Most of us who ride know the experience. The sun is shining, the temperature is around 20°, the bike is running perfectly, you are riding a road you enjoy, the bike responds exactly as you intend and you feel well physically and mentally.
I emphasized the last criteria because, in my opinion, it is a critical factor in riding safely. The other criteria can be absent, but the final factor must be present.
Yesterday was a perfect day and I planned a long ride in the afternoon. Due to some hard physical work the day before I was sore and tired. …but the day was perfect. Thus, despite a lack of enthusiasm I rode – because I did not want to miss a warm spring afternoon. I was not in the right mood and I was sore.
After 20 km I turned around and returned home. I felt clumsy and awkward and I was not a safe rider. I have a suspicion that many riders do not appreciate the importance of feeling right before they ride. Many of us will ride because the day is perfect or because riding companions are riding. We are forcing it and we should not.
All of this with a caveat of in my opinion.