|Soon, this will be you!|
- Gather your gear. It's best not to wait until the night before to make sure you have everything you need and that it will fit in whatever thing you choose to use. If you travel light, packing might not take long. If you need to bring a change of clothes, are transporting groceries or maybe are traveling with kids in tow, take some time to plan the space you'll need to transport stuff by bike.
- Choose your route. Know how to get where you need to go. After taking some time to consider a couple of different routes over the last week, decide on one. In choosing a route, consider the safety, distance, speed of traffic (bike or automobile) and time requirements and constraints. Going by bike may take more or less time than your typical mode of transit. Consider this in your planning! To help with the trips, consider bringing a paper map, memorizing the route or use gps applications a smart phone or other device.
Bags? Check! Basket? Check! Ready to ride!
- Go for a (short) test ride. Combine1. and 2., and the
experience is likely to be more enjoyable. Pack it all up and go for a
(short) test ride around the neighborhood or maybe the first bit of the
route you choose. This will help you become a little bit more familiar
with how it feels to ride with your pack, crate or pannier; how it might
feel to manuever in traffic; what riding in a neighborhood street
versus a commercial corridor or on a path feels like. Becoming familiar
with a route can increase your comfort.
My experience: Every time I ride it's different, and anything I can do to make my experience more comfortable helps me stay safer and have more fun. A test ride is a good idea to embark on when planning a new route or ride. It can give you a feel what to expect. And, if it's a short ride, it's a great way to go for a short ride with a friend! Invite someone who hasn't been on a bike for a while.
- Check the forecast. I would be remiss to leave this out! No
matter how much excitement is building for the inaugural ride, consider
rescheduling if there is a good chance of poor weather. Riding in the
rain may start the day or experience off on the wrong foot (or pedal).
Forecasts for strong storms or extreme weather may not be the best way
to start something new. There's no shame in postponing your ride until a
Prepared for the weather.