In a previous post about cars I admitted that I wasn't being sufficiently careful about watching for cars. Today I decided to work on that.
I rode the 24" from the gym to an outdoor basketball court where I worked on figure 8s, mounts, stalls and rocking using drills I've described before. Compared to the 29", the 24' feels twitchy and less stable in the wheel. That's great for maneuvering, since you can twist and turn the wheel quickly, and less rotating mass means the wheel is easier to stop and restart during stalls and rocks. It is also a size that I feel confident free mounting without holding on to the wheel (Megan's Mount) like I do with the 29".
The ride to and from the court is mostly on paved roads through a quiet neighborhood with little traffic, so that's where I chose to practice looking behind me. I started by just looking over my right shoulder, then my left. Then I tried to actually see and focus on something like a traffic sign or parked car I had passed to the left, and then the right. I tried twisting my shoulders a bit to allow more of a look behind, and I tried to keep looking back for 3-4 seconds. It didn't take long before I felt ok looking behind me on both sides, and wasn't roaming too far off a straight track down the road.
Next I need to practice looking behind me when I'm on a dirt path, or steeper inclines or declines. What isn't hard on paved flats often becomes much more of a challenge on hilly, rocky paths.