Over and over and over in the riding section of The Total Motorcycling Manual you’ve heard us tell you to stand up on the footpegs when riding. A motorcycle set up for proper control will have the foot-pegs pretty close to directly under your hips—dirt-bikes are probably the best example, and cruisers with their pegs set way out in front probably the worst. Think of all the active sports you’ve ever tried— tennis, baseball, soccer, even golf—being balanced on your feet is the first fundamental you learn. Same with riding a motorcycle.
Along with your butt and hands, your feet are crucial points of contact with and control of the bike. Standing up on the pegs turns you into a dynamic part of your bike rather than just dead weight. It makes you an active part of the suspension. Off-road, it lets you see farther and above the dust. For long distances, standing with your legs fully extended and your knees locked is the least fatiguing.
In short sections, you can still “stand” even though there may only be an inch (2.5 cm) of air between your butt and the saddle. But compared to someone sitting down, you’ll have more control. When in doubt, or when you’re tired, try these three things: stand up, give the bike more gas, and look farther ahead. Those are your three get-out-of-jail-free cards.