When I was a kid, I would run into stuff all the time. My mom would say “Watch where you are going!” and get seemingly mad. I always said “I am… I tripped” or “I was…” Lord only knows what I was doing, but I probably needed to watch where the hell I was going.
So now … scroll forward … a few laps around the sun and I find myself in a strange place. I’ve been riding a motorcycle seriously for about 3 years. I’ve ridden over 50,000 miles and my experience on two wheels has grown. I’ve gone through periods where I felt incredibly confident (possibly a bad thing). I’ve gone through periods where I was uneasy, uncomfortable and down right nervous. One of my mentors told me “Every 25,000 miles, your motorcycle will humble you.” Recently – something has been wrong in my brain. I am questioning everything under the sun and not letting my skills do the work for me. I feel humbled and wanted to do something about this strange feeling I have been having.
I thought about taking a class after talking to my moto-sister, but time is of the essence. I have a bunch of miles in the next three weeks. I remembered seeing a University of Virginia study on why we crash… I went to the Google and found a few reviews – there’s a lot of details in there … and the key thing was “We don’t look far enough ahead!“. Okay, great, I know to do that … I already do it. Not feeling fulfilled or like I solve my problem, I pulled up a copy of “Mastering the ride” by David Hough and started reading.
Now – as I read through some of this book – the recurring them was “Look farther ahead”. I thought to myself … “What if this is the key? Shit, if it’s not the key, it can’t hurt!” Then I saw a ‘metric’ … a number … something my brain cell could remember. Twelve seconds! I began trying to look ahead 12 seconds…. do you know how FAR 12 seconds is at 60 mph? Neither do I, but I can tell you at 65 mph it’s about 6 light poles on I-85. They are a little closer on 75 .. so maybe 7 light poles.
The results have been INCREDIBLE! Here just a few things I have noticed:
- I am not stressed – at all!
- I see stuff happening so far in advance by the time it gets to me, its over.
- I do NOT instinctively look this far in advance
- My gaps to the car in front of me are much bigger (when I look farther ahead)
- My space cushion is better
- There is less turbulence
- I am happier
- I feel safer
- I set up for corners better
- I corner better
- I feel more confident
- I enjoy riding my motorcycle
I hope to continue to grow as a motorcyclist and I will continue to work to improve, but who knew…. My mom, who has probably under 100 miles on two wheels in her entire life, actually knew how to help me! Watch where you’re going – as far in front of you as you can … you will see everything else there, too!
(Truthfully, I do look ahead, but this weeks reading/learning experience has helped me to realize the POWER it truly has and additionally the importance! It’s a great feeling to have learned something I can apply to my life, daily! )