PREPARATIONS for the second annual cycle in memory of a five-time world champion are gaining momentum after a professional rider decided to test the course.

Last year, Marilyn Hughes, the daughter of Bury-born Reg Harris, who died in 1992, celebrated her father’s legacy with the Reg Harris Cyclosportive.

The non-competitive ride saw more than 200 cyclists participate in aid of Bury Tandem Club for the Visually Impaired, Bury Cancer Support Centre and Bury Hospice.

Earlier this month, organiser David Hughes, who is Marilyn’s husband and a Tottington and Bury West Rotarian, ventured into the Lancashire hills to introduce elite cyclist Ian Wilkinson to this year’s route.

Team Raleigh rider Ian, who is based in Barnoldswick, was impressed by the scenic route and hopes to participate in the event on August 24 if his internat-ional racing commit-ments allow.

Entries are already open for the event, which starts and finishes at Tottington High School and includes a 51-mile, 26-mile or taster six-mile route.

Reg triumphed as a world champion five times between 1947 and 1954, breaking numerous world records and winning two silver medals at the 1948 London Olympics.

Team Raleigh is supporting this year’s cyclosportive in honour of Reg’s work with the company for many years. He won many of his national and world titles on a Raleigh bike.

To this day, one of Reg’s champion-ship bikes is displayed in the foyer of the Raleigh head office in Nottingham alongside photos of him in his heyday.

Raleigh has also donated one of its £1,000 Militis bikes to be used as part of a prize draw to encourage fundraising.

Marilyn said: “I was apprehensive about having a large company as a sponsor, but Raleigh has been extremely supportive and have really entered into the philosophy and community spirit of the event.

“Because of the strong link between Reg and Raleigh, we welcome a renewed partnership for the sportive.”

For part of the route, Ian was joined by Bury GP Paul Norman and his brother Dave, who both participated last year.

They were out on a training ride for their own charity cycle between Land’s End and John O’Groats which is taking place this July and is previewed below.

For more information about the Reg Harris Cyclosportive, go to regharrissportive., follow @RegSportive on Twitter or search Reg Harris Cyclosportive on Facebook.