I’ve been riding with my husband, Pat Mamon, since early 2015. And when I started riding on my own motorbike some two months ago, I’ve often been asked by friends and fellow riders the same question again and again: How I find solo riding compared to back riding.
Most of the differences are pretty obvious. When I do solo rides, I have full control of my motorbike, although on these occasions I have to manage riding on my own as compared to worrying about so many things when Pat and I were on just one motorcycle. My back rider concerns were mounting and dismounting from my husband’s bike and making sure that I don’t move around too much when behind him. It is also important that my body position conforms with his riding style.
But riding solo on my Ducati Scrambler 803cc, I now have to be aware of basic safety issues like signaling at every turn, keeping track of the gear level, and, of course, focusing on the road and other traffic conditions and hazards. I have to consider parking the motorcycle in the proper way so I won’t be struggling moving it out of a tight spot or an inclined road as I leave a place.
I learned all of these while observing Pat’s riding techniques when we ride together. My husband’s encouragement and support of my riding on my own has helped a lot as far as the area of confidence in riding solo is concerned.
Through our helmet intercom system, he guides me through dreadful traffic situations and gives me ‘tips and tricks’ on maneuvering my bike on challenging road and weather conditions, mostly on weekend rides. I felt secure when Pat communicates with me while riding because he never fails to give me not only words of encouragement, but praises when I do things right. It goes with occasional sermons, too, when I don’t follow safety rules.
All of these boost my confidence and calm my nerves. I believe that a nervous rider is more dangerous than any other motorcyclist out there.
On the other hand, the two things I miss most about back riding with my husband are being physically close to him during our solo rides, and being able to take in all the beautiful scenery we’ve visited in the past. As a back rider, I could afford to just whip out my phone and take two or three photos. As a solo rider, I have to remain content with a ‘ride-by’ memory of the places. But when the view is exceptionally breathtaking, I request that we stop so I can capture breathtaking tourist spots with my smartphone camera.
When I took my riding lessons, my instructors always say that they could teach us everything we need to know on motorcycle safety. At the end of the day, we realize that experience is still the best teacher.
As my husband’s back rider and now his co-rider, I fully agree with that. Although I really enjoy riding on my own and the challenges that come with it, I know I’ll still hanker to back ride with my husband from time to time.
After all, that’s where it all began. His love for riding has officially rubbed off on me.