Better Riding: Up on the pegs

Shubhabrata Marmar  | Updated: July 04, 2016, 02:08 PM IST

Bad roads and stretches with potholes are a reality we have to deal with, especially during and immediately after the rains. Fortunately, there's a nuance that makes it dead easy. When you were new to riding, I'm sure someone or the other told you to stand on the pegs - pedals if you're on a bicycle - to go over obstacles. It's what the dirt bike boys do all the time, and it's extremely useful when negotiating cratered stretches. The problem is that when you do this for the first time, it's scary because your control over the motorcycle weakens. The solution, as usual, is practice. Standing effectively adds a second set of shock absorbers, your legs, to the mix.


Learning curve

Start by standing on the pegs on a clear, unpotholed road. Just get used to feeling. Don't bother changing gear and braking until you're comfortable standing up. When standing up, your knees should be locked into the tank, you elbows and knees bent - they act as secondary shock absorbers and are crucial in your ability to control the motorcycle. Once you're comfortable with the stance, try braking - use both the rear and the front and I promise that initially this is extremely scary. You will get used to it, though, so don't worry. Similarly, see how the motorcycle feels when you accelerate. In most cases, you will want to accelerate gently over the stretch. Once you're ready, start working the body.

In most cases, you want to enter the stretch slow and build speed gently to keep the front suspension unloaded. To help, stick your bum out as far back as you can. This further unloads the front. The more the front suspension extends, the smoother the traverse will feel. The motorcycle will want to feel a bit loose - this is normal and a little 'wandering' is no cause for concern. Remember two things - the arms and knees shouldn't straighten out - then you gain no benefit from this exercise. Second, you can actually learn to change direction and speed while standing pretty quickly - practice this. Then you can actually ride these stretches even smoother because you can pick your route through the stretch. Finally, when you're standing you can't see your mirrors, so be extra cautious if you're changing direction. I generally take a good look in the mirror and over my shoulders before I get up and buzz through the worst roads.

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