By nature I’m the type of person who can turn a simple thing — a bike ride to the store to get ketchup instead of a car trip — into a project requiring tons of time and maybe a new bike with the special ketchup adapter. But it doesn’t have to be that way. No! I’ve found a few things make a lot of difference.
Flat pedals change everything. No one wants to slip through the grocery store on sketchy road cleats. Mountain shoes are way better, but nothing beats flat pedals for the ability to just jump on the bike with whatever shoes and get somewhere. Modern mountain bike pedals with the pins that’ll shred your shins if you’re not careful are especially nice. Your shoes stay put and they’re a big, supportive size.
An easy-to-use lock is great. I have a very heavy duty lock that could probably take a bullet, but it’s complicated to use. I much prefer to take a simple cable lock for most trips. On a recent brewery ride, my buddy pulled a six foot cable and padlock out of her bag. So prepared, and so easy to use! One note: if you don’t use that cable lock all the time, it’s a good idea to check the combination before starting your trip.
Which brings us to bags, either on your bike or your person. This is something that I can get really hung up on, and I have quite a few of each. Lately I’ve come to believe that a good-sized backpack or messenger will get most jobs done. Yes, it’s nice to have a bag on the bike that’ll hold a 12-pack and some other groceries, but so will most backpacks and messenger bags. The point of this post is that you can probably do it with a bike in your garage and a bag in your closet. Don’t shoot for perfection the first time. Shoot for getting it done and having a good time.
A saddle you can stand to ride for a few miles without padded shorts is important, as are decent (not bunchy, probably not cotton) underpants. Makes all the difference.
Very last thing: a little recon goes a long way. Your trip will be more like a fun bike ride and less like an errand if you already know the route you’ll take and where the bike rack is located.