The sky was filled with white puffy cumulus clouds. I was determined this time to use my bicycle as a means of transportation to carry out an actual chore, not just as a means of exercise. I had a doctor's appointment at 2:30 about 2 miles away in Cambridge, which seemed like a good start.

So down I went into the basement and set about using my bicycle as a means of transportation. I pumped up the tires, got out my helmet, gloves, reflector vest, and ankle strips, opened the bulkhead door, dragged the bike out onto the driveway, mounted the panniers carrying my bike lock and cable, went back inside to close the bulkhead, and started putting on the rest of my gear.

Just as I was buckling my helmet, it started raining. I looked up. Nasty-looking bubbly dark clouds were overhead. I grit my teeth, put on my gloves and rode down the driveway. As I hit the street, the chain took a nip at my cuffs. In my distraction, I'd forgotten to put on the ankle strips. I stopped under a tree down the block to attach the Velcro tabs. The rain got heavier. And heavier. Shortly the gutters were streams 3 inches deep.

I couldn't wait it out; I had half an hour to get to my appointment. I rode back to my house, opened the bulkhead, dragged my dripping bike down the basement, closed the bulkhead, got in my car, and drove to my sodden appointment.

When I got out of the car at the clinic, the sky was filled with white puffy cumulus clouds.

When I got home after my appointment, the sky was still filled with white puffy cumulus clouds. I thought, "Well, maybe I can get some riding in anyway." Down I went into the basement, dragged my bike and all the rest out onto the driveway, put on vest, helmet, gloves, and ankle strips, and rode down the driveway and down the street.

I was planning only a short ride, less than 10 miles: on the street through Davis Square, on via the Linear Path to the Alewife T-Stop, and on via the Minuteman Bikeway to Arlington. I was on the Bikeway when I saw nasty-looking bubbly dark clouds ahead, with the little dark striations that signal heavy rain. I stopped at Spy Pond, put on my rain jacket, and started back. Minuteman Bikeway, Alewife, Linear Path, down College Avenue toward Davis Square.

As I was approaching the Somerville Theater, I stopped behind a car at the stop light and a gigantic Harley, all polished blue and chrome, pulled in next to me. The rider was a short, round guy with a beard and a black helmet. He looked up at me perched on my spindly city bike and said, perfectly friendly, "Nice ride you got there."

"Er, yeah." I said, taken aback. "I, uh, I was up at Spy Pond and saw the rain coming."

"Me too." He looked at my rear wheel. "Say, the straps on those bags are loose."

I looked. Sure enough, the straps were dangling where I'd pulled them to tighten the covers.

"You ought to keep 'em tied back, they'll get in your spokes. Although I suppose the wind will help keep them clear."

"Uh, yeah, thanks. I guess I'd better do something about that."

Slight pause. The stop light changed to green. I said hastily, "That's a Harley, isn't it? Cool!"

He looked away, a little uncomfortably. "Yeah." And, "I've got to get home before the rain starts."

He put his bike in gear and began to put-put along behind the string of cars heading into Davis Square. I put foot to pedal and followed.

The rain started shortly after I got home, drummed heavily for a half hour, and stopped. At sunset, the sky was filled with red puffy cumulus clouds.