“It’s like cheating,” said Dave, a student at last week’s Champ School. Dave is a racer on a track-prepped 1000 and had just rolled into the pits after a mini-drill centered around vision.
Of all the basics you will hear from any riding instructor or mentor, “Get your eyes up” is a standard mantra. “Look farther.” “You go where you look.” All good advice and certainly Dave and the rest of our class had heard all that over the years.
But what instigated Dave’s cheating comment was a slight twist on this theme. At YCRS, we teach “Look sooner. Scan back if necessary.” Secondly, we encourage riders to try new techniques at something less than 100 percent effort and lap times.
And to be more exact: Dave and the class learned that the moment when you roll off the throttle on to the brakes is the perfect time to look way into the future. Cast those eyeballs past the corner entry, past the apex, past the exit, and as far as you can see. Then scan back to your entry point or apex or whatever else concerns you, like a pothole or seam. Kyle Wyman tells students it’s “looking two steps ahead, one step back…two ahead, one back.”
Suddenly a “big picture” scenario is through your eyes and into your brain. It might have hit Dave the hardest since he was the fastest rider in the class on the fastest bike, but it’s huge for all levels on all bikes, especially street riders in a significantly more dangerous environment than a racetrack.
On the street, you look all the way through the freeway onramp to the traffic flowing or not flowing. You look not just around the canyon corner but skip your eyes to the road unwinding below you and see the radar trap on the next straight. You look past the green light and see the car leaving the gas pump and heading into your lane. Big picture. And then you bring your eyes back to the nearest probable issue.
Dave, and many others, was trying to look ahead farther without the “scan back.” As he worked under that technique, he found he couldn’t look ahead too far without losing his place on the road. Once we instigated “scan back” in his technique, he looked much farther and much sooner, knowing he was going to jump his eyes back to the apex or anything else that concerned his immediate future.
“It’s like cheating.” Look sooner, scan back. Two steps out, one back. Big picture to near issue. Be a cheater.