Riding on the balls of your feet will help you control the bike better. A motorcycle’s foot pegs aren’t just a place to rest your dawgs. Just like inputs on the handlebar, weighing the foot pegs has an effect on the bike’s handling, too. Pressing down on either side can not only help steer the bike, but it can also help balance and keep it more stable while leaned over.

Another benefit to riding on the balls of your feet is that it essentially adds more suspension. You want your body to act like it’s part of the suspension, not the frame. Moving your feet up or down can help you navigate bumps and turns more assertively with greater control. Additionally, it will give you more ground clearance in the sense that your pegs will touch the ground before your feet do.

But what about the milliseconds you might lose by having to move your foot the brake lever in an emergency? As motorcyclists, we can become someone’s hood ornament in no time, so it’s our duty to be constantly scanning the road for any potential threat. I use the rear brake all the time because it doesn’t upset the bikes balance by causing it to dive as much as using the front can. In congested circumstances, or especially when lane-splitting, yes, by all means cover that rear brake. But under normal riding situations, try to stay on the balls.

7. Scootch Right Up Against the Tank

Motorcycle Riding Tips, Tricks and Techniques

This one applies more to standard or sportier motorcycles and less to cruisers, however it’s good practice to sit as close to the gas tank as possible – get right up on that sucker. The main reason for this is that it will help balance the bike by keeping the weight as centralized and evenly distributed as possible. Whether braking, accelerating or turning, a balanced motorcycle will handle better.

8. Look Not Where You’re Going, But Where You Want to Go

Motorcycle Riding Tips, Tricks and Techniques

We all hear this one often, but it can’t be stressed enough. It has a lot to do with target fixation – one of the leading causes of motorcycle accidents. Most often it happens when a rider comes into a turn too hot and rather than looking safely through the bend, the rider fixates on the hazard of running wide, or worse yet, the unforgiving thing he’s afraid he’s going to collide with. Your motorcycle tends to go where you’re looking, so look where you want to go. Target fixation is a natural phenomenon but with practice and repetition, you can become a smarter and faster rider, you just have to consciously force yourself to do it.

9. Correct Lane Positioning

Motorcycle Riding Tips, Tricks and Techniques

Another simple yet commonly ignored practice is correct lane positioning. As a motorcyclist, a rider is vulnerable and needs to position him or herself effectively to not only be as easily seen as possible, but also to give themselves the most space to potentially maneuver in. I’m not going to go into all the potential situations because they’re limitless, however I’ll mention a few of the most common.

Whether you’re riding by yourself or in a group, the first rider should position themselves in the left portion of the lane. Not only will you be more visible to others on the street, you will have more visibility yourself.

When riding in a group, stagger yourselves in alternating left and right portions of the lane, and don’t crawl up each other’s asses. Give each other room to maneuver in the event of a situation – there’s nothing worse than having one of your buddies run into you because it should have been completely avoided in the first place. Not only is it embarrassing, a biker running into another biker makes us all look bad. Again, always be aware of your continuously changing surroundings by constantly scanning the road for potential threats. If there’s a car looking to make a left-hand turn, just assume they don’t see you and proceed with caution – be prepared.

At intersections, whether it be a stop sign or traffic light, position yourself (again) in the left portion of the lane and try to stick out somewhat without obviously impeding traffic. Let yourself be seen and make those cars consciously go around you. Motorcycles have just as much of a right to be on the road as any car, but that’s not a thing you should ever insist upon.

Oh, and don’t ride in anyone’s blind spots…

10. Stay Loose

Motorcycle Riding Tips, Tricks and Techniques

Above all else, motorcycling at its core is supposed to be fun. It’s a bond between man and machine, a relationship that will only flourish with care, trust and patience. A rider needs to learn a motorcycle and how it handles. Just like people, they’re all different with their own strengths, weaknesses and unique quirks.

Like everything else on Earth, motorcycles are subject to the same laws of physics we are. The bike is going to move around on you, it’s going to dance and do its thing – let it. Hold on, but don’t death-grip or white-knuckle the thing. Once a motorcycle is in motion, the gyroscopic effect of the wheels helps keep it stable and tracking in a straight line. Little inputs can have big outcomes, so play around with it and get comfortable, learn to trust it. But remember, regardless of whether you’ve been riding for days or decades – shit happens. It’s our duty to try and minimize the risks that come with the territory.

Hopefully these tips, tricks and techniques that I’ve adopted over the years will somehow benefit you. Even the best riders can always further hone their skills, and for riders just starting out, these exercises are a good way to develop your abilities and build trust in your motorcycle.

Be safe, have fun and keep the greasy side down.