SIR Chris Hoy has unveiled the first two covers in his children’s book series which will go on sale next year.
The Edinburgh-born six-time Olympic champion showed off the colourful designs on the Game Changers show on Sky Sports last night.
His first two books in the Flying Fergus series, The Best Birthday Bike and The Great Cycle Challenge, will be released on February 25.
They will be followed by two titles later in the year, accompanied by a children’s non-fiction guide to cycling and looking after your bike. Published by Piccadilly Press, the books focus on Fergus, an “ordinary boy with an extraordinary imagination”.
All Fergus wants for his ninth birthday is a Sullivan Swift, a top-of-the-range bike that will help him to his success in the local time trials.
But since his father’s disappearance, years before, his mum and grandad have struggled to make ends meet and can’t afford such an expensive present. Instead, he inherits his dad’s old rusty bike, but when he heads out to test it at the park with his best friend, Daisy, and dog Chimp, he discovers there might be more to the bike than meets the eye.
Sir Chris wrote the books alongside award-winning children’s and teen author Joanna Nadin, who is best known for her Rachel Riley series of books.
There will be six books in total in the series, which is aimed at children aged between five and eight and feature illustrations by Clare Elsom.
When he first revealed that he would be creating children’s books, Sir Chris said: “Working with Jo Nadin has been fantastic and my hope is that Flying Fergus excites and inspires children, opening their eyes to the freedom and adventures two wheels can offer with just a little hard work.”
The athlete is the most decorated Olympic cyclist of all time, with a total of seven Olympic medals – six gold and one silver.
His feats made him Great Britain’s most successful ever Olympic athlete, surpassing rower Sir Steve Redgrave, while he also has 11 world and two Commonwealth titles.
Sir Chris, who retired from competition in 2013, claimed that his own cycling career was inspired after watching Steven Spielberg’s 1982 film ET.
Since his retirement, Sir Chris has been keen to inspire the next generation of cyclists.
He has said he wants the series of books to inspire youngsters with stories about the taste of freedom that comes with owning your first bike and discovering the adventures that lie ahead.
Rights for the six books were acquired by Emma Matthewson, editor-at-large at Hot Key, who previously edited the Harry Potter series at Bloomsbury.
She said at the launch: “Sir Chris has already provided a lasting legacy of inspiration to young people with his tremendous list of achievements.
“What drew me to Flying Fergus was a genuine warmth and heart to the books and Sir Chris’s clear dedication to the next generation.”
Sir Chris’s wife, Sarra, and son Callum, who was born 11 weeks early, hit the headlines last month as part of a high-profile campaign aimed at supporting parents of premature babies.