Going for a bike ride should be as easy as hopping on your bike, right? Somehow it has become so complicated. So here is my how to guide to prepare for a ride.
1. Decide you want to ride and approximately how long you want to ride.
2. Assess the weather. What does it look like outside? Is it cold? Warm? Hot? Windy? Could it rain? How will the weather vary over the course of your ride? Does it look great now but the forecast predicts rain or snow?
3. Based on step two, collect appropriate riding gear.
4. Put on selected gear.
5. Remember that it’s been a few days since you groped your bike. Decide to go check your bike and assess if it is prepared for the ride you have in store. Tires fully inflated? Chain look clean and well functioning? If all looks good, proceed to step 6. If not, air up your tires, change tubes, or clean and/or fix your chain.
6. Remember that you will need sustenance for your ride. Return inside to collect two water bottles. Clean water bottles. Fill one with water and contemplate for a few minutes if you should fill the second with water or if your ride will be long enough or challenging enough to need an electrolyte sports drink. Fill second bottle. Grab your favorite ride snack and tuck it into your back jersey pocket. Remember the time you bonked and decide to grab an extra one, just in case.
7. Take your water bottles to your bike, before you ride off and forget them.
8. Look for your cell phone. Once found, place in another back jersey pocket.
9. Find keys and cash (Always have a few bucks on you. You never know.) Take both of these to your saddle bag, on the back of your bike – as you really wouldn’t want these to somehow fly out of a back jersey pocket.
10. Remember that you’re suppose to stretch before you ride, or you’ll pay for it for the next few days. Return inside, remove items from back jersey pockets so they don’t get crushed, and stretch. Return items to your jersey pockets.
11. Use the restroom one last time.
12. Remember after you’ve pulled your shorts back up that you haven’t used any chamois butter. Contemplate whether that is really necessary. Remember the time you didn’t. Pull down shorts, apply chamois butter, pull shorts back up. Make a face. (This last part isn’t necessary but I find that it’s hard not to.)
13. Put helmet on, sunglasses, and gloves. (skull cap and ear muffs if cold). Put on cycling shoes and clomp over to your bike.
14. Hop on bike, clip in and remember that you had intended to adjust your seat height before your next ride so that you are more comfortable. Un-clip and hop off bike.
15. Retrieve tool from saddle bag and adjust seat height. Return tool to saddle bag.
16. Hop back on bike. Clip in. Assess whether you’ve adjusted it enough. If not, return to step 14. If yes, congratulations!!! You are finally ready to go for a ride!!
Of course you can go for a ride without doing all of these steps, but I don’t recommend it!