S4K catches up with Olympic cycling legend Sir Chris Hoy as he gears up to launch his fifth fantastically fun Flying Fergus adventure for five to 8-year-olds…
Interview by Nadia Duncan
Q) Who taught you to ride a bike when you were a child? What age were you and when did you get the cycling bug?
A) I took up cycling when I was six. I was at a friend’s house and his father took us to the courtyard in Napier College to ride bikes. Unlike me, my friend and his brother could already ride bikes which gave me the motivation to learn by the end of that afternoon. Since then, I have never stopped. In memory of that day, I named one of my Hoy Runner Bike’s “Napier”.
Q) Growing up in Edinburgh, where did you have the opportunity to practise and do you think that has changed for children today?
A) I used to ride my bike on the Pentland Hills near my parents’ house, there were very few cars which made them quiet and very safe. There was also a BMX track in the city a few miles away which I liked to practise on. Today it has changed, there is definitely more traffic, not only cars but cyclists too so it is about finding safe areas such as parks or biking facilities for children to learn how to ride a bike, develop their
confidence and have fun.
Q) You have obviously been a huge inspiration to so many young people with your success. But if you had to convince more young people to get into the sport and give it a try, what would your best pitch be?
A) Since I retired from professional cycling, I’ve been eager to devote my time and experience in working with the next generation of cyclists. The key messages in the Flying Fergus series are the importance of always doing your best and working hard as anything worth having in life requires resilience and dedication.
Q) How much of the character Fergus from your books is based on your personal experiences?
A) Although the characters aren’t based directly on any one person, to a certain degree Fergus was me in that I was good at sport, but not brilliant. It’s not like I was one of these kids who was amazing. I had to work quite hard to become good at anything but because I loved it, it wasn’t a chore.
Q) You’ve won Olympic medals individually and as part of a team. Your new Fergus novel is called: The Winning Team. How important is the winning versus taking part?
A)The most important thing is giving your best. If you commit and give it your whole, you will get a lot back from taking part and it isn’t about winning or losing. You have to enjoy the whole process and the winning is almost the cherry on top of the cake – but isn’t always the most important thing.
I didn’t win all the time when I was racing on bikes as a kid, and if I did I had to work very hard to achieve this. Winning individually or as part of team is the same to me. You have to remember there is always a team, whether it is with you in the race or supporting you outside of the race.
Sir Chris Hoy is the co-author of the Flying Fergus series (along with writing partner Jo Nadin). Books are published by Piccadilly Press and are priced £4.99. Illustrations by