Don't let a forgotten item interrupt your big weekend.Are you headed to an out-of-town bicycle event this summer, or taking the bikes along on your vacation? If you are, it is very helpful to be organized when packing, so a forgotten item does not distract from your riding.  

In my early years of traveling to weekend bicycling events, it seemed I was always leaving something essential at home. One time it was a seat bag, left on my other bike.  For others, it was not having the right clothing.  As our family grew, we might forget a child's helmet or cycling shoes.  The worst case I have seen is the bike being pulled out of the trunk minus its front wheel (still propped up against the wall in their garage).   At a recent Midwest Tandem Rally in northern Indiana, the weekend was the first cool temperatures after weeks of record highs, and many teams arrived ready for riding in the "expected" humid 90's, not a windy, 50 degree, 9:00 AM start.  

Everybody lives in a time-crunched schedule today.  When a weekend road trip means packing on Thursday night for the drive after work on Friday, your mind is trying to be in three places at once.  That is why I have relied on a road trip checklist for many years. And while your event expo tent may be an easy place to replace a forgotten helmet, not every small town on the Lake Michigan coast will have 700c tires at 7:00am on a Saturday. 
A checklist is also a big help for the those items you might overlook, like weather-related clothing.  While the Internet makes it easier than ever to check the upcoming weather at your destination, the checklist also reminds you to pack rain and cool weather gear to cover whatever Mother Nature sends your way.
A copy of my full list is on the Bicycle Garage Indy website, and here is an outline to build your own:
  • Bike & On-Bike Gear
  • Tools & Spares (in car)
  • Clothing for on the bike
  • Clothing for off  the bike
  • Hydration & Food
  • First Aid
  • Overnight Gear
  • Cell Phone, Camera & Electronics
Finally, don't forget your ride's pre-registration letter.  This can save you, and the ride organizers, a lot of time at check-in.  And if you do forget something, don't obsess on it – have a plan B and enjoy your weekend.