Reflections from the Backside of a Bike

Written By

22 Apr 2011

Editor’s Note: We asked Ann Altieri, Mustang’s marketing coordinator, to give us a first-person account of what it’s like to ride in the passenger seat of a motorcycle.  Below, she describes the attributes — and disadvantages — of being the person behind the person behind the handlebars. Here are her thoughts on playing second fiddle on the seating chart:

Reflections from the Backside of a Bike
By Ann Altieri, Marketing Coordinator – Mustang Motorcycle Seats

Ann with her driver, Randy.

When it comes to road trips on a motorcycle, the glory goes to the rider. Let’s face it. Even when viewed from a distance, the passenger on a motorcycle appears to be an afterthought. Excess baggage. Extra weight.

Well, I’m here to tell you that I’m one of those people who prefer the perspective from the passenger seat, because we definitely have a different view of things (literally) when it comes to the best place to be on the bike. There are plenty of advantages to bringing up the rear, and not the least of these is fewer bugs in your teeth.

In fact, having a rider right in front of you deflects more than insects. If the person behind the handlebars is a significant other or even more special, there’s the closeness and warmth of wrapping your arms around him/her. And if it’s a buddy doing the driving, you’ve got an instant windbreak — even at arm’s length.

Let’s not forget the views afforded from the passenger position. Outside of directly in front of you, the world is your oyster. Unlike your two-wheeling chauffeur, you’re allowed to take your eyes off the road. You’ve got unobstructed views from both sides, and the rear also, if you’re willing to toggle your position around a bit and turn your head.

And being out in the open, there’s really nothing between you and what you’re looking at but open space. No dirty windows, no stickers, no doors or even floorboards. It’s practically like flying. And the wind in your face keeps you alert and awake to enjoy the scenery and ride.

Communicating with your driver is difficult — and unsafe in most instances. But with a pair of headsets, you can chat up a storm, direct attention to points of interest or indicate your need for a restroom stop.

When you think about it, there’s no end to the things you can do from the passenger seat of a motorcycle. Consider these: You can daydream; work out personal or work issues in your head; play License Plates or  Slug Bug; scout out great eateries for a lunch break; and help your partner lean into the curves like you’re on a slalom course.

Of course, there are drawbacks to being a passenger, including being constantly on the alert for four-wheelers who are apparently unaware that you don’t share the same protective wall of steel on the road that they do. These same folks pull into traffic in front of you, follow dangerously close behind you, or pass you within kicking range of your legs.

Then there are the deep ruts in the road that, with a direct hit, can feel like a body slam. Getting caught in torrential downpours unprepared is an experience you can do without. Not to mention roads not clear of winter snow sand that creates a hazard when braking suddenly. And city traffic is never something to look forward to, especially when you can’t find a way around it.

The worse disappointment, of course, is when the ride comes to an end and you’re staring another workweek straight in the face. But at least with the Mustang seat on our bike, I know that I’ll be able to step off the motorcycle and not experience the painful cramping and stiff legs that usually accompany a long bike ride. I’m able to walk as well at the end of a ride as I did in the beginning.

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