Adventuring with your partner to fresh and sensational places sounds superbly romantic, but in reality it can be a tad different. On longer journeys, Alan and I are joined at the hip, figuratively speaking, for hours and hours every day, day after day, week after week.
Sometimes two-up doesn’t feel so romantic.
From all my years of pillion with Alan in Australia and Europe, three things have become clear when it comes to keeping our relationship on an even keel, through all the excitement and challenges.
- Choosing Your Rider
This one’s twofold …
Firstly, as pillions, we’re putting our lives in the hands of our riders, literally. They must have our safety as their priority, to build our sense of trust.
When Alan and I first met, riding together became something we loved. My trust in his riding grew quickly because he rode predictably to me, as a novice pillion. No sudden accelerations or braking and no tearing along like a scalded cat.
He constantly checked in to make sure I was ok and feeling comfortable and as a result, my confidence with my pillion skills grew.
If your rider is continually trying to be the next Rossi, you might want to reconsider your decision to be their pillion.
Inside joke: When in Morocco, we camped overnight in the Sahara and rode camels to and from our tent accommodation. Alan hung on for grim death to the metal T-bar of his camel’s saddle. “You’ve got to trust your camel,” I told him as I casually took pics of the sun setting over the dunes. It’s a pretty safe bet he’ll never go near another camel in his lifetime.
Moral of the story: It’s the same deal with riding pillion… trust your rider and your rider has to be trustworthy, for you to enjoy the ride.
Also, don’t try to tell your partner how to ride a camel, haha!
Secondly, do your visions match?
Do you both want to lean into twisties up and down mountain ranges or does one of you prefer cruising the highways?
Does one of you want to ride remote locations and free camp amongst beautiful nature for weeks at a time, while the other considers a hard roof, soft bed, hot shower and nearby restaurant to be must haves?
Are you both keen for day rides and does the idea of longer trips excite you both?
Being on the same page will open up the possibility of fantastical pleasures together.
- Be Organised
On-the-road frustrations are easily swerved by being organised.
- Know the route you’re planning to take.
- Book your accommodation ahead of time, so you’re not trudging around after a long day in the saddle, trying to find somewhere to sleep, as we did a few years ago in Tenterfield, NSW. We’d expected to effortlessly find a room for the night, only to find everything was booked out. Eventually we found a room, complete with an old sagging bed and a smokers’ area outside our window. Ugh.
- Have a packing list so you don’t leave something important at home. You can download our free packing list.
- Get a good sleep the night before, in a non-saggy bed and avoid hangovers… being hangry is no one’s idea of a good time.
- Carry water and snacks in case you’re unexpectedly held up.
- Stop regularly to stretch, refuel and rehydrate yourself and to get your blood circulating.
Things don’t always go to plan; if you can both take hiccups in your stride, be flexible and go with the flow, you’ll have breathtaking adventures, no matter what happens.
- Patience and Respect
Alan and I have had astounding journeys together over the past 10 plus years, with minimal disagreements. There’s no doubt patience and respect have gone a long way towards keeping our relationship strong.
There’s been the occasional moment when I’ve felt impatient or annoyed though, usually when he doesn’t mind-read me. Over time, I’ve realised that my tolerance levels plummet when I’m tired, hot, cold or hungry.
So now, before I blurt something out that might be inconsiderate or hurtful, I do a quick mind-check to see if my own discomfort is contributing to how I feel towards Alan.
I’ve learned it works better if I breathe deeply, think through what I need to say, then choose the best time to say it. Sometimes this is the next day, after a good sleep, when we’re both comfortable and in a relaxed state.
Most problems are small problems easily solved by expressing them patiently and respectfully.
So if you want your relationship to last longer than a new set of tyres, consider these tips when you’re planning your next two-up adventure.
P.S. Laughter and good sex also help.
By Bridget Hallam
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