I know we've all done it. At some point you get to the trail head or meeting spot and suddenly realize something is missing.
The other day I saw a guy pull up to the Veloway, get out of his truck, look in the back, scratch his head, get back into his truck and leave. A couple of his friends rode up and were having a good laugh while waiting on him to come back. It seems he had forgotten his bike.
I don't know if I've forgotten my bike, but I know I'm guilty of leaving the occasional glove, backpack or sun glasses behind. Fortunately it doesn't happen very often since I leave all my bike stuff in my truck. My most recent transgression was leaving my Camelbak at the office so I simply rode without it. As long as the water fountain at the Veloway is working it's not too much of problem. I've also ridden sans gloves and that felt really strange. I've noticed quite a few roadies don't wear gloves, but it's pretty much part of the uniform for mountain bikers.
Obviously riding without a bike (or a front wheel, which I imagine gets left behind the most) is impossible, but what about a helmet...
I've only done so once, and it wasn't because it was missing. Instead, I just thought it looked stupid. The people who introduced me to mountain biking insisted on certain decorum from those with whom they rode, and helmets were mandatory. However, since I was riding solo this particular morning I decided that a dew rag was much more fashionable than that big old bulky block of styrofoam strapped to my head. Not sure if it was Karma or what, but (true story) I did not get more than 500 feet down the greenbelt before I hit a rock and flipped right over the handlebars. I limped my way back up Spyglass to the apartment and got that big old bulky helmet out of the closet.
Secondary to a helmet for me is eye protection. I will not ride without a helmet and I will certainly think twice about riding without eye protection. I've had some close calls with "pokey branches" jutting out along side the trail and one good jab could certainly ruin your day and perhaps the rest of your life.
If you showed up to a ride and suddenly realized you didn't have your helmet, would you ride anyway? What is on your list of "go, no go" items necessary for a ride?