You’re barreling down the road at 25MPH, pedaling hard. You’re putting out a good effort, trying to keep smooth, steady pedal strokes. Efficiency is key. You focus on it, and your breathing.
Six inches in front of you is another rider doing the same. Keeping your efforts in sync is critical, not only to be efficient now, but also to be safe.
And, of course, there is another rider just six inches off of your back wheel. Doing the same. Trying to keep smooth and steady.
You’re all barreling down a public road, with potholes, traffic, broken glass, pedestrians, and other hazards. So, where do you focus your attention, visually?
“Look at nothing. See everything.”
If you stare at the back wheel in front of you, you may become distracted and miss an upcoming hazard. If you look around for hazards, you may not notice a slight adjustment of the bike in front of you. A subtle slowdown that could cause wheels to touch, or a bit of a speed up that could open up a gap.
You’ve got to somehow take it all in (at once) yet be aware of each individual detail. Peripheral vision becomes part of your primary vision. You discover a delicate balance, soaking it all in, aware of the details. Focused on them without lingering. Seeing each without focusing on any exclusively.
You’re looking at nothing, yet seeing everything. Zen vision can be very handy for cyclists.
Photo Credit: Tony the Misfit