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FIXATION The Ballad of Benny Bailoff


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Benny Bailoff got a new bike;
Benny Bailoff saw a tree;
Benny Bailoff kept watching that tree;
Benny Bailoff is now part of that tree;
Don't be a Benny Bailoff
Fixation, we all had to overcome fixation, even as a seasoned rider I still practice this skill set of not fixating but looking beyond my front tire and where I want to go.
What is fixation in the terms of motorcycle riding?  That has many answers simply it is looking at something like a tree that Benny became part of.  We all have done this riding dirt or street trying to avoid an obstacle like a bolder only to find ourselves over the bars, bent rims and well embarrassed as all heck.
Looking where you want to go is key, speed has a funny way of slowing down if you looking up and speeding up when looking down.  Fixation is the same way, you stare at something that is where you will go.  It is pretty simple, your bike is already where it is, your head and eyes should be looking where it wants to go, the bike will follow. 
Racing lines are very different than street lines, the concept is the same.  Racing lines you have already plotted in your head your path as you look beyond the S's and into the next apex.  Street is the same but you adjust for traffic, side streets driveways, curbs and mediums looking 3 cars ahead.  If you are focusing 10 feet ahead of you you cannot be evaluating your bubble, in fact you decreased your bubble to 10 feet and your speed is not going to be anticipated and when that sudden stop comes, you are kissing the ass of the cage in front of you and that is not good.
How do I practice this skill set of not fixating?  Many ways, slow traffic, slow turns, in clear parking lots.  Every time I round a corner I am looking beyond the corner, my head is up, my eyes are scanning the direction I want to go.  BUT BUT BUT da corner da corner what if?????
Well there are a ton of what ifs, you should had been looking at that corner before you entered the last corner or positioned yourself from a straight to the corner and knew right were your line was?  OK OK I get it but, but what if  Ya we can play the what ifs all day, the issue is fixation and your fixated on what ifs?  Get it Stop
IN a Clear parking lot you can set yourself up just doing an oval in that lot.  You practice looking ahead to each entry point of the next corner.  You are controlling the environment, you are controlling your speed, you are breaking the natural habit of looking at where you are.  The pic below is a perfect example of looking ahead.  If you look at the eyes, you can see he is looking at his next target the bike is exiting the apex and he head is up and he is looking toward the next target point
When you fixate, that is what you will hit, I have seen riders get all freaked out looking right at an object all the while trying to get around it and BOOM, SLAM, CRASH right into it.  Had a rider go over a cliff on a triple diamond (super Rough) single track trail, the reason, he fixated on the edge of the trial instead of the exit of the apex.
It is IMO the hardest habit to break a rider of, but it is the most essential skill to master.

“Laws that forbid the carrying of arms disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes.” --Thomas Jefferson quoting Cesare Beccaria

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