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First before I address this question, a little history. I have been riding since 1999 (currently 51 years young) and currently have two bikes a Kaw 900 and 1500. I have been both a passenger and rider; enjoy being the rider best. I understand your partner wanting to keep an eye on you but unintentionally he may be pushing you and this can make the ride feel more like work. My husband wants to keep an eye on me even after all this time, just shows he loves you and wants to protect. Explain that by following behind him that you can follow his "line" through turns, he can warn you of obstacles and thus letting you take the ride at your pace not feeling pushed or that he might be grading your ride.

Yvette Wheeler
Savannah, GA
Thursday, November 10, 2016
I have been riding on and off for 30 years. During one of my off times my fiance told me she always wanted to learn to ride. We picked up a couple of Ninja 250s and away we went. I insisted she get her license though a motorcycle safety course, ad she did. We had the same problem though, she hated riding in front of me for the same reasons you stated. I hated riding in front of her because I couldn't see her. I honestly don't know who was more nervous me or her. Call it a "Mother Hen Syndrome."

My biggest problem was that I was spending way too much time watching my mirrors and not paying attention to the road ahead, which created a dangerous situation for both of us. I also had a hard time judging what a good pace for her was. I would hate for her to dump it in a corner that was too fast for her ability so we usually wound up going too slow. Then, "WE FOUND THE SOLUTION."

Bluetooth helmet communication. Being able to talk to each other while riding was like turning on a light switch in a dark room. Whether teaching or learning anything, communication is key. It eliminates the fear of the unknown. I ride front now and tell her about the pothole, gravel, guy on his cell not paying attention, etc. She tells me how she did in the last turn, if she got stuck at an intersection, or just "hey look at the pretty sunset." I can't say enough about how it has changed the way we ride.

We purchased them online.The brand name is Sena. They were about 250 for a two pack and very easy to install. They last all day and I even installed 12v outlets on the bikes in case we need to recharge them.

She also rides in front in areas she is familiar with and is much more comfortable doing so with me being able to coach from the rear. She is no longer wondering what I am thinking, she knows then and there.

Chris
Hopatcong, NJ
Sunday, February 15, 2015
Editor Response
Thanks for sharing your solution. For those readers interested, we've reviewed a leading helmet communication system, Cardo Scala Rider that can be read here.
Genevieve Schmitt, Editor
I got my license in July, so I know exactly what you're talking about. My husband also wanted me to ride in front. I hated it.

Being a newbie meant right turns were hair raising enough without worrying about cutting off my husband. I wasn't great at holding my line and I knew my husband was to my right and a length back. It just didn't work for me. It made me feel pressured and it distracted me.

Finally, I insisted that I ride in back... and what a difference! I learned far riding behind experienced riders than I did riding in front. I got to watch everything they did and emulate them.

I'm so glad that I started riding in the back, riding in the front was making it not as enjoyable.

So, I would say while riding in the front is a great idea, it doesn't work for everybody. Do what works for you.

Bobbi
Santee, CA
Tuesday, January 13, 2015
There is benefit to both leading and following for both you and your riding companions. I would encourage you to try to experience both whenever possible. Here's why.

If you lead, you can set a pace that's comfortable for you, choose where to turn or stop, etc. The more experienced rider behind you can provide a buffer between you and other traffic, observe your riding and reinforce what you've learned in a rider safety course. It's both easier and harder for the experienced rider as well. Easier in that they're not distracted by trying to adjust their riding to your comfort level by watching you through mirrors, and harder in that new riders can sometimes be more unpredictable or panic in new or challenging traffic situations. You may notice that they give you a little more space than they might a more experienced rider to allow more reaction time.

If you follow, you benefit by observing how an experienced rider approaches corners, positions themselves in the lanes, and creates space between themselves and other vehicles. Watch what line they choose through a corner, where they use brakes, etc. Hopefully your riding companion leads with a good example and is comfortable coaching you to become the best rider you can be. Your riding companion is concerned with your safety and making sure you have as much fun as possible. Choose another riding pal if you're not comfortable with the feedback you're receiving.

The more experienced rider is responsible for adjusting to less experienced riders. Every rider is responsible for riding their own ride. If you feel you're riding faster than you're comfortable with - just slow down. Your companion should adjust. Don't feed pressured to ride faster or more aggressively than you're comfortable with - that's often when things can go wrong.

Don't be afraid to ask questions about things you experienced with your riding partners. They know you're eager to learn and most are happy to answer questions.

Most of all have fun! Try to ride with as many different riders as you can. You'll learn something from each of them (good or bad).

Tracy
Dimondale, MI
Sunday, December 21, 2014
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