The League of American Bicyclists has a handy checklist to go over before every ride. It's pretty much the same for any vehicle but it always helps to review.
- A is for Air pressure. Also check the tire tread and sidewall for damage.
- B is for Brakes. Make sure you have 1/4 inch of brake material and your brake lever engages the brakes with an inch or more of travel before it touches the handle bar.
- C is Chain and all the things it touches. Make sure nothing is loose on the crankset or cassette.
- Quick is for Quick Release Skewers. Make sure they are closed snugly with the lever positioned so as to avoid snagging roots and branches.
- Check is for systems Check. Make sure shifters and brakes are working properly and there are no loose parts anywhere on the bike. Pay especial attention to all parts during the first few miles of the ride before you starting tuning out odd noises.
On Yer Bike!