When you’re thinking about things you can do that involve your motorbike while we’re all on lockdown, there’s more to think about than maintenance, modifications, or repairs. Experienced motorcycle trainer and ADV expert Bret Tkacs posted a helpful new video specifically aimed at teaching us all a valuable moto skill, no matter what type of riding we do.
If you continue to take motorcycle training courses, you’ll hear about one thing over and over again. That thing is target fixation. You might also hear its opposite: Look where you want to go. Both of these things are true at the same time. If you’re constantly looking at the ground, then that’s where you’ll go. Likewise, if you’re obsessing about the bumper of that guy in front of you, guess what you’re about to hit? You may not want to, but your eyes are busy giving your brain and hands instructions.
While we’re all staying home, Bret Tkacs has some advice we can practice off our bikes to avoid this. If we want to counter target fixation, we need to practice expanding our field of vision. It’s something he teaches in his courses, but it’s a valuable tool we can all independently put our minds to and work on while we’re stuck at home, too. He says that if we work hard enough at it, it will eventually become second nature, and we won’t even have to think about it. Instead, we'll just automatically do it.
The key is learning how to blur our vision. When our brains get overloaded with too much visual information, it’s hard to focus and concentrate. We miss important things, like the deer that's about to pirouette across the road and ruin our day.
However, if we blur our vision just a little, it’s a lot easier to see peripherally and notice important things like people, animals, or things in motion. If you see a car running a red light at an intersection out of the corner of your eye, you immediately work on avoiding a collision. If you don't see it, well, you're about to have a terrible day.
Start simply, by holding up your pointer fingers straight up in front of you and next to each other. Then begin to stretch them apart and let your field of vision go a little blurry and out of focus. You’ll notice as you do this that your field of vision also widens. Stop moving your hands when you can’t see your pointer fingers anymore. Now take a focused look at where your fingers are. Our usable peripheral vision is wider than we expect, once we learn how to use it more efficiently.