Legs, Feeling No Pressure – odd title. Simply, it’s a phrase I’ve read in a number of training manuals and magazines, meaning a rule of thumb for your physical state on an easy ride, or a recovery spin.

‘Light workout – legs feeling no pressure.’

I’ve come to repeat this phrase like a mantra at various stages when riding my bike, whether just leaving the house, or spinning home, or resisting the temptation to race another commuter on Regent’s Park.

But equally, the phrase reminds me of riding really fast, and yet not feeling heavy or tired, that euphoric floating state of cycling that comes with form and many miles. This is the whole point really: that riding a bike fast is fun, and sometimes, when you’re riding a bike fast, it’s so much fun that the pure joy of it is just overwhelming. Because for every half-dozen outings in the rain, flat tyres in the snow, times when you’re feeling sub-par and fed up, there’ll be a day of glory when your legs are firing warm power but feeling no burn, no pressure. That’s what I ride for.

There’s a line in Laurent Fignon’s memoir We Were Young and Carefree that captures this perfectly. It’s a line I can’t read without experiencing a brief wash of emotion:

‘Sometimes when I was physically at my best I could sense moments of utter ecstasy, those rare fleeting times when you are in total harmony with yourself and the elements around you: nature, the noise of the wind, the smells.’

Or, in French:

‘…il m’arrivait, en pleine possession de mes moyens, de flirter avec des moments de grĂ¢ce absolue, ces quelques rares instants…’