Safe Riding

Target Fixation

Written by  September 30, 2004

Where did we leave off? Oh yeah, so you want to be a good rider? Well, let's discuss a few things that I highlighted in the last issue. We talked about the press theory, remember? This was the correct way to turn your motorcycle under speed. It's all coming back, isn't it? Good. Let's move on to another very basic theory I like to call, "Please look where you are going for heaven's sake!"

OK, so you remember how to press on the bar in your direction of travel, now we need to add some head turn. Remember this; if you look there, you will go there. It's a common law for any motorcyclist. Remember that pothole you were headed toward last week and hit? The one that jarred your spine and made your butt hurt? I bet you were probably looking at it as you hit it. Why do you do this?

A motorcycle has a tendency to follow your head and eyes. It's an equilibrium thing. Now it isn't just your eyes, it's your head; it's the way you look, it's everything. If you focus on a target (fixate) you will head right to the target. So look where you want to go and you will go there every time.

In slow, tight turns, turn your head as far as you can, and look at your target. This will drive the motorcycle right to it, as long as you relax, and let the motorcycle move. At higher speeds, look as far through the turn as you can. This should seem a little uncomfortable, but with persistence, you will be much more efficient through corners, find a better line, and be more comfortable with the principle. Take some time to concentrate on applying this technique, and it will become second nature. Potholes or objects in the road? Look away as you try to avoid them by pressing on the bar in the direction you want to go. It's a miracle, and it keeps your pain level at a minimum.

So, are we a better rider yet? There's no magical cure for what ails you in motorcycling, but with some good common sense, thinking should get you through most factors that build. In the next issue, we will talk about those amazing common sense techniques you can use in different scenarios. In the mean time, keep e-mailing your questions or comments to me.

Safe riding is a skill of the eyes and mind, not your physical capabilities.

Matt Albertson, MSF Instructor