OLYMPIC hero Jason Kenny brought a touch of gold to Bolton’s first ever Sky Ride — a cycling event which saw part of the town centre closed to traffic.
The 24-year-old, from Farnworth, helped launch the five-mile circular ride yesterday as a sea of hundreds of cyclists got on their bikes to ride on the traffic-free roads.
Jason, a former pupil of Mount St Joseph school, in Farnworth, won two gold medals at the London 2012 Olympics, said: “It’s great, the ride is on my doorstep.
“I’ve done a few Sky Rides, in Manchester and London. It’s an exciting time to be involved.
“I’ve always been amazed at how many people actually turn up.
“They’re really good, it’s great way of seeing different cities in a trafficfree way.
“They seem to be getting better every time. It’s something that people should go out and enjoy, particularly, if they’re a bit younger or not confident.
The traffic aspect can be a bit nerve-wracking.
“It’s great for people to be able to go out and enjoy the roads.”
The route was traffic-free from 10am to 4pm, allowing cyclists to ride at their own pace with no car worries.
Jason won the individual and the team sprints, adding to his gold and silver medals from Beijing 2008.
And this summer it was also revealed he is dating fellow Team GB cyclist Laura Trott.
Commenting on the recent media attention, he said: “It’s quietened down a little bit.
“We’ve got our own individual bits and pieces to be doing.
“We’ve been getting together whenever we can. I’m looking forward to getting back to normal. and to getting back to training .
“I’ve been squeezing it in when I can, evenings in the gym and early morning rides. Training will become the priority, back to work and winning.”
Throughout the day, he met fans and signed cyclists’ Sky Ride bibs More than 1,300 people registered to take part ahead of the event.
The Mayor of Bolton, Cllr Guy Harkin, was one of the hundreds of others who took to two wheels for the event. He said: “It’s superb. It gets people moving — all ages, all sizes, all shapes.”
Cllr Christopher Peacock, Bolton Council’s cabinet member for sport, said: “It’s brilliant. I can’t believe how many people are doing it. It’s a constant stream of people.
“I cycled as a kid and never did it again.
“I’m a bit nervous about crashing into the mayor!”
Michelle Tonge, from Horwich , took part in the ride with her sons, aged six and 11, and their friend.
She said: “I think it’s an excellent event. Myself and my older son have done the Sky Ride in Manchester a couple of times.”