Maybe its doing the same journey 5 days a week, or maybe its not getting enough sleep, but I don’t feel like i’m always 100% alert on the bike.:ermm:
It’s something my instructor picked up on about a year ago when I was training for my test - said I was riding really well for half an hour, then for 10 minutes i’d seem to drift off. (Luckily the brain stayed sharp on test day ;))
I recognise when i’m doing this, i’ll be super sharp for a while then my brain kicks into gear and I realise that for the past 5 minutes I’ve been on autopilot as random thoughts have popped into my head.
A piece of advice I once got to combat this was “Before you set off, imagine all the things going on in your life, break those thoughts down and then picture in your head each one of those thoughts going into a box, then lock that box - Hopefully now your mind will be on nothing but the road” But granted, this has never worked too well for me…
Oh, and another piece of advice was “if you’ve got enough time to think about anything but the next bend, then you aint going fast enough”
So what do you guys do to stay alert and focussed on the road?
Talking through your obs, either in ya head or out loud.
Recognise when you start to lose focus…i.e when you get a non ride related thought, then start it off.
Im in a bus lane, keep to the left of the lane to allow vis of peds stepping through cars, that jcn on the left a car may turn through traffic to turn in…when filtering through two lanes of traffic, there’s a gap, who’s going to turn into it? That cars wheels are not straight, is he going to turn? That guy’s got his hands to one side of the steering wheel, is he going to turn? etc etc
That’s what I do anyway, I find it worse on long motorway runs, then I force myself to use lane control correctly to keep myself focused.
Seems to happen to me about once every half hour - a brief ( 30 second ) drift off of what I’m doing.
I believe a recent article in bike that drifting off is the main reason for avoidable accidents ( nobody can prevent the real blindsiders although like someone in the opposite lane suddenly veering into your path ).
in my case
2007 - tired and in a hurry thinking about work returning home locked front in wet when I rode too close to someone on roundabout…:w00t:
1980 (!) lost in on corner near Spaniards Inn, Hampstead Heath, had a nice 10 yard slide on my arse but little damage done…
1978 - Hit back of bus whilst trying to overtake it … Willesden Green
Its because we all learn and work better in a different way. I find music keeps me focused on the road, and it works with some of my pupils too, i dont then ‘zone out’ . Only have it on quietly though, in case you dont hear sirens or something.
Ok, I think I exaggerated how often I do drift off, it’s not a daily thing, but still something I want to stop. Nor am I completely away with the fairies I just don’t feel 100% sharp, but I guess thats all it takes for the worst to happen.
I’ve tried narrating to myself before might give it another go.
I know they teach police riders not to think about what they will find when they arrive at an emergency so that their minds are on the road only, wonder how they’re taught.
to think about anything apart from the road,
traffic lights -
red amber green,
has that bus/taxi/car/bike/truck/person seen me,
can I make these lights,
is somebody going to walk out infront of me at a crossing,
can i squeeze through this gap,
am I in the right lane to take the best route,
mind those huge bus lane white lines…
I’m prone to similar problems - particularly when driving a car.
The realisation that some many other road users are on autopilot makes me want to sit up and take notice when on the bike.
To help, I sometimes play the ‘perfect commute game’ where the goal is to execute every action to perfection. Points scored for smooth gear shifts, great corners with counter-steer, perfect road positioning, looking ahead and keeping vision up, slow control, posture, application of front vs back brakes etc. Bonus points when I correctly read a potential hazard and then having that prediction come true (always feels good), great overtakes, politeness to other road users (also always feels good), etc.
I end each ride in to work with a u-turn like you have to do on your test,. I remember how I used to get the sweats thinking about that test u-turn and now I do one every week day to perfection.
ok, the above probably makes me sound a loony and I don’t really score myself (not quite that OCD) but I find it helps me to keep concentration on the road by thinking in terms of judging myself on everything I’m doing and planning to do.
ps- surprised above comment re. listening to music - I don’t for the very opposite reason.
And as Chazhead said, try talking yourself through potential hazards out loud. This will feel totally alien (knobbish) at first, but it can help develop ‘muscle memory’ (learning and becoming better through repetition).
e.g. "I’m approaching a roundabout, taking the 2nd exit. First point of danger will be to my right, checking mirrors, clear behind. Slowing to achieve appropriate speed. Gear for speed is 2nd, mirrors (life saver), and I can see I’m good to go. Not taking 1 (exit), taking 2 (exit), mirrors (life saver) and on the drive (acceleration)…
In time and with experience then his develops into a second nature, but you still have to make a conscious effort to stay alert to what you are doing.
Also, make a conscious effort not to ‘switch off’ towards the tail end of your journey (particularly on the way home) - I did read somewhere that statistically (and can speak from experience :(), this is where a high percentage of accidents happen.
He he!! … is this why we have stupidly fast bikes?!
WTF? … I’d never advise this … the first big accident might be the last!!
Personnally, I’d take a break from commuting for a short while. Maybe even a short break from riding. Take a little time to reflect. It’ll give you a fresh perspective, and hopefully help you enter a zone of total concentration when you ride. The alternative doesn’t bear thinking about IMHO.
I find the speaking out loud technique not so useful in town as the hazards are everywhere so usually there isn’t sufficient time to recite them all before you are upon them. Having said that I do log approaching hazards in my head and mentally ‘tick’ them off as I get past them.
You could also get yourself a nice fruity exhaust to keep yourself (and others) awake :w00t: …
I’ve been trying to ride as much as possible outside of the daily commute recently, purposefully heading to unknown areas, and on reflection I don’t think i’m losing concentration much if at all on these rides.
So I guess changing my route to work sounds like the best idea.
Maybe I’ll take a random route home tonight :hehe:
If you watch the advanced riding vids on youtube they give running commentaries and I pretty much do it like that when I’m bored. It’s a good way to keep yourself entertained whilst forcing you to concentrate more on your riding.