It was another stormy day in New Orleans, but I really, really, really needed to ride my bike. That meant breaking one of my unofficial biking rules that I learned from my dad: never start a ride in the rain. No such choice today, so I put on my quick-dry skirt and raincoat, tied a plastic bag on the fancy leather saddle, rolled up my waterproof pannier (thank you, Ortlieb!,) and headed down to the Quarter to meet S. for dinner before joining other friends for Treme in the Treme. I avoided the rain until the end of my ride when I had to lock up quickly and head for some cover. I snapped this photo of folks doing the same, waiting out the rain underneath a balcony. I’ve never experienced rainstorms like the ones we get here in New Orleans. They are so thick, so heavy, and usually so brief. We all just duck under and wait. But tonight it was wait and wait and wait. My ride home started in a sprinkle and ended in a downpour. I’m talking a serious dumping of water, sky opening up, lightning that makes it look like the sun’s turned on, to borrow a phrase from N. Riding in this weather is really hard when you wear glasses and you’re nearsighted. I am gripping my bike with my whole body, remembering where my potholes are and reminded that that’s not enough: nights like these, you need to know where your piles of wet gravel are. (Hint: Magazine between Jackson and Washington is trouble, especially that strip of gravel in front of the Discount Zone.) For some reason, though, tonight it felt good to ride in that rain and just let myself get soaked. Some nights I just really need to ride my bike.