Reg harris the rise and fall of britains greatest cyclist
- Reg Harris (1920 – 1992)
- Reg Harris: The rise and fall of Britain's greatest cyclist
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- Reg Harris
Reg Harris (1920 – 1992)
Reg Harris Wins Cycling Championship (1950)and
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He won the world amateur sprint title in , two Olympic silver medals in , and the professional title in , , and His ferocious will to win made him a household name in the s, but he also surprised many with a comeback more than 20 years later, winning a British title in at the age of Reg Harris left school without qualifications and his first job was as an apprentice motor mechanic in Bury, soon moving from the workshop to the salesroom. His ability attracted the attention of other cyclists and Harris joined the Bury section of the Cyclists' Touring Club and then its racing offshoot, the Lancashire Road Club,. Harris moved from the motor mechanics job to a slipper factory, then, in early , to a paper mill which he felt would pay him enough in the winter to spend the summer training and competing. During , he raced on grass tracks in Lincolnshire,  then competed in and won his first events in conventional competition at Fallowfield Stadium in Fallowfield , Manchester. In early , he was confident he could support himself as an athlete, selling the prizes he won as an amateur,  and left the paper mill to focus on the summer cycle racing season, returning to the mill the following winter repeating the process the following year.
This article was kindly contributed by Robert Dineen for our th Anniversary Booklet. One evening in autumn , Elsie Hargreaves was surprised to find four young men from the Manchester Wheelers pulling up in a borrowed Standard 10 saloon car outside her modest terraced house in Bury. The smartly dressed quartet wanted to speak to her about the prospect of her year-old son, Reg, leaving his local cycling club to join its more prestigious city rival. Their formality seemed odd but Elsie knew her son had talent and did not easily acquiesce to their request. Fletcher was the senior member of the party and the Wheelers press secretary. It was an unusual compromise that did not sit well with the Wheelers executive committee, but they did not regret the decision to approve his membership. It is difficult to overstate the impact that Reginald Hargreaves Harris had on his sport in the s and s.
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Reg Harris: The rise and fall of Britain's greatest cyclist
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Reg Harris, whose statue overlooks the Manchester Velodrome, is the legend who all track cyclists want to emulate. He was a poor, working-class boy born in the Depression who escaped the Lancashire mills to utterly dominate his sport. He triumphed as world champion an incredible five times between and and performed medal-winning heroics at the London Olympics. At his peak he was the most adored sportsman in the country attracting huge crowds, sponsorship, and the company of the rich and famous. But, fiercely driven and ruthlessly single-minded, Harris had a dark side. His was a sensational life fuelled by an insatiable need for money, celebrity, fast cars and beautiful women that constantly threatened to destroy him. Following an exhaustive investigation, Robert Dineen has uncovered an epic sporting rise and fall — a story more astounding than anyone had known.