Four-year initiative includes launch of Britain's first National Cycle to Work day this September...

Dame Sarah Storey, Britain’s most successful Parlympian, has been signed up by the country’s leading Cycle to Work scheme provider, Cyclescheme, to front a campaign that aims to raise the profile of cycling and get more people riding bikes to work, including Britain’s first National Cycling to Work Day, which takes place on Thursday 26 September.

Under the agreement announced today, which lasts four years, Storey will act as champion for a new ‘Challenge Yourself’ campaign from Cyclescheme, which spans a number of new initiatives, including that National Cycling to Work Day, aimed at underlining the bicycle’s role as a mode of transport as well as trying to inspire people to “make a positive change in their commuting habits.”

Speaking about the partnership, Storey said: "Since cycling is one of the best modes of transport for local journeys and Cyclescheme provides the means for people to obtain a bike in order to make those journeys to work, it was an obvious choice to become involved with the company.

“If we start by encouraging people to cycle to work, then they'll feel healthier, will save money and  be more inclined to ride their bikes for other journeys and leisure time too.

"I'm looking forward to working with Cyclescheme on the National Cycle to Work Day at the end of the summer to encourage even more people to challenge themselves, dust off the bike and cycle to work," she added.

According to Cyclescheme, there has been 20 per cent growth in the number of people cycling to work over the past decade, with the Cycle to Work scheme, through which more than a third of a million bicycles have so far been bought, being one of the chief drivers of growth.

Daniel Gillborn, director of Cyclescheme, commented: "We are delighted to welcome Dame Sarah Storey to the Cyclescheme family. 

Pointing out that Storey is an athlete who has competed alongside able-bodied athletes as well as Paralympians, he said “she is an inspiration to anyone to get on their bikes and join the 750,000 who already cycle to work in the UK. 

“We hope our relationship with Sarah will have a positive effect on cycling and cycle commuting and we look forward to working with her over the next four years as she prepares for Rio 2016."

Storey won four gold medals at London 2012, taking her career total to 11 – the first five of those achieved in the swimming pool before she switched to cycling ahead of Beijing in 2008 – putting her level with Dame Tanni Grey Thompson and Dave Roberts, but she also has 11 silver and bronze medals, which puts her out on her own.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.