OLYMPIC cycling champion Chris Boardman is to spearhead a scheme encouraging people to hop on a bike when visiting Liverpool.

The Hoylake-born Olympic, triple world champion and world record-holder will help promote the Liverpool City Cycle Hire Scheme.

The aim is to give commuters, shoppers, tourists and students the opportunity to hop on a bike to travel through the heart of the city. In total, 1,000 cycles will be made available for hire, at 60 stations.

The "self-service" operation will run 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week, with cyclists able to pay using their mobile phone or cash card.

Chris said: "I'm delighted to back Liverpool City Council’s efforts to make Liverpool one of the country’s leading cities in promoting healthy transport initiatives that will also help the city be a quieter, safer and even more friendly place to visit.

"I'll be involved in every stage of the design and implementation of the scheme and I'm looking forward to seeing technology used not only to gain Olympic success but also to improve our every day environment.

"The bicycle is simply a fantastic way to get around, and I'm delighted it's at the heart of the council’s transport strategy."

Chris won an individual pursuit gold medal at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona and broke the world hour record three times, as well as winning three stages and wearing the yellow jersey on three separate occasions at the Tour de France.

He also carried the Olympic Torch in Birkenhead Park when it came through the borough in June last year.

The city council has been awarded £2.8m in from the Department for Transport.

The fund aims to cut the number of journeys made by car, promote sustainable transport, and reduce congestion and greenhouse gas emissions.

The council will use £1.5m of the cash to set up the cycle hire scheme.