Reg harris the rise and fall of britains greatest cyclist

Reg Harris (1920 – 1992)

reg harris the rise and fall of britains greatest cyclist

Reg Harris Wins Cycling Championship (1950)


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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, [2] 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, [2] 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.

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required. To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number. Would you like to tell us about a lower price? If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support? I got tired of people telling me I wasn't as fast as him" Chris Hoy "This book is compelling Dineen has explored all facets of Harris's character and gets right to the nub of a man who lit the fuse which ultimately led to today's cycling explosion in Britain.

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.

Reg Harris





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