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Looking Where You've Been

By Brad Quartuccio

Practice looking back over your left shoulder as you ride. This will prove an invaluable skill in many riding situations, not the least of which is to check on passing traffic. The goal is the ability to look back without veering from your lane.

Not only does this let you know what’s coming up from behind, it also lends an air of confidence to your riding in the eyes of drivers. By holding your line and demonstrating that you are aware of your surroundings you’ll find that at least some drivers will treat you with more respect. And conversely, you’ll have a better idea of which ones are going to pass too close.

An old school trick on how to learn to look over your shoulder without weaving is to practice in a big parking lot or empty road. As you turn to look behind, extend your arm straight-out behind you and look down it as you pedal. This gives you a visual reference point for your mind to keep you riding straight ahead without steering into the traffic lane. As you gain confidence you’ll find that you can keep both hands on the bars as you check on where you’ve been.