Six times Olympic gold medal winner Sir Chris Hoy has said he would love the job of cycling champion. But first someone has to persuade the government to actually create the post.
Creating the role of cycling champion was one of the recommendations of the Get Britain Cycling report. However, the government has yet to commit to implementing this recommendation or indeed most of the other items contained in the report.
In an interview with The Times, Sir Chris said he was evangelical about cycling and while he had no interest in a career in politics he would make an exception for a job involving promoting cycling, increasing people's enjoyment in the sport, and building cycling infrastructure.
“Cycling has given me so much,” he said. “I have had such an amazing experience in my life and I want to give a little back and see other people enjoying that too and to see our country become like other ones where cycling is just part of the culture.
“Becoming a politician has never appealed to me — not interested in going on to an international Olympic committee. But for something like this, where you can imagine the kind of legacy, where you can see in 15 to 20 years’ time a complete culture change, that would be a massive thing to be involved in. It does appeal to me.”
Despite the government's refusal to accept the need for the post of cycling champion Sir Chris said that this was the best imaginable time to capitalise on Britain’s recent cycling success.
“If we don’t do it now, when can we do it?” he said. “We are at the peak of our attention from the general public. If we don’t do it now people just settle into it and think, ‘Well, this is the way it’s always been, we are different from the rest of Europe and that’s just the way it is’. We do have to strike now.
“I would love to see more people on bikes. I am not saying it as a Jamie Oliver crusade — one person trying to change things in a massive way — but if I can help out in making it more easy, more appealing, more popular. I am a bit evangelical about it, but I genuinely believe that cycling can change people’s lives for the better.”
What he become the U.K.'s cycling czar if asked? “In theory I would love to do it. But it’s a massive commitment. You would have to eat, sleep and breathe it.
“Imagine in ten to 20 years’ time, bikes everywhere, and the immense sense of pride that what you have committed your life to since you were a wee boy is becoming popular and people are understanding it and enjoying it.”
Acknowledged by the Telegraph as a leading cycling journalist, John Stevenson has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.
He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.
Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc editor Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.
John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.
He joined road.cc in 2013 and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.