You know I love riding my bike around New Orleans. It’s flat as a pancake here and the weather is always perfect for a ride, assuming you don’t mind thunderstorms and 100+ heat indices, which I don’t. But our streets are, in many places, spectacularly awful. We have some repaving projects, some even including facilities for bikes–Chartres, St. Claude, Gentilly, upper St. Charles, La Salle/Simon Bolivar, Loyola–but most streets are a mess of exposed streetcar tracks, potholes, loose gravel, ridges, and all various and sundry temporary patches. I was zipping Uptown tonight on Magazine after a day riding around the Quarter, Marigny, and Treme, and I just had to stop and take a picture of this special spot right off Julia. There used to be cobblestones under this latest layer of asphalt, it seems, and there’s a water main under there too, because the street is leaking here, filling that hole with water. That means wet gravel too–a cyclist’s nightmare. This isn’t some out-of-the-way place. This is one of the main arteries from downtown to Uptown! Julia Street is our fancy gallery row! Sheesh. A car sped through here while I was taking the picture, splashing me with that dirty water. I still have an open wound from that fall a few days ago, so I got back on the bike and avoided potholes the rest of the way, looking forward to an antibacterial scrub, wondering what it might be like to ride in a place where you don’t spend half your time monitoring the road quality.