Head down, pedalling furiously while squinting through the pouring rain to avoid obstacles in the road ahead, I could have been cycling anywhere. Visibility was atrocious. But wait, what’s that old building emerging through the drizzle on my left? Isn’t it the Tower of London? A couple of minutes later, on the right, there’s St Paul’s Cathedral, followed by Trafalgar Square and the Houses of Parliament. This is no time to be staring at the tarmac. It wasn’t supposed to be wet. It hadn’t rained in the British capital for eight weeks and weathermen had been predicting that cyclists taking part in last month’s 160km RideLondon event would roast in temperatures of up to 38°C. Doctors were warning of severe health risks for the 25,000 participants, some of whom would take more than eight hours to complete the course. Actually, nearly 100,000 people took to the streets of London on two wheels over the July 28-29 weekend for what is billed as the world’s biggest cycling festival. Most rode...

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