Ride Smart: A Complete Biking Checklist

Prep for your next ride with our Pro Tips biking checklist.

Once you learn to ride a bike, you never forget. How many times have you heard that little nugget? It’s true enough, but it’s also somehow lacking. It hardly captures the true exhilaration of the ride. Think back. Can you remember that first time you rode for more than a few feet? The hesitant way you pedaled and stopped? The clumsy fumblings of mounting and dismounting? And finally, that absolute feeling of freedom when it all clicked and you took control of the machine beneath you, making it answer to your command? You never felt more free.

Oh man, if you didn’t just get chills you probably never learned to ride. Biking puts the entire world in front of you. It’s faster than walking, easier on the joints than running and can take you to places you can’t reach in a car. And the best part is, every ride offers something new. A new experience, a new view, a new you.

To get the most out of every ride, it’s best to be prepared, especially if you intend to spend the whole day in the saddle. Start with the bike itself. Make sure all its components work as expected and all nuts and bolts are tight.

Then move on to your safety. Even if you take nothing else with you, make sure you wear a properly fitted helmet. But your protection only really starts there. Sunscreen, lip balm, sunglasses, biking gloves and a compact first aid kit are all things that can be the difference between an outstanding experience and one that is somewhat less so.

What about water? Any way you can take water with you is a good thing, but consider the convenience provided by a hydration pack and corresponding hydration bladder. There’s no better way to keep the water out of the way until you need it while keeping it with you at all times.

So here are some recommendations for an unforgettable experience. Click to enlarge and print.

biking checklist