May 7, 2007

Look where you want to go

Among the plethora of delights our bodies have to offer us (sounds vaguely softporn, but bear with me) are panic reactions (see?). These are chemical reactions built into our systems, designed to help us keep our fragile bodies in one piece. Without going into any detail, the systems are designed to speed up decision making and generate what is often labelled as a fight or flight response. In the case of the motorcyclist, the panic reaction isn't always the right reaction. And right now, I've just gotten through hearing a story of a horrific crash, which could have been entirely avoided simply by not submitting to the panic reaction. That's right, the poor sod didn't look where he wanted to go...

Imagine a hirsute, bent over prehistoric human being being (sorry, could not resist that) chased by a saber tooth tiger (please ignore any chronological impossibilities that may have inadvertently crept in). To run away, he needs to see where the bloody tiger is, right? But if he stops to look, he's gonna become dinner...

In the motorcycle world, our mind tends to consciously and unconciously steer us in the direction we look. Try it. Next time, try riding arrow straight while looking right. Unless you're god, or have already mastered the trick, you're going to end up drifting to the right. This is dangerous, but also useful in an emergency situation.

Next time you're in trouble, look where you want to be. Only use your peripheral vision to keep track of what you've identified as a hazard. Chances are you will unconsciously make the right inputs and get there. As always, you still have to bear the consequences of all bad decisions you make.

How does this help? When you enter a corner too fast, look at the exit, instead of the armco you will slam into if you don't do anything. If you spot a pothole in the road, look for the route around it, instead of marveling at how deep it is. If there is a cow in the road, treat it like the pothole. If you're about to crash into something, look for where you would rather be – around and past it (as opposed to wrapped around it). This is easy to forget. So remind yourself often. Say it with me, 'look where you want to go.'

4 comments:

theslayer said...

"If you spot a pothole in the road, look for the route around it, instead of marveling at how deep it is."

Haha..Show me somebody who can write better this Mr.rearset! Great write again..

Anonymous said...

This phenomenon is called Target Fixation. You might want to check these links:
Link 1 Link 2 Link 3
We discussed this in detail in our riding group a couple of years back.

rearset said...

Thanks for the links! Read James Davis' tip years and years ago, but the other two are new to me...

sunspot said...

Hi

Any chances you could post on the upcoming Bullet 500cc AVL (promised launch May 19th). Pics, first impressions, sneak peeks anything!

Pretty pretty please!