We've all been there. The traffic light's on red, there's a cyclist next to you eyeing up the road ahead, you're both waiting for that flash of amber and, you're off!
Your legs pump madly as you struggle to gain enough speed to change gear, both of you are cycling too fast to drop behind the other and too slowly for one to overtake, cars whizz past oblivious to the silent battle of wills.
With both of you in the wide expanse of the bus lane neither is willing to drop back. Other cyclists are overtaken in smooth curved trajectories and the road just keeps going.
Potholes add a new dimension to the challenge and you silently curse the weight of your panniers and apologise to your trusty bike as your back wheel thumps heavily into a depressed manhole cover. Pedestrians wander out without looking, the road becomes an obstacle course, and all the time you're checking discreetly to see if he's managed to pass you. There's a hill, you both stand up on the pedals to avoid changing down, you're going hard, both getting a good rhythm and pushing for the line. You're ahead, he's ahead, you're ahead, he's ahead, but then, there's a red light. You both come to an abrupt halt. Suddenly it's over.... and a weaselly little bastard on a rickety BMX with the seat so low his knees go up round his ears sails illegally through the light past both of you.
The person you've been racing against looks at you and winks, 'A**hole' he murmurs. You agree and giggle in a moment of shared animosity. Then the light changes and it's on again.