“Well, I guess that’s just the way it’s gonna’ be now,” I thought. “I’ve hit 60 and I suppose it was inevitable I’d begin to piss myself.”
Such are some of the perhaps-unexpected insights of what’s becoming a long career in motorcycle journalism. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Not too long ago, I got to fly to San Luis Obispo, courtesy of Kawasaki, so that I could ride the new Ninja 650 and report on it for Common Tread.
Since the Central Coast of California’s been having an epic winter, I definitely kept an eye on the weather leading up to the launch. I brought rain gear, which I didn’t really need except for warmth.
But, the morning of the ride dawned at 28°. So I needed all my little cold-weather gear tricks.
For example, I have this fleece neck tube that protects my neck from wind blast. And as a base layer, I wore this great one-piece winter cycling overall that I first bought back in 2002, to wear on (bicycle) training rides on the Isle of Man ‘Mountain’ course. It’s basically an insulated leotard that covers me from chest to ankles. The entire front of it is wind- and waterproof, while the back is breathable. It’s got a front zipper for ease of entry but the only real flaw is that the zipper doesn’t go quite far enough down, so it’s almost impossible to pee without stripping it off the top of your body. I guess serious cyclists don’t want zippers anywhere near their junk.
I was grateful for the fairly large soft armor pads in the Spidi jeans I’d been given for the photo shoot. The armor also functioned as insulation for my knees, which often get cold under such conditions. But to further protect my legs from wind-chill, I layered rain pants over the jeans.
Last but not least, I fit those charcoal ‘hand-warmer’ packets under my gloves in the wrist area, and dropped one oversized ‘pocket-warmer’ down the front of that cycling overall, which produced a warm glow right at my center of mass.
Thus ensconced, I embarked on a group ride with nine other motorcycle journalists and a handful of Kawasaki employees. Kawi’s Jeff Herzog led us towards the first photo stop, where Brian J. Nelson was waiting with a Big Lens. I’d say I was one of the few writers who wasn’t cold.
By lunch time, the sun had warmed us up enough that the ride was downright pleasant.
A catered lunch was served in some kind of rec building at Fort Hunter Liggett, an active military base at the top of the mountains above Big Sur. That entailed stopping to register all the riders with the Military Police at the main gate.
There was a line of people seeking admission, so I took the opportunity presented by a convenient porta-potty. Rather than strip off my bulky jacket, I just unzipped it, unzipped the cycling ’tard and, with some difficulty pulled it down far enough that, if I stretched my dick as far as practical upwards, I could just direct a stream of pee into the grey plastic rotomolded urinal. Target acquired. Open fire.
I thought I was done. I was sure I was done, but as I walked into the MP post, I felt that tell-tale warmth in the crotch area that always means… yes, you’ve pissed yourself.
I looked down to check whether there was an incriminating wet spot, and was relieved (no pun intended) to see there was not. I assumed that the wind- and waterproof cycling base layer was sealing it against my body.
And, as I waited to present my ID, I pondered and then came to accept that this was the new reality of life as a (nearly) senior citizen, surrounded by a cadre of motorcycle journos who, collectively, averaged about half my age.
“You punks don’t know what ignominies await,” I thought. Or some such thing.
Once we were all approved—no terrorists among us—we rode a mile to the lunch stop. Throughout lunch I kept glancing down at my crotch to confirm that what felt like a good sized puddle hadn’t penetrated my base layer to betray my incontinence on my jeans. I imagined a future when, even on nice days, I’d have to begin dressing by pulling on Depends.
It was well into the afternoon before I realized, “Wait a minute, it’s still warm. If it was pee, it would be cold and wet by now.”
That’s when it dawned on me that the warmth was from the charcoal pocket warmer I’d dropped down into those bib overalls. I’d forgotten all about it as I peed, and it must’ve just slipped down from my belly to my crotch when I opened the zipper.
Those things are great, by the way. Totally recommend them for winter rides. Just remember where you’ve stuffed ‘em.