Video: How To Stop Riding Into Stuff - How To Bike Season 2 Episode 3

Nov 24, 2022
by Pinkbike Originals  


Ben Cathro is back with another season of How to Bike. This time he is taking the learning process further with hands-on tips and tricks that will help you get better at mountain biking.

One of the best tips a developing rider can learn is to pay attention to where they are looking. In this episode, Cathro takes us through his steps in finding and maintaining good (Cathro) vision while riding.

Huge thanks to the brands who have helped make How To Bike Season 2 happen.

Continental - tires
Shimano - drivetrain, brakes and pedals
Santa Cruz - frames
Reserve Wheels - wheels
Dharco - clothing
Deity - cockpit & saddle
Bluegrass - helmets and protection
Adidas Five Ten - footwear
Swatch - official timing
Cushcore - inserts
Ohlins - suspension
RideWrap - frame protection
Outside - support
Pinkbike Racing

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  • 48 3
 step 1: look at headset cable routing
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 step 2: acknowledge the cleanliness
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 step 3: realize that Cathro should be prime minister/president of the world
  • 24 0
 Yep we have a mantra:

Look at the rock....hit the rock
Look at the tree...hit the tree
Look where you want to be ... and you’re there ...

There’s something more though, which is not mentioned in the video: that there is more being discovered about the exceptional way in which things are processed in peripheral vision. First of all, it’s important to understand that the optic nerve is effectively an outcrop of the brain. It’s intimately involved in mental processing, it’s not just a simple ‘cable connection’. We have not yet sorted out everything about how it performs. Secondly, one vital area of research is the nature of acuity in peripheral vision. Looking forward when riding does NOT mean that you are no longer perceiving the things which you previously were looking directly at...they can be ‘moved’ to peripheral vision, where they are less consciously processed, but nonetheless the images ARE being processed. This is really important in training and in high performance riding. Study the slo-mo videos of downhillers - it is FASCINATING as to where they are looking - their eyes are on the next section they need to think about but their peripheral vision is retaining the berm/jump etc in sight - conscious processing is going on in relation to the things in central vision, and less conscious processing (but processing nonetheless) is occurring in respect of things in peripheral vision. Good thing to know. This is what Cathro is saying by ‘look ahead but not too far...’

There’s interesting stuff here:
  • 3 0
 By the way .... what that research suggests is that to explain the weird effect that information from the peripheral vision can be processed in the part of the brain responsible for foveal (central) vision in a feedback mechanism, it appears that once you have committed something to peripheral vision when riding, it can still be perceived and worked on by the very discriminating part of the brain - even though you are now looking ahead and beyond.
  • 3 0
 @vercorin1: Interesting stuff, thanks! I bet a lot of riders can relate here, including me, when it comes to commuting in busy traffic.
  • 4 0
 Good paper on peripheral vision use while driving here

Race car driving study would be more relevant to MTB, but we'll take what we get!

P.S. good job Ben, so much terrible "coaching" content is produced and shared at the moment, most of it taken up by eager to improve riders with no critical thought put into whether the advice is sound. Ben is a rare gem!
  • 2 0
 @Point1Athletic: For sure, many of the things I learned in auto racing school work in the car and on the bike. The busiest part of the body when racing is the eyes, they never stop moving. That is the key, don't fixate on anything.
  • 2 0
 Especially in DH there is already a virtual track in the mind of the rider. So, basically they are just updating it during the run. And even when riding a track first time, you are generating a more or less accurate virtual reality in your mind. So, it's not like you need to look at stuff directly to navigate.
  • 12 2
 It's amazing how the first thing I'll say to newbies is "look where you're going" not at the floor, not just in front of them, not at the skipping gears but, as far down the trail as you can see, look where you want to go not at the tree you're heading towards.

Good tip for life in general really
  • 5 0
 if you're looking at the floor, is your bike inside the house?
  • 5 0
 @jamesbrant: yeah, I'm zwifting because fUUUUUck winter
  • 6 0
 Sometimes I think that mountain biking is like jazz music (or any improvised music / art): you can improvise as much as you can or want as long as you've worked your skills out before... Then fun appears :-)
  • 6 0
 Not drinking 6 beer and thinking I can ride home helps me avoid riding into things
  • 2 0
 My hand doctor and I recently discovered that looking over your shoulder at your buddies behind you is not helpful while entering a turn at high speed. And hand guards don't provide much tree protection when they are sitting in your car while you ride.
  • 2 0
 Look where you WANT to go, NOT where you don’t! And avoid
Target fixation”.
  • 2 0
 While skiing I just avoid dark objects. On the bike there are more subtleties.
  • 2 0
 BEN, What app do you use to watch video side by side?
  • 1 0
 look at the line, not the get transfixed by the line, crash into the root. I just crash !
  • 1 0
 There it is. Auto playing ads are here. We knew the day was coming but it’s still sad regardless.
  • 1 0
 What a metaphor for; LIFE
  • 1 0
 We're running ads on these auto-play videos now??
  • 1 0
 Only the add auto played for me then it stopped
  • 1 0
 Very good stuff!
  • 3 5
 If you ride a 8” travel bike you can run into anything
  • 17 0
 I have proven that theory wrong on several occasions!
  • 1 2
 @Bomadics: yeah me too unfortunately
  • 5 0
 I have stitches that prove otherwise
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