I had a two week hiatus from bike riding due to a concussion, and let me tell you, a lot can change in two weeks! On my first bike ride, I noticed several things that made me slow up and be more aware of what could potentially be a hazard. These common-logic thoughts can be applied to any paved surface.
1. Nuts! Acorns were littering the trail on some tricky areas (think of coming down an awesome hill, right before you hit the tunnel). Fallen nuts can be a real issue. Your tires, your speed, and the angle which you’re turning can all add up to a nice wipe-out if you aren’t observant and careful.
2. Beleave It: Falling leaves are starting to happen more and more. This will be something I’ll mention again in the fall. Wet leaves on the roads or trail can be slippery. Be observant and cautious, otherwise you might find yourself hugging the pavement.
3. Grasshoppers! They aren’t so much a hazard as something that can be pretty annoying and also startling to new riders. They just sit out on the trail without a care in the world, until you come up to them. You’ll either squish them or scare them, no big deal. However, they really pack a punch when they hit you in the leg, shoulder, or face.
4. Gnats! Ah, the disgusting creatures that like to swarm in large groups. I inhaled some coming up the incline from the wooded area after the hwy 9 bridge. My friend Clara was lucky to miss all my hacking/spitting while I tried to dislodge the little critters from the back of my throat. There is (currently) a swarm under the Highway 9 overpass as well. They're not so much a hazard, as an annoyance.
5. Weeds. Look out for especially the very tall ones that may or may not be cut, as you are entering or leaving a corner. (This is more relevant while on a paved trail and perhaps while road-biking). They can block your view of oncoming pedestrian/bike traffic, so be aware, and stick to your side of the trail.
6. Be Ready for Weather. Confusing temperatures are a definitely a frustration for anyone wanting to go for a ride. We’ve had spans of hot weather, followed immediately by mornings that were cool and crisp. Being aware of what you’ll be riding in, will keep you comfortable. Common sense dictates that your fingers will get cold in crisp temps. Wear light gloves. Overall, it’s good to have the concept of being able to easily add/remove layers as necessary. Keep water with you regardless of the temperature, but it’s especially important on hot days.