My metamorphosis is complete.

Think caterpillars and butterflies, the Incredible Hulk, Jekyll and Hyde, and Doctor Who.

Not so very long ago I was just a bloke who rode a bike, but these days it is difficult to tell the difference between me and Chris Froome.

From a distance, anyway (about two miles).

I now have a proper road bike - what some people would refer to as a ‘racing bike’ - even if it is secondhand and cost me £150 instead of the thousands you can spend on a super-duper carbon bike that weighs the same as a packet of crisps.

I also have the gear to go with it, including cycling shorts - never thought I would ever say that - and bright green cycling socks that make me thankful I am colourblind.

So who cares if I get it all from Aldi and Lidl?

I now even have cleats. They are the things on the bottom of your shoes that keep them stuck to your pedals, like all the professionals use.

It means you get double the power through pulling pedals up as well as pushing them down, and it makes cycling so much easier that it feels like cheating.

It also makes for comical scenes when you forget to unclip when approaching a junction, so can’t put your foot down, and topple over.

I am still among the oldest, slowest, least-talented, most nervous (and therefore least adventurous) when I turn up for the club ride on Sundays, and I am easily the least likely to spend out wads of cash on getting the latest thing.

But I have come a long way since I used to turn up in my Matalan tracksuit on my mountain bike, with a bell that belonged on a girl’s bike.

The club (Recycles, based at the shop of the same name in Princes Street) recently celebrated its second birthday with a little competition, which was great fun, made even better by good company.

As one of the lads said as we were riding along: “It’s great to be out, enjoying the cycling and socialising with nice people.”

Basically: however much you might think cyclists are a bit weird, in fact they are almost exclusively decent, friendly people, and I am proud to be one.

All this is a far cry from the image of cycling in certain sections of the public, where people hopping on bikes, getting some fresh air and mostly minding their own business somehow makes them Public Enemy Number One.

This is partly because of an extremely rare court case, reported recently, which saw an idiot on a bike kill a pedestrian through aggressive riding.

But mostly it’s because of their frustration at the miserable experience of driving, which means they require a scapegoat, and no matter how badly other people drive, they must remain loyal to their fellow petrolheads.

And we all know minorities are so much easier to scapegoat.

If you make the mistake of delving too deeply into the bowels of social media, you will soon find the mere mention of cycling or cyclists is a red rag to a troll.

Before you can say ‘Tour de France’, an outraged armchair warrior will tell you how he once saw somebody do something daft on a bike, and therefore all cyclists should be banned, made to pay road tax or - and some of them mean it literally - squashed.

As if all cyclists are like the tiny minority who bring us into disrepute.

So if you are one of those people making ridiculous generalisations about cyclists (or any other group for that matter), I have only one thing to say.

On yer bike.