I was riding one day this week with my regular group, a bunch of roadie friends who do an early morning 20-mile loop. While on the back half of our route, I spotted a flash of brown leather, a guy's wallet laying in the street. Circling back, I picked it up and took it to a nearby police station. It was real handy to get my good deed for the day knocked out so early in the morning. I didn't have to be nice to anyone at all after that.
Now I have no idea how long it had been there, but I know any number of cars had passed that spot before me and no one had seen it. A whole bunch of motorists had missed what stood out clearly to a guy on a bike. It reminded me of the earlier post where everyone chimed in about the kinds of interesting things you find riding your bike, as well as the guy I talked to when I was riding on Florida's Gulf Coast who told me he had found an $8000 Rolex while he was riding. For sure you can find good stuff when you ride when you keep your eyes on the ground.
There is another benefit to this too. Fewer flat tires. The people I know who always seem to be finding stuff when they ride are also the ones who get the fewest flats. That's because when they're looking down, keeping their eyes on the ground in front of them, they are also seeing the glittery stuff that indicates broken glass, as well as spotting in enough time to be able to dodge all the screws, wires, potholes and sewer grates that can wreck your tires or worse, wreck you and your bike.
So when you ride, sure, look around and enjoy the scenery. But also take the time to scan what's ahead of you on the ground. Chances are you can help yourself -- either by finding some treasure or else avoiding some trouble.