We need a pre-ride checklist!

My wife has ridden in the Hill Country Ride for AIDS the last two years, and has started training for the ride again this year. Today, some friends were planning to ride some hills near Dripping Springs, about 15 miles west of here. Since it’s our favorite area ride, we said we’d come along.

But the day dawned sunny and cold. Cold in Central Texas in February is in the mid-30sF. Our friend Scott, who was organizing the ride, called to suggest we hold off until 10 a.m., when the temperature was supposed to get a bit higher. We were all for that.

I dressed and started loading up the bikes around 9, but we were still on the fence about a ride. Then our friend Susie called. She said she would be on the ride this morning, and wanted to know if we would be, too. We haven’t seen Susie for months, and since this was a good way to catch up, we said yes! and bustled around the house and garage, getting everything ready.

The bikes were on the car. The shoes and helmets were in the back. Our water bottles were filled. I even remembered to bring the floor pump. We hopped in and drove off.

About five miles from home, Pat said she would call Scott, and let him know when we would arrive at the starting point. She looked around, then started rummaging around the car. “I can’t find my phone!” she said, with some urgency.

stormThe phone was a brand new Blackberry Storm we’d just bought on Friday. Pat tried retracing her steps.

“I had it in my hand in the kitchen,” she said. “I think I must have put it down on the counter when I went to get my protein shake [her usual pre-ride meal].”

Since we always ride with cell phones, I pulled over to the side of the road for a more thorough inspection. We looked between the seats, under the seats, in the back, on the roof. But if it had been left on the roof, it could be in the road anywhere between here and back home. I called her number with my cell. Couldn’t hear any ring. We hopped back in the car and I did a U-turn.

Back at home, it wasn’t in the kitchen. Pat was now sure she’d left it on the roof of the car, and was walking back up the street, searching in vain. I did another check of the interior of the car, continually calling her number with my cell.

Finally, I heard the notes of “Fur Elise” coming faintly from somewhere inside the car. It took two more calls, but I finally found it wedged between her seat and the transmission hump. A very relieved Mrs. Noob got back in the car, and we headed for Dripping Springs again.

She tried calling Scott, to tell him we’d be late. But she’s still having trouble with the fancy new 3G phone. She couldn’t read the icons on its screen. Then, she had problems reading the list of contact numbers she’d stored.

“I left my reading glasses in the house,” she said.

“We’re not going back again,” I replied.

Eventually, she left messages for both Scott and Susie, telling of our predicament. But it turned out Susie was running late, too. When we got to the parking lot, there she was, just getting her bike off the car rack. “Scott left ten minutes ago,” she said.

The three of us set off. The temperature had climbed to the upper 40s, and there was no wind. We had a very nice ride, but when it was over, we made a resolution.

We’re going to come up with a checklist to make sure we don’t leave anything behind.

Is this something you’ve ever tried? If so, what items are on it? And where do you keep the checklist so you don’t forget it?


  1. tracywilkins says

    That was me this morning trying to leave for work. It was 25 degrees, but expected to get into the low 50’s later. I wore my ski mittens, but needed to take a lighter pair of gloves for the ride home. The first glove was safely tucked in the top of my bag where it belonged, but the second was missing in action! I tore the stinking house up looking for it, and finally found it on the third pass where it had fallen out of my bike bag and was laying inside my open gym bag where the two had been stacked over the weekend. Geesh! Talk about getting a guy’s blood pressure up for a while this morning.

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