One thing I forgot to mention about the "shakedown" ride was the little spill I took. My bike is equipped with peddles that my shoes clip into with cleats. Most touring bikes and even normal road and speed bikes have this same type of system that allows you the added power of being able to lift the peddles as well as pushing them. It is a great system but does take some getting used to. I have been practicing and feel confident with them, but they can cause problems on a sudden stop.
On an unloaded bike, I can balance for several seconds even at a total stop. But on a loaded bike as soon as you stop - it wants to go down! I had such a situation on the shakedown ride when a driver making a left turn either didn't see me or figured I would stop for her. I managed to stop the bike quickly but I was still clipped into the peddles when the bike decided to go down. Thankfully I unclipped just as I was about to hit the ground and didn't go all the way down. But I did fall enough to get a couple nice bruises on my legs.
The woman said sorry as she continued on and I decided to chalk it up to a good learning experience. The bruises will heal soon and I made a commitment to never ride a bike with cleats without a helmet. I recommend this advice to all riders whose shoes are attached to the bike in any fashion. The other lesson here (that I learned long long ago) is that drivers do stupid things when it comes to bikers. My advice to all bikers reading this is to follow the rules of the road and always assume the drivers will do something stupid. You won't be disappointed.