersed with local knowledge and intel made this ride a memorable one. I would strongly recommend this ride to anyone who has some interest in riding and adventure. Am sure if I can do it at my age..anyone can. My best wishes to Bala & his team at #redpandaadventures. You are helping many arm chair enthusiasts like me realise a new meaning of life.

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arvind kittur

Red Panda Adventures, Thank you very much for giving me an experience of a life time. The entire expedition as I would like to call it was well managed with a lot of passion, enthusiasm and most importantly servicing the smallest need of every participant. Bala ji is a very knowledgeable, kind hearted and a humble person and an excellent host and a great sport, am sure he misses the “Tawang special” we gave him. Big thank you to Hrushikesh for having my back and making sure I completed every obstacle on my way, and not to forget Lama ji a wonderful person with such positive energy. A big shout out to all the people who took care of us in a very special way at all the Home stays. Highly highly recommend Red Panda Adventures

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What a great experience it's been renting a motorcycle from Red Panda. Inspite of the fact that I'd only signed up for renting a motorcycle, these guys went all out helping me plan the entire ride. Not just that, they were only a call away throughout the 20 days of my trip, helping me sort the minor troubles I faced with the motorcycle while on the road. For anyone who's planning to travel the northeast region of India, I absolutely and wholeheartedly recommend renting a motorcycle/signing up for an organised motorcycle tour with these guys. Thank you so much Bala & team for helping me plan a ride I'm gonna cherish for the rest of my life. Cheers

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