Your number one priority before setting out on a ride, is to make sure you don't experience any mechanical issues along the way. The best way to ensure you won't experience any mechanical errors is to have your bike properly and professionally assembled. Having your bike looked over by a professional not only makes your bike more reliable, it will allow you to ride with confidence. After its initial assembly, we also suggest all cyclist get their bike tuned up at least once a year in the spring.
A helmet, lights, and a bell are three must haves for city riding. A helmet keeps you safe, a set of lights help cars see you, and a bell helps pedestrians hear you. Make sure you have a white light on the front, and red on the back. Just like a car. This will make your movements more predictable for passing vehicles.
Ride in the bike lane whenever there's one available. Separating yourself from traffic is by far the best way to remain safe while riding. With that being said, even when you are in the bike lane you need to be aware of your surrounds, and always ride defensively. There's always the possibility that a hazard could present itself inside your lane.
Bicycles are classified as vehicles, meaning you need to obey the laws of the road just like any other car. Make sure you ride with traffic, stop at lights and stop signs, and be aware of other cars. It's important to be especially aware of parked vehicles, as drivers are less likely to be looking for you when opening their doors.
Your first ride in the city can be intimidating. But, you'll be amazed at how easy it is once you get going. So get out there, get exploring, and have fun!