Nov 1, 2011

Seeing Beyond the Turn

One of my favorite things to do on my motorcycle is to get on a twisty road and lean the bike over the turns. There are a few things in life more pleasant than a nice twisty country road.

As awesome a nice twisty road is, the reality is that the twists on the road can be quite dangerous for a biker. There are only two wheels making contact with the surface of the road at any one time, and when the bike is leaned over for a turn, most of that grip is being used up for making the turn. Should the biker have to make emergency adjustments of speed or the angle of the turn, well, usually gravity wins that battle and both the biker and bike lose.

One of the keys to making the twists of the road a fun is learning to look through the turn - a biker has to look beyond the turn.

The general rule of thumb of motorcycling is that the bike will go where you are looking.

What happens when a rider doesn't look through the turn?

In short, bad stuff happens.

Today, on my ride to work, I was in a turn and instead of looking through the curve, my eyes were focused on a manhole cover in the middle of a turn.

You see, it was right around 36-37 degrees this morning when I started on my ride this morning, and metallic things have a tendency to get iced over on cold mornings. The last thing I wanted to do was to go over that manhole cover on a cold morning to discover that the cover was icy.

I made a quick few adjustments and was able to finish the turn without an incident.

But in the middle of that turn, as I focused on the actual turn instead of looking beyond the curve, a couple of things happened.
1. I began losing my sense of balance
2. I lost the line of curve I wanted in the turn
3. I wasn't prepared for what was ahead.

All these are bad things.

What's true about safely dealing with the turns on a twisty road on the motorcycle, is also true of life.

When we get too focused on the curves and twists life throws at us, we cannot see the way out of them. We get focused on the immediate and constantly find ourselves in a reactionary mode rather than looking ahead to see the best ways forward.

Just as looking through the turn on a bike can make the twisties an absolute blast, so the twists in life can be a source of creativity and ingenuity in life.

The key is being able to see beyond the turn. A general rule of thumb about life is that you will most likely end up where you are looking.

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