The PJ Guide to Pillions
You know how it is when you eye up a fresh pillion, intending to
indulge in consenting motorcycling with them - you wonder what it'll be
like, how you'll cope with that special close contact, whether you'll
enjoy it, whether they'll respect you afterwards. All too often your
enthusiasm gets the better of you when you go for it, and your pillion
slaps you, shrieking "I'm not that kind of pillion!", and it seems that
the problem is really not knowing what kind of pillion you actually are
facing - well, to help you out in this matter, here's the PJ Guide to
FB, aka Fat Bastard, sits like a sack of potatoes on your
overstressed bike. Helps you pull monster wheelies though, even on
C90's. But watch out you don't get pulled off too. If you do get pulled
off, though, you get a guaranteed soft landing, and the pleasure of
flattening the FB.
Delightful. You don't notice they're there. Occasionally pound at
your back when you're really enjoying yourself 'cos you've forgotten
they're there. Worth checking to see if they're still there now and
then; you may have dropped them at the lights. The
looking-over-the-shoulder routine you're taught to have as a reflex
proves invaluable with these pillions.
These pillions are the best. They remain frozen with fear and you
forget they're there. Take a crowbar with you to prise them off the seat
These are a challenge. Unlike Petrified, Terrified moves all over
the place, counter-leaning in corners, clenching their buttocks and
squirming on their seat as you filter through traffic, emitting pitiful
cries of unhappiness as you blast off from the lights... truly annoying.
Cure by applying more terror until they become Petrified.
Can't hear/understand a word this pillion says. Impossible to swap
witty remarks with, especially in the cut-and-thrust of London traffic.
Eg: "I cannaestrudelfitzlochgommrag." "What?" "I
cannaestrudelfitzlochgommrag." "Er...what?" "I
CANNAESTRUDELFITZLOCHGOMMRAG." "Hunh?" "I CANNAESTRUDELFITZLOCHGOMMRAG."
"What? Oh soddit, the lights have changed" (repeat at every set of
Not impressed by the smoothest corners, the beefiest blast offs, the
wildest of wheelies and the most perceptive, prescient and pre-emptive
of roadcraft; this pillion knows no fear either. Riders are mystified by
this one, though theories abound: Possibly a despatch rider's panniers
in a previous life. Possibly plays Russian Roulette in spare time.
Possibly a follower of the Roger Moore school of method acting. Check
pulse - possibly dead - to avoid confusing with the Petrified pillion.
Like Indifferent, but with the reason that this pillion is dozing
off. Occasionally wakes up with a sudden movement or falls off. Cure
with coffee, or letting them fall off. Or try and be less enthusiastic
in bed the night before with your pillion, if that's the cause.
Type A: Non-vocal
Usually people with their own bike who're scrounging a lift off you.
They send useful feedback about your riding style, mostly non-verbal
(eg clutching you really hard just when you're really enjoying a
Warning: If this pillion expects you to take a turning you will find
your bike is heading that way regardless of your own wishes, just
because the pillion has leant that way. Very disconcerting.
Type B: Vocal
Gives a running commentary of everybody and everything on the road -
eg: "Bastard! Try using your indicators, fat-arse Jaguar!", "Leaf
litter!", "Golly, what a pothole!" "AGGH! Volvo Battlecruiser in sight!"
Takes while to get rid of the feeling that your mind has developed an
echo. Mildly disconcerting, then you get used to it.
No-Way-Am-I-Gay (The Jason Syndrome)
If the pilot's a bloke, and the pillion is too, this personality
trait sometimes shows up in the pillion: The pillion tries perching as
far away from the bloke in front as is feasible, keeping hands off the
pilot. No-Way-Am-I-Gay ocassionally falls off under acceleration, but
prefers that to being thought gay. Usually Italian or Greek. Will kick
your head in if you tell him he's insecure (even though you only meant
he'll find it hard to stay on).
Watch out when accelerating:
- For wheelies
- For feet in the armpits as the pillion heroically attempts to stay
on without doing anything so poofy as to grab on to the bloke in front.
Amuses himself (rarely herself) by witty little jokes designed to
endear himself to other road users.
Typical Joker actions:
Incurable, but fortunately rare (doesn't live long).
- With cigarette in hand, to open-top car driver while cruising
along: "scuse me mate, you got a light?"
- To open-top car driver who has just refused the Joker's request for
a light, and mumbled "Don't be stupid, you'll kill yourself": "No,
'salright mate, honest. I'm down to five a day now!"
- To car driver with smokey exhaust: "Your car's belching out a lot
of smoke." Followed by long belch through car window.
- At the lights next to a driver who's been on the car phone: "Ah, a
telephone box!" Followed by urinating into car.
Well, this guide has now covered the main categories of pillion -
learn from it, and may you and your pillion be blessed with many, many
happy miles together!
© Pawan Jaitly, Jan 1993.
(Published in the UBG around that time)