Apr 4, 2006

Feet first

I spotted a number of people fumbling through slow traffic today, feet dangling off the pegs, paddling away like constipated ducks, with their motorcycles, usually laden with wife and children flopping this was and that. So I thought I'd put down my thoughts on when it is okay to have your feet off the pegs.

In motion, it is never okay to have your feet off the pegs. In corners, a sign of a good, thinking rider is that s/he tucks the feet in over the pegs and hugs the heel plate (or equivalent) with the heel. This ensures that a mid-corner stone, bump, a close kerb and the like cannot snag/snap off the exposed toes. I've heard a couple of stories about this, and it's painful. So don't try it. On the straight and narrow, I like to keep my feet above the pegs unless I need to cover the brake pedal or gearshifter for emergency braking or an upcoming shift. Even then, I keep my foot above the shifter until I shift and not below it waiting to snag the next gear.

At very low speeds, feet on the pegs, normally - arch area on the peg is a good stance. The longer you keep those heavy lumps of muscle and bone in check, the more balance your bike will have. I have tried it and on clean, grippy surfaces, you can actually come to a halt (using the rear brake alone right at the end with nary a wobble to upset the bike) and then put your feet down. This also happens to look very cool, especially if you're blipping shifts down the box (you do blip when you're downshifting, right?).

In tight, slow traffic, when filtering is another good time to keep them feet up. They will improve your balance and reduce the chances of your flesh getting caught in car bumpers, fenders and those sort of hazards. Try this and you will find that you can more or less hold a straight line at really low speeds and calmly thrum past parked queues of cars at speeds as low as 2-3 kph. Again, this has the added side-effect of making you look highly skilled and very experienced.

Perhaps the only good time to get your feet down is at a complete standstill. 'nuff said.

1 comment:

vijayakumar said...

Hi

I used to read your blog... I'm working as a data entry operator, and planning to buy a bike (splendor or cd-100).. Still I'm clueless how to use the gears and clutch effectively... can you help me out... I'm planning to buy a bike and then learning driving it....

regards
vijay

bangalore