Pillions are the most wretched of creatures. It’s sometime hard to think of them as even being human, such is their abject wretchedness.
Male or female – I do not discriminate. They are all as one to me in terms of how I feel about my ride being compromised.
But the simple fact of the matter is the vast majority of pillions are females. So I have pillioned far more girls than boys.
Happily, and science will back me on this, girls are easier to pillion than boys. Girls tend to weigh less, and weight is a major factor in pillioning. The less you weigh, the less you screw with the bike’s handling. And if you’re a girl and on the back of my bike, I’m really only doing this for base sexual reasons. It is what it is and I am prepared to put up with it if it means your panties are on the floor that evening.
Boys who are being pillioned, for the most part, are usually also riders as well as being bigger than girls. And riders make garbage pillions. They know how this shit works. So if you’re a boy and you’re on the back of my bike, it’s only because not putting you there would have meant wild dogs would have eaten you when the sun set. And please don’t make me regret taking you by “helping” me ride.
Girls who don’t ride, on the other hand, usually have no idea how terrified they should be at any given time, and have no interest in critiquing the way you’re riding.
But it really is all about weight and mass. Pillion-terror, male or female, is just a given.
Let’s face it, depositing anything short of a 10kg bag on the pillion-seat is gonna change the dynamics of the bike. And a pillion, with his or her much higher mass location – all of which is above and behind the rear axle of the bike – just ruins the handling.
But we make it work because we either love you (as is the case with my beloved wife), want something from you (as was the case with the mad sluts I used to haul around in my youth), or can’t leave you stranded for the dogs to eat (as was the case with mates I have doubled).
So pillions are either on the back of your bike because they have no other choice – in which case their wretchedness is at a nuclear level – or they are there because they love you and you love them, and you carting them about the place on a bike that now handles like a filing cabinet in a flooded river , represents some kind of cutsie life-sharing bollocks for the both of you.
In which case your pillion is still cloaked in wretchedness which is only mildly tempered by her affection for you. And that affection is entirely dependent on so many factors, ie. It being a nice warm day, her not needing to go to the toilet, you not speeding like a madman, the police not pursuing you, the seat being comfortable, her boot-heels not melting on your exhaust pipe…and the list goes on. Her wretchedness is always only a bird-strike to the face away.
Of course, I understand many couples state they love going away together. They will tell everyone in ear-shot about this if you let them. They are lying, just like their happy-motorcycling-couple Instagram pictures are lying. That confected joy is a Potemkin village of bullshit.
She’s either going with him as a pillion because she doesn’t trust him, or she wants him to be miserable. And he’s only taking her because she controls the money, and she only let him buy the bike if he promised to take her everywhere with him.
In my case, my beloved wife knows full well I am a fey and cursed creature who is not to be trusted. I will speed, overtake on double yellows, consider any bike in front of me a challenge that needs to be passed and shamed, and all in the company of like-minded evil men with whom I associate. But I will also do this when I am alone. So she really is up against it.
So it’s fair to say that when she does come with me, I ride and behave very differently, and it is all about her, as it must be because she is precious cargo. And I know this too shall pass and things will go back to normal.
I have carted many pillions over the years, male and female, and while I have often not heard what they were saying due to how fast I was going, or how disinterested I was in what their views might have been, I have heard some of it.
And before you ask, the answer is “Fuck the fuck off”.
I shall never ever ever fit an intercom to my helmet and my pillion’s helmet. If I wanted to converse with my pillion, we would be in a car or having lunch. When I am riding, the passenger is best served by a vow of monastic silence. Do not distract the artist during the performance. This is the only and indeed optimum situation.
But life is not like that, and neither is pillioning someone. I am already discomfited because my bike no longer handles like it was meant to, and you jabbering at me only makes me hate you more.
So here’s a small selection of pillion utterances, and my responses. If the response is in brackets, then I was just thinking it and felt it wiser to keep my mouth shut. I will provide context when it’s needed, because that is sometimes important…
Girl pillion “Why are you riding so fast?”
Me: “This is not fast. I can show you fast.”
Girl pillion shortly thereafter: “Oh my fucking God! I feel sick, stop, fuck, please, no more, PLEASE!”
Girl pillion: “I need to go to the toilet.”
Me: “We just left the servo.”
Girl pillion: “The toilets were filthy.”
Me: “I’ll pull over just up ahead.”
Girl pillion: “There are no toilets here. What am I supposed to do?”
Me: “I’d be checking for snakes before pants-off committing, but you do you.”
Boy pillion: “I feel sick.”
Me: “You throw up on me I’ll kill you.”
Boy pillion: “I really feel fucking sick. I’m serious.”
Me: “I will really fucking kill you. I’m more serious than you.”
Boy pillion: “Why you riding so slow?”
(What, cunt? I’m going as hard as I can so this nightmare of you on the back can end sooner.)
Boy pillion: “Is there something wrong with the bike?”
(Yes, you’re sitting on the back, you mouthy fat sack of shit.)
Boy pillion: “Ouch! Why did you stop so suddenly? I smashed my face into the back of your helmet!”
Me: “Sorry, red light camera.”
Girl pillion: “Did you see that?”
Me: “Did I see what?”
Girl pillion: “That thing.”
Me: “What thing?”
Girl pillion: “Back there, that thing near the trees.”
Me: “What trees? There’s trees everywhere.”
Girl pillion: “Don’t yell at me!”
Girl pillion: “My shoes! You bastard! My shoes!”
I’d pulled over after winning an impromptu drag-race down George Street in the Sydney CBD, and saw that not only were my hot date’s strappy stilettos no longer on her feet, but her feet had been shredded by their departure. She seemed OK about that, but was really pissed her shoes where somewhere on the road behind us. Why she was wearing killer high heels and a short skirt on the back of the bike can be explained by the fact she was Polish and wanting to find a husband as soon as possible, and her strict parents would not countenance her going out with a motorcyclist, so she had to dress like a she wasn’t going out with a motorcyclist, and I would park my bike up the road when I came to pick her up. This problem was sorted that evening since she never went out with me again. In my defence, I did tell her not to put her feet down each time I stopped the first time we went riding. It’s possible she forgot.
Girl pillion: “How much further?”
Me: “To where?”
Girl pillion: “To where we’re going?”
Me: “Six hours…maybe seven.”
Girl pillion: “Why is it so far?”
Me: “It’s where they built the Gold Coast. I had nothing to do with that.”
Boy pillion: “What are you doing?”
Boy pillion: “You overcooked that corner heaps.”
Me: “Wasn’t heaps.”
Boy pillion: “Was bloody heaps!”
Me: “Why have you even opened your eyes? What did I tell you when you got on?”
Girl pillion: “Why are you stopping?”
Me: “It’s what the police want me to do.”
Girl pillion: “What do they want?”
Me: “They’ll tell me in a minute. Or you can ask them, if you like.”
Girl pillion: “Were you speeding?”
Me: “Matter for the magistrate to determine.”
Girl pillion: “Do they have one of them in the car?”
Boris is a writer who has contributed to many magazines and websites over the years, edited a couple of those things as well, and written a few books. But his most important contribution is pissing people off. He feels this is his calling in life and something he takes seriously. He also enjoys whiskey, whisky and the way girls dance on tables. And riding motorcycles. He's pretty keen on that, too.