When I first started riding on the back of Dave's bike he always told me what a good passenger I was. He said he usually forgot I was on the back, which sometimes was apparent by the way he rode. So when I first started learning to ride my own I wondered about how that would affect me as a passenger. At first I thought it was making me a better passenger. I started understanding more why he did some of the things he did. I started to anticipate certain situations, and it especially helped when riding in a group because I became aware of possible hazards that I could point out to riders behind us.
Now I've been riding my own for about a year and a half, and have only ridden on back with Dave a handful of times. Saturday we went out for a short and sweet ride with a couple who we have recently become friends with, thanks to the friendship of our two boys. I wasn't feeling very good, but I still wanted to go out, so I decided I would ride with Dave. I started realizing that maybe riding my own didn't make me such a good passenger. Once you are able to be in control of something, it's kind of hard to give that up. I found myself trying to help Dave control the bike, which I'm sure made things difficult for him. I kept telling myself to relax and go with it, just like I had done for so long all those times I had ridden with him, but it was really hard.
I don't know if anyone else has this problem, or if it's just another area in my life where I'm over thinking things. But in my conclusion, in my case, I feel like riding my own has made me a worse passenger. With that being said, I guess it's just something I'll have to deal with on those rare occasions when I ride on the back, and remember that being in control is one of the things I love about riding my own. If I have to choose between being a good passenger and a good operator, I think the obvious choice is being a good operator.