We all go through phases, but I seem to go through more than the average bicycle rider. I cycle through phases so fast that I eventually get back to the beginning, like the 12-year Chinese zodiac.
I’m a bunny, by the way.
My first bicycle phase was steel bikes and wool jerseys because that’s all there was in 1982. That phase lasted until 2008, when I purged all wool and bought a carbon bike that was 100% carbon and made fully of genuinely pure carbon, all of it.
About that time I sold my steel Eddy Merckx Leader and my backup, a Masi Gran Criterium. Handlebar shifters were neat, I decided.
Earlier this year I bought a couple of wool jerseys, and on cool mornings they reminded me of why I really like them. They aren’t so tight, they feel great, they warm when it’s cool and they cool when it’s warm.
I had an appointment in Hollywood yesterday so I threw on a woolly over my t-shirt. Then I glanced out the window and saw the gray rain threats, so I stuffed a raincoat and wool cap into my backpack. A few drops of rain hit me on the 23-mile ride there. It was cool, the jersey was perfect, and the tailwind had me giddy.
After I finished my business I got ready to leave and the skies opened up. By the time I had put my raincoat on and rolled outside it was pouring worse than the sweat off your obese neighbor wedged into the next-door-airplane-seat.
Plus, the temperature dropped hugely, so it wasn’t rain, it was cold rain. I pulled the wool cap over my ears and started pedaling.
In minutes my pants were drenched all the way through to my parts and my shoes were waterlogged. The jacket, sold to me by Baby Seal at the Bike Palace, worked wonders, but after a half-hour of relentless rain, and water walls being sprayed by the passing cars on LaBrea, the freezing wet started to get down the neck and into the raincoat.
Thirty more minutes and my inwards were as soaked as my outwards. My hands and feet were going numb and the rain kept pounding. It didn’t let up until Torrance, and then the sun broke through on the first part of Silver Spur. It reminded me that when you’re in a car you’re cozy and warm but you don’t get the joy, the incredible joy, that happens when the rain stops beating you and the sun comes out.
But that wool jersey and wool cap had kept my core and my head as warm as company in bed, even though soaked.
I got back and unzipped the rain jacket. Out in a rush came the warm, nostalgic smell of sweat-and-wet wool. I breathed it in. It didn’t smell all that great. But I didn’t complain.
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