There was something about being a kid and riding double on a bike. I can still feel the other kid between my legs as I grip with my thighs and try to decide where to put my hands. Shoulders? Behind me under the seat? Certainly never around the belly.
Likewise, I will never forget the feeling of having a kid behind me. Knowing he is trying to decide where to put his hands (seldom her hands, sadly). Hoping he is paying attention.
Two kids, you had to move as one. Whether you were the rider or the passenger, you couldn’t do your own thing. You couldn’t get too distracted or you would both go down. No one teaches you how to be a passenger on a bicycle, like they teach you to ride it. But you learn anyway, on your own.
As we got older and still rode double, the passenger moved to the handlebars. Less body contact, important to teenage boys, although it was harder to steer or see. Smoking Marlboros, riding buzzed.
Riding double, it stops eventually. I did it with my kids later, but it was different. I was in charge. Back then it was adventure, trust, teamwork, and danger, all in one trip to 7-Eleven.