The Vanishing Point
Is Not the point where you leave the road, forever to be consumed by the native bush, it’s a conceptual point best illustrated by the picture above.
It has been described as
“Vanishing points refer to the point in the distance where the two verges of a road appear to converge.”
It’s a technique for gauging the correct maximum speed for the corner.
A vanishing point is a point in a perspective drawing to which parallel lines not parallel to the image plane appear to converge. The concept was first used by Renaissance artists such as Donatello, Masaccio and Leonardo da Vinci.
Confused? Yeah thought you would be, so let me explain; firstly let me explain what you are looking for and then let’s cover off how you use that point once you have identified it.
The way our eyes work lines that are parallel to us, like the edges of the road on both sides, will appear to converge into a single point as they move off into the distance. The point where they join is the vanishing point because the road effectively vanishes at the at point.
Further when you introduce corners into the equation, it is no longer vanishing into the distance but a convergence caused by the curvature of the road.
So the vanishing point is where the two sides of the road appear to converge. It is a logical point that continually moves with you, not a physical point on the road!!!!
How to use the Vanishing Point
Firstly let me get something off my chest because I often hear people expounding that the vanishing point should be used to adjust your line around a corner.
THE VANISHING POINT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU LINE THROUGH A CORNER
But everything to do with your speed.
Right now with that yelled out, what can the vanishing point tell you? It can tell you the following:
- Whether the road is straight or not
- Which direction the road is turning
- How tightly it is turning
- How the radius of a corner is changing.
- When the corner is over (before you can see the exit)
All whilst encouraging you to maximise your vision by looking as far ahead as possible (that’s where the vanishing point always hides).
So you get now that you can be a lot smoother if you know ahead of time, where the road goes, how tight the turn is and how it is changing camber. The only real thing left is road surface and as this encourages you to look as far in front as possible, well, two birds one stone!!!
So lets look at this one at a time:
Whether the road is straight or turning: When the road is straight the vanishing point is in the middle of the road. Simple.
Which direction the road is turning: The vanishing point moves to the side of the road that the direction of the turn is in. Simple.
How tightly the road is turning: You can tell how tight a corner is by how far outside (or if outside) of the road the vanishing point moves. To explain this further a gently curve to the right will move the vanishing point to the right , but both sides of the road will curve and vanishing point will move along way from the straights centre line. However in a really tight corner to the right the vanishing point will be up against the right hand side of the straight and only the left hand edge will appear to curve.
How the radius of the corner is changing: This is easy, as the vanishing point moves towards the centre of the road the corner is straightening out, as it moves to the side it is tightening up.
A fact you should know now is that when you are in a corner you will turn (we should say Arc so you don’t confuse your direction with your turn point and therefore line) toward the vanishing point, turning more as the point moves toward the edge and less as it moves toward the centre.
When the corner is over: Simple, when the corner is over the Vanishing point will move into the centre and away from you RAPIDLY.
Ok, so now you are saying “How the Hell am I supposed to process all those rules while I am riding!!!!!” and this is why you really must have your lines sorted out and set in your mind before you start to worry about the vanishing point, because otherwise it will just screw you up completely.
The reason it will screw you up completely is because you DON’T process all these rules while you are riding, you process just one rule.
CHASE THE VANISHING POINT
- As it moves away from you accelerate
- As it moves toward you slow down
- Link its movement to your throttle hand
- When it suddenly jumps away, you’ve reached your TURN POINT (you’ll see the exit in the next second!!! Trust me!!!).
That simple, DON’T USE IT TO DICTATE YOUR LINE but use it to dictate your speed and acceleration.
CHASE THE VANISHING POINT. After a little practice it will become something you don’t need to think about, it will move away and you will chase by opening up the throttle, it will come closer and you will slow down, it will move right and you will get ready to turn right, it will move left and you will get ready to turn left.