My multi-modal mate Tim and I have known each other for several years now. At first we shared the guard’s van with our bikes and started talking, then when I changed jobs we started cycling a few miles together as well. We’ve done a few longer rides back from South London to Medway, and shared the occasional packet of chips. Tim rides a very nice lightweight Trek roadbike, whereas I have always ridden the clunker commuter, with mudguards, panniers etc. As a result of that and my girth, I’ve had to put up with many comments along the lines of “Come on, pull your weight! Oh you are, that’s the problem, isn’t it?” and similar. I’ve lost 6kg and got the road bike back on the road. Today I wiped the floor with Tim comprehensively. I dropped him on both big hills, and then let him catch up on the flats only to drop him again. It was beautiful. I was dancing on the pedals, submitting to the bike’s need for speed, not even caring where Tim was behind me. At the traffic lights just before our routes converge, he gave me the ultimate compliment “I couldn’t keep up with you”. Then he said that he’d never believed my triathlete past, before being reduced to saying “At least I’ve got a top-of-the-range Trek”. My response was “If I had one, you’d never see it – I’d be too far ahead”. Forgive my boasting and smugness, but it was a lovely moment. It brought several strands together – my returning fitness, my ongoing victory over my weight, my happiness in having the road bike going again, and my pride in my (modest) triathlon achievements. And then, when I got in to work, one of my “All cyclists should have insurance as they’re all killers” colleagues was whinging about how long she’d been stuck in traffic. I just said “I had a lovely ride in – no problems” and went off to have a shower. I have a warm, smug glow.