This should come as no surprise but blind corners hide both hazards and their characteristics. Since we don't have x-ray vision the hazards will remain hidden until we actually get there. By looking for clues, however, we can get some advance idea of the corner's direction and make-up.
Hopefully we're all on the same page. The page that says maintaining as large a visual lead as possible is critical. That's because we're scanning for critical information. Notice the tie-in provided by the word "critical". I've typed that word three times in three sentences. Must be important. The earlier we get information the better. During that scan we're looking for clues that will tell us something is upcoming long before our eyes can actually spot it. Watching the painted lines on the roadway can give us early clues about the corner. The lines will tell us about which direction the road turns, how tight the turn is, and a bit about the camber of the corner.
Scan the fog lines on either side of road and the yellow line in the middle. Look at the point where the lines converge and disappear from our view. The clue about the corner lies in that place. You're looking for the spacing between the lines. With a picture being worth a thousand words, take a look at these few thousand.
In the photo above the lines maintain a relatively constant relationship to each other. There's a fair amount of space between them. This corner will have a fairly constant radius. It's not what you would call a particularly tight turn or sharp corner.
In the corner above the lines converge more quickly but don't actually look to be touching. The curve is tighter than the first one.
In the photo above the lines seem to almost touch where they disappear between the tree on the left and the bushes on the right. That's a clue that this turn is going to pretty tight. By now the sun was shining brightly and washing out the lines. It's harder to see than I wanted it to be. Sorry, but you get the idea.
Some riders use telephone poles and the wires they carry as indicators of direction. Just be aware that sometimes they lie as you can see below. Depending upon your particular bike, you may not want to be riding out there!
Clues are just that. Indicators but not force fields. This is a good time for a couple of reminders. Anytime we can't see all the way through a corner we have to expect the worst. Our entry speeds should be set accordingly. Better to be pleasantly surprised than to meet nasty surprises like in the photo below.
Never commit to the apex until the exit of the corner is visible. Until that point we're making a critical decision without all the information. Not a good idea, at all!!!
Reading corners and reading the written word have something in common. The better our reading skills are the more information we will have available to us. Better information enables better decisions. Next time you're out riding corners ( and I hope it's real soon! ) practice reading the lines. By the way, if there are no lines on the roadway, use the edges of the road as clues.
Miles and smiles,