When Sir Chris Hoy was a cycling-mad youngster, there was a dearth of decent reading material. These were the dark, pre-internet days of the early 1980s (“we barely had colour TV back then,” he quips), when the six-time Olympic champion was attempting to forge his way in the budding discipline of BMX.

“I had a thirst for knowledge, particularly with bikes,” he says speaking by phone from London. “Any information I could find I would be reading about it. With BMX being a really new thing when I was growing up, there wasn’t much information around about it. I was desperate for any place at all to learn about it.”

It is a formative memory that has arguably played a large part in shaping his post-cycling career. Since retiring from professional sport four years ago, Edinburgh-born Hoy has rarely been idle. His many hats include motorsport driver, BBC pundit and designer of an eponymous bike range.

Hoy, 40, has since added another to that list: children’s author. He has published four books in his Flying Fergus fiction series since February last year – with a fifth to follow in early 2017 – and this month unveiled his debut non-fiction title for youngsters.

On Your Bike: All You Need To Know About Cycling For Kids is an illustrated guide to maintenance, safety, nutrition, clothing and kit – packed with top tips from the man himself. Hoy’s goal with Flying Fergus was to inspire children to get out cycling. On Your Bike, he hopes, will impart the know-how to do that successfully.

It was, he says, partly inspired by the kind of fact-packed book that he craved as a child. “I would honestly have loved it. Apart from anything else, visually it is an interesting one to look at. I’m pleased with the way it has come out. It is fun and hopefully going to engage kids.”

As with Flying Fergus, his latest offering is co-written with Joanna Nadin, a former policy writer for the Labour party and special advisor to Tony Blair who has since become a children’s and young adult fiction author. Manchester-based Hoy describes working with Nadin as a collaboration and team effort.

From the outset, he knew he didn’t want to hand the reins over to a ghost writer and merely be involved in a vanity project. “I wouldn’t be doing it just for the sake of it – it really is a vocation rather than a job,” he asserts. “It is something I have had a lot of pleasure doing.”

On Your Bike is aimed at the same five-to-eight age group as Flying Fergus, although Hoy believes its raft of practical tips on how to change a tyre, check the brakes and fix a broken chain would equally be something that older children and parents can learn from too.

There is a crossover with his other books as main protagonist Fergus Hamilton and his pals pop up to help dispense advice. While Hoy insists that the characters aren’t based directly on any one person, an homage to his own life and childhood is woven throughout.

The rusty old bike that Fergus gets from his mum and grandpa as a birthday present is a nod to Hoy’s own first trusty two-wheeled steed: a £5 buy from a jumble sale that his dad David lovingly stripped down, re-painted and pimped up with some BMX stickers.

There are other echoes too. “I suppose Fergus to a certain degree was me in that I was good at sport, but not brilliant,” he reflects. “It’s not like I was one of these kids who was amazing. I had to work quite hard to become good at anything but because I loved it, it wasn’t a chore.”

It is a mindset which Hoy is keen to share with young readers of his books. “One of the biggest messages we try to get across in the Flying Fergus series is the importance of doing your best, working hard and as part of a team.

"Too often these days it just seems to be all about overnight success and discovering a hidden talent that suddenly makes you famous.

“You speak to kids at schools and ask: ‘What would you like to be when you’re older?’ So many times their hands go up and say they want to be famous. ‘Well, what do you want to be famous for?’ They reply: ‘It doesn’t matter, I just want to be famous ...’”

In short, his books are the antithesis to the reality TV/X Factor culture that Hoy clearly finds soul-sapping. He hopes to instil the notion that anything worth having in life requires hard work and dedication.

“It’s not about overnight fame and success: it’s about working towards something,” he says. “And even if you don’t get there, there is still something to be gained from that whole process of challenging yourself, doing your best and working together as a team. We try not to be too preachy in the books, but there are morals and themes carried through.”

By his own admission, Hoy was a reluctant reader growing up. “I was a kid who needed a lot of persuasion and encouragement to read, while my sister was the opposite and always had her nose in a book,” he recalls. “It tended to be that if I found an author or type of book I enjoyed, I would then go mad for it and read the whole series, every single book I could find by that author.

“I was obsessed by Roald Dahl’s books and read them over and over again. George’s Marvellous Medicine was my favourite by a long shot. I loved the fact it was a bit rude and the description of grandma with her brown teeth and a puckered up mouth like a dog’s bottom.

“I remember a teacher reading us the book at school. To know she was going to have to say ‘dog’s bottom’ in front of the whole class was one of the best parts of reading Roald Dahl for me.”

Although it’s more typically Magnus Mills and the late Iain Banks that he turns to these days, that habit of revisiting treasured favourites has endured into adulthood. “It sounds silly but I always remember where I was when I read a book. If it has got sand in the middle of it, you know you were on a beach somewhere and that’s quite nice.” And if it’s blood, sweat and tears – a velodrome? “Exactly.”

Hoy is looking forward to the day when he can share Fergus, his literary creation, with his own son Callum. The two-year-old is already showing signs of being a budding bookworm who loves Rabbit’s Nap by Julia Donaldson and any bedtime story that involves an aeroplane.

“Hopefully when he gets a bit older he can read [the Flying Fergus books] himself and realise there is a character in there called Callum – and perhaps even recognise some of the other characters too.”

The writing bug has taken hold and it is Hoy’s hope that a second series of Flying Fergus titles will be commissioned in the near future.

While reticent to draw comparisons with his great hero Dahl, Hoy says that creating even the “smallest ripple effect” to encourage youngsters to pick up a book would make him happy. “If they then want to continue reading and maybe get out on their bike afterwards? That would be a dream scenario.”

On Your Bike: All You Need To Know About Cycling For Kids by Chris Hoy is published by Piccadilly Press, priced £9.99