When pilots go to fly a plane there is a pre-flight check before each and every flight. This is a wise practice for many things including driving and bicycling. As a case in point the story of my evening will illustrate. About 45-minutes ago I left the house for a bike ride. Planning to ride for an hour or so. The story actually starts a couple of weeks back when I picked up a new pair of bike shoes at a REI garage sale. The shoes were just a bit larger than those I had before and were much more comfortable.
This week I got around to putting the cleats on them and tonight I took them for a ride. Everything went well, for a while anyway. With the garage door closing behind me I pulled down the driveway, turned on the bike computer and heard the reassuring click, click as my left-foot and then right-foot clicked into the pedals. Things went quite well for a longish while. Riding around the neighborhood and down some of the local streets and through the park all was well. Fortunately I decided that before hitting the state highway I should make sure the new shoes released from the pedals properly. A flick of the ankle and nothing... more wiggling tugging pulling and nothing. The realization that the cleats weren't tightened down enough floods the mind at this moment.
Now there were a hundred, or at least two, thoughts that would have been very useful at that moment. The first would have been to keep riding. The mind, however, plays more tricks and focuses on the inevitable wreck that is coming. It doesn't take time to think that if you keep riding you can crash in the grass instead of the middle of the street. Nor does it tell you that if you worked at it you could get your foot out of the shoe and come to a more comfortable, if still awkward solution. Nope, the brain at this point is devoted to assessing just how much the coming encounter with the asphalt is going to hurt.
Fortunately I rode away with not more than a large raspberry on my knee. Next time out I think I'll spend a little more time on the equipment check. Especially when it is new equipment.