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How much attention you're paying to the road ahead?


Herbas
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So it's been 50 days since I started riding an EUC :) I use it for my daily commutes to work through the city and so far I was always super-focused on my road ahead, looking for all kinds of surface imperfections, carefully planning how to approach turns/crosses, somewhat ready to fall at any moment.

But I noticed that lately I'm more and more thinking about something else while riding. I guess it's somewhat natural as I'm getting used to EUC riding, but I wonder if I'm not getting overconfident too.

What was your experience in this regard? Do you still carefully study what is ahead of you? Or has it become an entirely "background process" and your mind is occupied by other stuff while riding?

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24 minutes ago, Herbas said:

What was your experience in this regard? Do you still carefully study what is ahead of you? Or has it become an entirely "background process" and your mind is occupied by other stuff while riding?

I think I only realised how much I do watch the surface ahead, albeit somewhat unconsciously, when I started riding at night and found the headlight on my KS-14 wasn’t bright enough to see what was there to trip me up, even though I was riding on paths with good street lighting - but with a surface not in the best state of repair! I wasn’t able to get back to full speed at night until I added a nice powerful bike light.

Unless you are riding on very good surfaces and/or with a large (I.e. 18”) wheel such that a surface hazard isn’t too likely to be a problem then, if you truly have stopped watching ahead, I think you may be being over confident and, rather literally will be: “riding for a fall” ?. In practice, I suspect you are still watching but without consious effort.

If you suddenly find yourself flying through the air wondering how you got there, you will know you hadn’t been paying attention!

Edited by Keith
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If you're not going to pay much attention to the road in front then go slower. Nothing wrong with going quite slow while enjoying the sights; after all you're still going faster than running.

In practice I employ a "sprint and drift" method where I go quite fast to get somewhere then drift at around a walking pace.

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On 10/18/2017 at 4:08 PM, Herbas said:

But I noticed that lately I'm more and more thinking about something else while riding. I guess it's somewhat natural as I'm getting used to EUC riding, but I wonder if I'm not getting overconfident too.

Yes, I would think so. Unless you have ridden the same road under the very same conditions dozens of times, not paying attention seems to me a pretty bad idea unless you are slow enough to run it off easily.

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5 hours ago, Rehab1 said:

I can't imagine not scanning the road's surface ahead when riding. To me it is an involuntary action no different than looking ahead while walking, running, riding a bike, motorcycle or driving a car.To avoid last minute moves and spot possible hazards ahead you should always look down your designated path or road. Even if you are familiar with the area you are riding debris from storms, animals and human litter can easily ruin your day.

I find my eyes shifting between short and long range scans. Most of the time I have a passive check of the near field, to avoid slippery stuff, holes and cracks, or at least be aware of them before riding over them. But in short intervals I "zoom out" checking as far away as a hundred meters. That way I seldom get surprised by the road in itself, and get fewer surprises by my "fellow travellers". Not saying I get no surprises, as stated elsewhere I've had to brake rather forcefully a few times, but at least I've been aware the idiots exist before they turn out to be idiots.

I had a short period where I got a bit overconfident, but a couple of stupid falls that luckily weren't that serious cured me rather dramatically.

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I need to point out that a slide on an EUC is absolutely treacherous. If you ride them long enough then you start treating them as bicycles in the sense you think you have forward - back stability.

Then you hit a wet leaf.

An EUC slide is nothing like a bicycle or motorcycle slide. Imagine taking the tip of a Pogo stick and freezing it in a cup of water, then taking taking said Pogo stick to the middle of an ice lake just after a thaw so you get some nice wet ice on wet ice contact, and then stepping on the Pogo stick. Oh wait, without using the handlebars. That would be too easy.

With absolutely no modesty I can brag that I can thread my EUCs between two nuts that are 1.5 inches apart. I can easily ride on top of elevated surfaces that are a mere hand apart. I can weave through a debris-strewn path without touching even a single twig or leaf. And yet, with absolute certainty I can say there's a bullet out there with my name on it, except instead of a bullet it's probably some goddamned mini-acorn or a wet stamp someone accidentally dropped upside down.

I suppose it's the same story with most EUC riders; everyone is capable of sticking their wheel within 5mm of where they wish; just cause we've crashed so damned many times.

If you don't think you're scanning the road like some psychotic battle Ceylon, then try this:

pick up all the unusual objects you see on your trip. Bolts, nuts, nails, perfume bottles, prescription glasses, vapers, and various other detritus shall fill your pockets.

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1 hour ago, yourtoys7 said:

constantly, specially when taking new routes.

New and old actually, there's always some shit on old roads that weren't there before. But I get you, a new road makes you manic in scanning it for pot-holes, cracks, debris and other death traps.

Going in rain too, is one of those tiring things, that have you on high alert all the way. Will never forget my very quick stop in the middle of a 5" deep puddle, when I realised the f-ing curb went diagonally over the bicycle path in the middle of the puddle. THAT would have put me on my nose in oh-shit-seconds flat had I not seen it.

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On 10/23/2017 at 1:24 AM, Scatcat said:

New and old actually, there's always some shit on old roads that weren't there before. But I get you, a new road makes you manic in scanning it for pot-holes, cracks, debris and other death traps.

Going in rain too, is one of those tiring things, that have you on high alert all the way. Will never forget my very quick stop in the middle of a 5" deep puddle, when I realised the f-ing curb went diagonally over the bicycle path in the middle of the puddle. THAT would have put me on my nose in oh-shit-seconds flat had I not seen it.

  In the rain, my speed goes down to 20-25 km/h and I scan the road non stop. To be honest, I avoid riding in the rain at all cost, unless I get caught out of the blue. I find it to frustrating/ not enjoyable in the rain.

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11 minutes ago, yourtoys7 said:

  In the rain, my speed goes down to 20-25 km/h and I scan the road non stop. To be honest, I avoid riding in the rain at all cost, unless I get caught out of the blue. I find it to frustrating/ not enjoyable in the rain.

Not riding in the rain in Gothenburg, Sweden, would be like saying not riding at all... :D 

Gothenburg is a harbour town at the west coast of Sweden. The climate is somewhere in the same category as the north-west coast of the US. We have more light in the summers, and less in the winters, but overall it's just as wet. In summers on average about every third day has rain, in winters about every other day has rain or snow.

Right now for instance, this Sunday there was no rain, but the ground is still wet, and the air is humid. Last week while riding to or from work, every other ride had some form of moisture in the air - ranging from a fine sprinkle somewhere between mist and rain, to serious rain-fall.

There's a reason why I've added water-proofing to my GT16 and why I consider wet leaves my nemesis :D 

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I mostly ride on forested bike trails, so scanning for fallen tree limbs & large twigs is a must.

Now that I ride a Monster, the larger wheel helps, but does not absolve you from needing to scan ahead.

This need increases at night.

I use a high powered spotlight some 5000 lumens to scan the trail ahead before I ride over it.

I scan one 100ft section, if it looks safe I move to the next 100ft section and ride over the first.

My average speeds on trail at night are between 30-40kph.

So 100ft goes by in seconds, you have to be on your A game at night !

* Little furry friends are also to be scanned for as they love to jump out in front of you at the last second.

 

Edited by Steven D Wheeler
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