TEAM Arizona Riding Tip: Doing the Footpeg – Floorboard Foxtrot

Posted on

cruiser foot positionFoot position.  Many riders don’t give much thought to *HOW* they place their feet on their foot pegs or floorboards.  Generally, we find a place that works for us and that’s that.  Typically, that means mid-arch on a foot peg or with our heel predominately taking the weight on a floorboard.  In this piece we want to offer up a different perspective to how we use our feet as motorcyclists.  It requires us to establish some assumptions.  They are:

  • Riding well and safely means being active in the saddle
  • Motorcycling is a sport; like athletes we will use athletic stances to be able to maximize our effectiveness on the motorcycle
  • What we do with our feet is determined by what we want to accomplish
  • We are trying to maximize our effectiveness on a motorcycle

Do you accept these assumptions?  Good!  Let’s get down to business!

WHAT IS THE MOST ATHLETIC POSITION?

ball-of-foot
Source: www.heelthatpain.com

Think of a basketball, football, tennis, or baseball player.  Really, think of just about any athlete in any sport.  When they are preparing for action, on what part of their feet do they position themselves?  The heel?  Mid-arch?  The balls?  Correct, typically the balls of their feet.

To make sure we’re all on the same page, let’s define what constitutes the ball of the foot.  The ball of the foot is where the toes join with the rest of the foot. It comprises the heads of the metatarsals together as a unit.  In the image to the left, it is denoted by the red shaded areas of the foot.

Why do we want to be on the balls of our feet?

Our feet are the foundation for balance, strength, and agility.  Using the balls of our feet puts us in the greatest position of power.

Why do we need to put us in this position of maximum leverage, especially if we’re just cruising or touring on a motorcycle?

PROPER PREPARATION PREVENTS POOR PERFORMANCE

You’ve probably heard about the 5 P’s before, haven’t you?  Yes, proper preparation prevents poor performance.  By riding with our balls of our feet on our foot peg or floorboard, we are better able to handle these types of situations:

  • Swerving to avoid a hazard- The bike will move easier beneath you
  • Obstacle crossing- Standing up to cross over an obstacle (can be something as simple as a speed bump or as serious as a ladder in the middle of your lane)
  • Low speed maneuvering- Getting into a counterweight position is easier when your feet are positioned properly
  • High speed cornering (above 18mph)- As we discuss at length in our 10 Steps to Proper Cornering from our Total Control Advanced Riding Clinic, Step #1 is making sure we’re on the balls of our feet.  We also tuck the foot up and away to prevent any chance of the foot coming into contact with the road surface

I guess the question becomes, when do we know in advance that hazard avoidance maneuvers are necessary?  You’re right, we don’t.  So why not be ready all the time?  The benefits to riding on the balls of the feet are immense.  Which means that once we’re done shifting or braking, we want to return our balls of the feet to the foot peg or floorboard position.

IT DOESN’T FEEL RIGHT

motorcycle ergonomicsOften times we hear that it doesn’t feel right to ride on the balls of the foot.  Maybe the cockpit feels too cramped, the legs get tired sooner, or it doesn’t feel right on a floor board.  Admittedly, balls of the feet riding with floor boards isn’t always easy.  There are a few instances where other parts of the foot may be used (like high performance braking).  As we always say, motorcycles aren’t a one size fits all proposition.  Making sure your motorcycle fits your properly is crucial.

To the above mentioned concerns we say there may be fitment issues.  Seat alterations, foot peg adjustments, or boot changes may just be the difference that makes riding on the balls of your feet more comfortable.

Ultimately, it is up to us to make the necessary adjustments that accommodate the best riding position for our vehicle.  Are you ready to join us in doing the Foot peg – Floorboard Foxtrot?

For the Entire TEAM Arizona Newsletter Content, CLICK HERE