Now that the good weather’s back (make physical contact with lignin-based organic vegetable matter) I’ve once again donned the tight lycra shorts and zip-up torso-hugging top and got back on the bike. After an absence of a few months I ‘m back on my 3-year old Allez Specialized racer, and feeling the adrenline rush of downhill descents and the build-up of lactic acid in the lungs and thighs on the ascent. Once the North London sububs give way to the flat leafy country lanes of South Hertfordshire, the noticeable decrease in traffic provides a sense of release and the endorphines get going. It’s not quite the same as racing past fields of sunflowers to match the colour of one’s jersey in rural Provence with the multi-coloured peloton in hot pursuit or popping open the champagne on the Champs-Elysée and getting a peck on each cheek from the luscious promtional girls, or the agonising ascent up the hairpin bend of an Alpine or Pyrenean mountain pass – but there’s no other feeling like it. And of course, unlike the professionals I don’t have to rely on pharmaceutically-enhanced “medication” to go faster.