Riding Skills Series: Blind Turns

1 There's always a bit of trepidation when approaching a blind turn, but taking a slightly different line than usual will get you through with minimal fuss. The key is to enter the turn a bit slower and wider than normal for the radius it appears to be. This allows you the longest line of sight around the obstruction. The rider in this photo is entering a blind left-hander and is staying to the right side of the lane while looking as far ahead as possible. A general rule of thumb is to keep your speed slow enough that you can stop safely in the distance you can see ahead.

2 It's important to remember to keep your speed down on the entrance, as you may have to tighten your line if it turns out to be a decreasing-radius corner. Once you can see the exit of the turn, begin cutting into the apex. Because your entrance speed is a bit slow, it's possible to get on the gas almost right away, which will help settle the bike. It's doubtful a turn will arc more than 180 degrees. So once you've passed a point where you're able to see far enough ahead to ensure the turn isn't going to tighten up unexpectedly, it would be safe to start to apex without seeing the exit.

3 When a vehicle comes darting out from behind an obstacle, it can be startling and you'll be compelled to follow it with your eyes-especially if it's another bike. Avoid watching it, as you're sure to run wide. Pay attention to the road, looking as far ahead as possible. Similarly, if you suddenly come across something in the road, decide on an avoidance path and don't stare at the debris. It's easy to target fixate on something that appears suddenly, and it will require practice to train your eyes to stay focused on where you want to go.

4 The restraint shown on the entrance of the turn will pay off when you can straighten up, get on the gas and accelerate out, as opposed to running wide and backing off the throttle if you enter fast and apex early. Seeing more of the turn on the entrance will give you extra confidence in steering the bike, and decrease the chance of something surprising you in midturn. A slower entrance and late apex allows better control, in case the turn tightens up or there's debris in the road, and keeps you safely in your own lane at the exit of the turn.

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