If you’ve ever been with someone who owns a vehicle, the passenger seat automatically becomes your throne. For car owners, the shotgun seat is where the driver’s wife or girlfriend is always found. It’s the same for motorcycle riders–the space on their back is reserved only for their significant others. These passengers have a special term for them—OBR.
So, what does OBR mean?
OBR or official back ride is a slang in motorcycle lingo that riders have come up with to pertain to their wives, girlfriends, or partners and it’s so much better than just the word angkas. You see, official back rides are different from normal back rides. The term back ride is reserved for colleagues, families, and tropas; but OBR? That’s reserved only for you.
Just like how passengers in the shotgun seat of a car are responsible for lively music and accurate directions, the OBR has their fair share of passenger duties as well. You see, your rider already has enough on their plate as they are responsible for maneuvering the motorcycle, keeping their eyes on the road, driving to the destination, and keeping both of you safe from accidents. On top of that, they are liable for anything that happens to you.
As an official back ride, keeping your rider company is not your only job. You’re also supposed to add to the riding experience by making it safe and enjoyable for both of you. We’ve gathered some tips and reminders that will help you be the best OBR out there!
1. Always, always, always wear appropriate riding apparel.
That includes a helmet, thick jacket, sturdy denim pants, and riding boots. You might think that it’s a little too far-fetched to wear apparel that is specifically made for riding, but these clothes shield you against harsh winds, too much exposure to sunlight, and can protect you from cuts and scrapes in the event of a collision.
It’s best to invest in a high-quality helmet that is made from shatterproof material, and preferably one that has dual-visor technologies. As for the apparel, a good leather jacket and leather pants can give you maximum protection. If leather is not your style, denim is a good alternative. If you also don’t own a pair of riding boots, anything that covers your ankle is good enough!
If you also have long hair, it’s best that you tie it up so it doesn’t obscure your view. It’s also more comfortable that way, trust me.
RULE OF THUMB: If you don’t have your own protective riding gear, it’s best to not join the ride at all.
2. Don’t make unnecessary movements.
Sitting still for long periods can get a little uncomfortable; some motorcycle passengers have even reported experiencing cramping and itchiness during long rides. It’s a tough game of abstinence but it’s important to avoid creating unnecessary and unexpected movements. This may cause your rider to lose balance and possibly tip the vehicle.
If you’re starting to get uncomfortable, the best course of action is communicating with your driver that you need to take a short break.
3. Sit close to your driver.
Doing so would allow you to sync yourself to your driver’s body language. It may seem odd at first, but if you think about it, it is essential to a safe and enjoyable ride. To make it clearer, when your driver leans left, you should follow suit. Not too much, though, that it may cause your vehicle to tip. Learning your driver’s body language may get tricky at the start, but it’ll be a breeze once you get the hang of it.
Another tip is that you should never hold onto your driver’s shoulders when riding: it doesn’t give a secure hold to the passenger, and it might cause your driver to lose mobility of their arms and shoulders, which they use to maneuver the vehicle.
4. Help your driver with directions.
Even if your driver seems to know where you’re going, it doesn’t hurt to help them with directions. Since they’re supposed to be focused on the road and keeping you both safe, they might sometimes miss a turn every now and then. You can help by letting them know it’s time to take a right turn or left, especially if the destination is somewhere you’re familiar with as well.
5. Be on the lookout for danger.
As a passenger, one of your duties is to be on the lookout for danger. The road and the vehicle are your driver’s top priority, while you’re supposed to let them know if something out of their immediate view is going to interrupt your ride. You should also be on the lookout for pedestrians, school zones, traffic lights, speeding cars, etc.
Before the ride, you can discuss hand signals with your driver. It could be a thumb pointing to the right to signal a turn or a swirling motion of your hand to drive faster or slower. It might also help to learn hand signals that your fellow riders are familiar with.
RULE OF THUMB: Keep your hand gestures simple and uncomplicated.
6. Communicate with your rider.
The last thing a driver wants is for their passenger to feel uncomfortable during the ride. After all, not everything is about the destination! Make sure that the journey is enjoyable by communicating with them before, during (not too much that they’ll get distracted, though!), and after the ride! Doing so provides both the driver and passenger an excellent riding experience that may lead to more adventures with them.
It would also help to let your rider know your fears before the ride so they can help ease your mind! It’s also important to communicate if you’re uncomfortable with the rider himself. Riding is an experience that both rider and passenger should find pleasurable. If the passenger is not comfortable with the rider, they should communicate their reservations with the driver.
Now that you’ve gained the title of Official Back Ride and have learned the duties of a responsible motorcycle passenger, it’s time to put these words into practice! Ride on and stay safe!