November 27 - Victoria Pendleton, who made her exit from Strictly Come Dancing at the weekend, has sashayed into a new deal designing bikes for Halfords - while her fellow Olympic champion Sir Chris Hoy has also announced the launch of a new range of personalised bikes in partnership with Evans Cycles.
The first range of Pendleton bikes created by the Olympic golden girl for Halfords was launched this spring and became the best-selling women's cycles ever for the high street retailer.
Halfords commercial director, Paul McClenaghan, announced the signing of the new contract and said: "We are thrilled to have extended our relationship with Victoria and that she has agreed to expand her already acclaimed cycle range.
"This reflects Halfords' success in working with elite cyclists and in encouraging users of all levels to enjoy the sport.
"We are confident that her outstanding performance as a gold and silver medallist at London 2012 will continue to inspire female cyclists across the UK."
Pendleton (pictured top), 32, commented: "It was a dream come true for me to design my own range of bikes.
"I want to encourage women to cycle more and that is why I wanted to design a range of bikes with Halfords.
"I am so pleased that customers liked them as much as I do and am really thrilled to be designing more.
"I've had an amazing time doing Strictly but I'm more used to coping with two wheels than two feet and I'm looking forward to getting back to the drawing-board and creating more bikes with Halfords."
The London 2012 Olympic winner's contract includes scope for her to feature in television advertising and she has agreed to write a regular cycle blog for Halfords, while also looking at creating a range of cycling accessories.
Her classic, retro-feel bikes, with ergonomic frames, have been credited with helping get more women back in the saddle, with new figures showing that cycling among women is one of the fastest-growing sport and leisure activities.
Halfords revealed that the Pendleton range, which went on sale in April of this year, was the most successful range of women's bikes in the history of the 120-year-old company.
The baby-blue Somerby, with its Ivory tyres, leather-look saddle and handgrips, perfectly accessorised with Halfords wicker bike basket – sales of which have also soared – has won rave reviews from women cyclists and become something of a signature design for Pendleton.
Its instant popularity was complemented by its plum-coloured sister bike the Brooke, and the more modern white and silver Dalby.
The trend for two wheels has been boosted with the buzz around the London 2012 Olympics and the enormous success of Team GB's cyclists, particularly with the achievements of Pendleton and younger gold medallists, Dani King, Joanna Rowsell and double-gold-winner Laura Trott, inspiring a new generation of women cyclists.
Pendleton added: "Even though I have retired from competitive cycling I will never stop loving that feeling of riding through the countryside and relaxing on my bike.
"I am just delighted that I might have done a little bit to encourage other women to enjoy that feeling as much as I do but I want to do more"
Chris Boardman, the Olympic time trial champion from Barcelona 1992, has also designed a range of top-end bikes for Halfords.
Meanwhile, six-time Olympic champion Sir Chris has launched his new brand of bikes under the name "HOY".
The brand has been several years in the making, but it is over the last 18 months that Sir Chris has been working on it in earnest and developing his new range of bikes.
"Cycling has been a central part of my life from an early age and has helped me achieve so much," he said.
"I want to help more people experience the power and enjoyment of cycling, as well as demystifying it and making it accessible to all.
"That's why I decided to create a brand that embodies this vision and my passion.
"Evans Cycles are the ideal partner to help reach this goal.
"They are one of the UK's most highly regarded cycle retailers and I'm really excited to be working with them to deliver a new brand that can share my enjoyment of cycling with a whole new audience."
The initial range, due for release in late spring 2013, consists of seven bikes: a mix of three road bikes for the recreational and sports cyclist, and four city bikes for commuters and leisure cyclists.
The early models will come in youth sizing, and there are plans to extend the range to cater for every cyclist, including a limited edition track bike.
Sir Chris added: "I'm really enjoying building my brand from scratch.
"There are so many aspects that need to mesh perfectly and finding that balance has been very exciting and rewarding.
"I've been working very hard on developing the brand values as well as the visual features, which will appear on all of the bikes."
Sir Chris is working closely with the bike design teams at Evans Cycles on frame geometry, tubing, aesthetics, and specification, as well as road testing the models himself.
Nick Wilkinson, Evans Cycles chief executive, commented: "This partnership is the perfect opportunity to bring together Britain's most successful Olympian and the UK's leading specialist bike retailer.
"We have experience of building bikes since 1921 and share Sir Chris' passion for cycling, with the belief that it should be fun and accessible for all.
"This is a perfect way to build on the success of the Olympic Games and inspire more people to get into cycling."
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