Going on a bike ride says some very important things about you as a person. It says that you are the kind of person who likes to ride a bike, for example. But it says more than that.
Much, much more.
It says that you are willing, in the name of doing something simple and fun, to purchase, assemble, and maintain an extraordinary array of equipment: shoes, socks, shorts, jersey, gloves, helmet, bottles, tire repair kit, tools, sunglasses, phone, GPS, ride route, food, and water.
And that’s only if you’re going on a short ride and don’t have something else you have to do afterward, like go back to work.
With the ridiculous amount of equipment required for riding, there is no shame in occasionally forgetting to bring something for a ride. Indeed, it’s amazing anyone ever remembers everything they need, and a testament to the OCD inclinations of cyclists of any stripe.
What you forget to bring for your ride, however, says some very interesting things about you. Subconscious things that only an expert in Jungo-Freudian psychology — i.e., me — can unravel and explain.
I shall do so now.
This item comes first, because it is the thing that more cyclists forget more often than any other thing: their biking shoes. And no wonder, for neglecting to bring your cycling shoes says that, subconsciously, you are uncomfortable with the highly-connected sensation that clicking in to your pedals — and hence your bike — brings.
The commitment of joining your body to your bike mirrors the commitments you are confronting elsewhere in your life, and forgetting your shoes shows that you are looking for escape — or at least respite — from these responsibilities. Essentially, deep within you, a part of you would rather risk having a metaphorical pedal spin around and crack your metaphorical shin than face a completely connected relationship.
In short, forgetting your shoes means you’re a feckless jerk.
Forgetting the correct shoes — bringing your road shoes to a mountain bike ride or vice versa — on the other hand, simply means that you’re a befuddled, middle-aged man. Don’t worry about it.
Forgetting one’s helmet is the second most-common thing cyclists forget to pack. Trust me on this; I have scientific studies that back it up. I just choose to not cite them.
What forgetting your helmet means is quite exciting, actually. As the center for thought, your brain is what you think of as the place for thinking. (That last sentence is very profound. I promise. Go read it again, as many times as necessary, until you agree.) It is the place where your perception of reality is housed. Your head represents, in effect, your understanding of the world.
Your helmet, quite naturally, is an object that literally protects your head, and as such, figuratively protects your worldview. Hence, by forgetting your helmet, you are subconsciously expressing a willingness to experience new ideas and philosophies. You are saying that you are willing to open up and encounter — in a non-defensive manner — other people’s points of view.
And this is a really awesome and liberating thing for you to do, because only by allowing new ideas in can you measure and understand your old ideas.
If, however, you forget your helmet consistently, it means that you are open to the idea of letting your skull get bashed in.
In dreams, hands represent labor. Wearing gloves means that you want to isolate or hide yourself from labor. Hence, forgetting your gloves means that you are concerned that you live a coddled, uxorious existence, abstracted away from the meaningful and manly (or womanly or whateverly) tasks that keep you close to the earth.
It means you are, at some level, tired of having so few callouses on your hands. You want to get your hands dirty. You want to grow crops. Or hunt for wild game and eat it raw.
Unless you’re vegan, in which case it just means you’re going to finish this ride with some new blisters.
What does forgetting your phone say about you? Oh, that one’s too easy.
Food and Water
Food and water are the very foundations of life. Without them you cannot live, any more than you can live without breathing. At least, so I’m given to understand, though I’ve never tried going without any of the three for very long, and hence cannot independently verify these assertions. For now, let’s give other sources of information the benefit of the doubt on this.
Presuming, then, that food and water are essential for life and that you have forgotten these essentials, you may now believe that you are subconsciously expressing a wish for death.
In this you would be totally wrong, which is why I am the expert and you are reading this.
Neglecting the essentials means that you have reached a new plane of existence; you have transcended the banal needs of the flesh and are now a being of light and wind.
Unless you are going to be out riding for more than 2.5 hours, in which case it means you’re going to bonk and have to either beg food off your riding buddies or soft-pedal it home.
Tubes and Tools
You have forgotten your tools, patch kit, pump, and a spare tube. What does this say about you? It says you’re a weight weenie, basically, and didn’t forget anything at all — you just didn’t bring any of that stuff because you figured if something broke, you could mooch off one of those of us who actually come prepared.
In other words, you’re not fooling anybody with that “I forgot” nonsense, buster. We all know that you never bring any tools on any ride.
Forgetting biking shorts means that deep inside, you’ve been wondering whether a chamois is really all that necessary. After all, your saddle is padded, right? Do you really need to have padded shorts, too?
In psychology, this translates to a deep-seated need you have to question authority. It means you want to reject the “because everyone else is doing it” mindset and find out for yourself what is — and isn’t — important in your life.
And the chamois is overrated, by the way. Try riding without one for a few weeks and you’ll wonder why you ever rode with one. (But I have not tried this myself.)
Forgetting socks doesn’t mean anything. You don’t really need them anyway.