Have you ever noticed that you tend to ride straight where you are looking? It never fails… when learning how to ride, you tell yourself to not ride into that pillar, that kid dashing across your path, the old aunty that decides to walk against the direction of the cycling path. Without fail, you look straight at these dynamic or static targets and track them like a you are in an ariel dogfight.
You swear that the pillar grew legs and the kid and aunty headed for a direct trajectory to your dead straight cycling path.
You tell yourself… don’t stare and yet you do it all over again and again. Why do you continually ride where you are looking? Because your shoulders are moving with your head. 99.9% of the time, you are going to ride wherever your shoulders are pointed no matter where you actually want to end up after pedalling. When professional riders are learning those crazy ariel manoeuvres and inverts, the first thing they learn is to point their shoulders in the direction they want to go…not where they are right at that moment. By looking in that direction, you force your upper body to move with your neck in the pursuit of alternative direction.
HOW CAN I TRANSLATE THIS TO MY RIDING
Most of you are not trying to do inverts. More often than not, you are just trying to not hit the obstacles that continually give you trouble, so how do you relate this back to your riding on your daily riding? When you find yourself in a situation that you need to pinpoint your direction, look where you want to go…not at what you don’t want to hit. By looking in the direction that you want your mountain bike to ride, you are pointing your mass towards this plane and forcing your forward motion in that direction. If you stare at that rock you don’t want to run over, all of your forward motion is going to be concentrated in that direction and you are going to hit…fall off…or crash into whatever it is you were trying to avoid in the first place. Like most riding mishaps…it is not the trail or your bike…it is in your head.