The officers were putting their foot down; we were sprinting as fast as one can with 15 kilos of pannier bags stuffed with the essentials for life, but we could not catch the police car. In the wing mirrors they could be seen laughing, they were having a great time watching us struggle; burning thighs and sweat stinging eyes.
Our adventure had begun in Plymouth and was to end in Marrakech; we were dropping off a friend at Madrid Airport which was only reachable via motorways. We were used to cycling on the hard shoulder of these clogged arteries; they cut through mountains rather than zigzagging up and down them, which was torturous at times.
As we were making our way up the slip road the Italian police came to say hello. Using our best hand signals we explained where we wanted to get to and that we couldn’t find any other way of getting there. The two officers looked bemused, after some circular hand motions and pointing we realised they wanted us to follow them. This could be fun the three of us thought... we had no idea.
With my two mates either side we looked at each other with the biggest grins of joy. What could be more fun then having a police escort through Madrid on bicycles with your best mates? As we approached several round-a-bouts the police would slow down to clear the way so that we could shoot across like a greyhound after the rabbit.
For about 20 minutes our adrenaline was on full flow. A couple of small hills had us bent double over the handle bars trying to keep our momentum going, this was tough, this was our punishment.
Passing cars probably wondered whether we were some elite cyclists involved in extreme urban training or maybe this was how new police recruits were tested.
Sadly all too soon we reached the suburbs and the chase was over. Now safe on the smaller roads we waved graciously at the policemen; thirsty for oxygen we mumbled the one Italian word we were sure of “Grazzi” and off they went. On the pavement we laughed uncontrollably at was will surely be our greatest experience ever with the law; they could have fined us but instead they gave us a moment that will be treasured forever.