It was damp and it was chilly.
I was feeling sorta silly,
    Dressed in skimpy lycra shorts and short-sleeved top.
Top? Thin wicking polyester.
Jill looked like her gramma dressed her,
    Adding layers till her (muffled) voice cried "STOP!"

Southern California weather...
You'll see girls in lace and leather
    Summer, Winter, Spring and Autumn (don't think Fall).
Strapless blouses, scarves of feather,
Navel rings complete with tether,
    While they're walking dogs or browsing at the mall.

I'd have donned my fuzzy jacket,
But I hadn't thought to pack it;
    I just simply had to grin and bear the brunt...
Drippy freezing Arctic breezes
Lead to headaches, coughs and sneezes.
    I prefer a fairly static, dry warm front.

Here in Southern California,
Almost everyone will warn ya:
    Early Autumn days are often very warm,
But the nights are less than balmy...
No one ought to have to call me
    To remind me like a nagging old schoolmarm:

"Wayne, you need to bring a sweater.
Or a jacket might be better.
    Don't forget those heavy pants and extra socks."
I am not an adolescent,
My brain's not (yet) obsolescent –
    Though it's racked up lots of miles and some hard knocks.

I just missed a cue that morning;
It turned cold without much warning.
    I had chills and goose bumps, plus my skin turned blue.
Are recumbent folks more gracious
Than those guys with seats less spacious?
    Well, perhaps they are, but they like joshing, too.

Some, concerned, asked, "Aren't you freezing?"
Some bad boys were rudely teasing,
    Not so much the 'more mature' guys as the jocks.
I thanked empathetic 'givers';
I endured the jokes and shivers.
    Nick was quiet, but then he forgot his socks.

Tired of everybody's chiding,
I suggested, "Let's start riding.
    Folks, it's way past time that we should hit the road."
As I speeded up, air flowing
Added to that damp wind blowing;
    I've felt warmer, I declare, on days it snowed!

But the mist was lifting, thinning,
As the sun seemed to be winning,
    Burning off the haze, much brighter as it rose.
Plus the exercise was warming;
Then the sight of people farming
    Soon reminded me how Autumn often goes.

By the time we stopped to potty
Morning mist had gotten spotty;
    I'd regained some circulation in my hands.
Older cyclists seemed more limber;
Creaking joints had better timbre,
    As compelled by bloated bladders, up they rose.

Bladders voided, fluids egested,
Warmer blooded folks divested
    Hi-viz microfiber parkas and the like.
Sweatpants, furry hats and grungies,
Stuffed in packs or held by bungees –
    They were now just bulky burdens on a bike.

We rode off. The wind was shifting;
Coastal mist continued lifting,
    As the temp increased from shiver up to mild.
Fast and slow folks separated;
From the back I raced, elated –
    Speeding, sprinting, spinning, grinning like a child.

Roads warmed up, the dampness dropping.
Other bikers started stopping
    To remove their windproof jackets – but not me.
As the solar radiation
Killed the chill, that odd elation
    Warmed me heart and soul and body; I felt FREE!

Then I slowed, concerned with 'herding'.
Would my route sheet's cryptic wording
    Keep rambunctious rambling lambs from getting lost?
Some had chosen not to heed it;
I doubt most had deigned to read it.
    Well, I thought, at least its value's worth its cost...

As we rode, it got much warmer.
We saw more than one poor farmer
    Putting irrigation piping into place.
Santa Ana winds were blowing;
Bare arms, legs and shoulders showing,
    Sunscreen soon was coating more than hands and face.

As more skin began appearing,
Did I smirk or stoop to jeering?
    Did I rudely point or say, "I told you so!"?
Sneer at woolies crudely bundled
As the owners cruised or trundled,
    One sleeve flapping in the breeze? Oh, heavens, no.

Was I chuckling, smugly smiling?
Was I quick to start reviling
    Guys who'd joshed and teased me earlier that day?
No. I spared them my derision;
They had made the best decision,
    Faced with swiftly changing climates underway.

Unlike surfers or cardplayers,
Cyclists need to dress in layers,
    And then add 'em or subtract 'em as they roll.
When thermometers start dipping,
Dampish Autumn winds start whipping,
    Even hints of hypothermia take a toll.

Though my outfit rarely varies,
And I'm not the type who carries
    Piles of extra clothes and raingear just in case,
From now on, I'll pay attention
When the weathercasters mention
    Damp cool mornings... Hey, at least I'll save some face!

POW Index

Last updated Oct 20 2006