I have an obsessive side, partly because if I didn't I would forget even more things than I already do. I have a long morning checklist, and also a checklist for going on a fun bike ride. Nothing ruins a ride like finding out you have forgotten something important. Read on to see what is included on my checklist...
- Wallet - always good to have money and a credit card, just in case. Also, if I something happens to me, the authorities will be able to identify me.
- Cell phone - one of the reasons I got a cell phone was for bike emergencies. Being able to call for help is comforting. I also like to take photographs in warmer weather.
- Lights - I use lights on cloudy days and at night. Some of my fun rides start off in the early evening and end when it is dark.
- Water bottle - I have to remember to top off my water bottle before I leave the house.
- Extra layer - this includes rain gear if rain is predicted. Extra gear is especially important in the spring and fall when the weather tends to be more unpredictable.
- Map - I prefer maps to using my phone for directions. I like to be able to see the big picture.
- Snack - it is essential to eat on longer rides, sometimes I bring dried fruit, sometimes trail mix.
- Pen and index card - I like to make little notes to myself if an idea comes up. A pen and index card work better than my phone.
- High Visibility Vest - I always want to be seen when I am riding.
- Glasses - my reading glasses help when I am examining a map.
- Sunglasses - I keep a pair of sunglasses in each of my back packs, just to be sure I always have a pair.
- Clear glasses - for evening and night riding, clear glasses provide protection from bugs and dust.
- Sunblock - a friend of mine recently reminded to always wear sun block, even on cloudy days.
- Pump - I carry a spare inner tube and bike tools, but they are useless without a pump.
I always put a check mark next to each item when I am going over the list. Just glancing at the list is not enough.
Recently I was reading a wonderful mystery by Ian Sansom called 'Westmoreland Alone.' The main character is Swanton Morley, the People's Professor. Here is a passage about what he always brings along on his adventurers --
'Well, I just happen to have a little something with me,' he said, proudly producing a small trenching tool from his jacket pocket. 'Always carry one with me.' (Among the many other things he claimed always to carry with him, depending on our predicament, was a hunting knife, a penknife, string, a compass , a flint for making fires, a complete first aid kit, a good book, a pack of cards, a whistle, a harmonica, and a change of underclothes.)
Professor Morley and I both believe in being prepared.