We’ve all heard the phrase “look where you want to go” before. Maybe you first heard it in your beginning rider course, or maybe some other rider mentioned it to you. While it’s fine advice as far as it goes, it doesn’t get deep into the details of one of the most important things to rider everywhere, on all types of bikes: avoiding target fixation.
Luckily, this Canyon Chasers video takes the time to break it down in careful, engaging detail. Best part? It does so in just under six minutes. First, the Canyon Chasers crew explains how the rods and cones in our eyes help us to see colors, light, and details, and why the positioning of rods and cones as well as our optic nerves helps us take in the visual information around us in a certain way.
From there, the video goes into how our brains process all that incoming visual information. Did you ever notice how when you’re reading something, everything else around you kind of blurs, and you don’t pay attention to it anymore? That’s also what happens during target fixation, and it’s absolutely what you don’t want to ever experience when you’re out riding.
How do you avoid it? According to CC, the key is seeing everything around us by constantly scanning, taking in each new risk as it occurs. What’s that car up ahead doing? Is it going to suddenly slam on the brakes and turn left with no signal? Is that truck going the other way about to swerve over the yellow line and hit you? By actively scanning as much area ahead as you can, you’re more likely to avoid potentially dangerous situations.
Because we see using a combination of information provided by our eyes and our brains together, the best thing we can do to stay safe and prepared for road situations as they arise is to see everything, but look at nothing. That means you see the guardrail up ahead as you look around, and your spatial awareness tells you where you and your bike are in relation to it, but you don’t stare at it. Likewise, you see the shredded car tire carcass in the middle of the lane up ahead, but you don’t fixate on that, either. Instead, you just swerve to avoid it, and keep going about your day.
This video might be a good one to share with everyone you know who rides, because it provides as complete, clear, and concise a breakdown of how to avoid target fixation as you’re likely to find. Awesome job, Canyon Chasers.