SIR Chris Hoy believes Scotland could follow the Netherlands and Denmark to become a nation of cyclists.
The Olympic gold medallist said the popularity of the sport was soaring on the back of the London games and Tour de France triumph.
But he is calling on employers, councils and other road users to help create an environment in which cycling can flourish.
Sir Chris said: “The potential is there.
“It’s not something that will happen overnight but we have to keep pushing and pushing.”
The Edinburgh born and educated athlete added: “It’s not just for one reason either, such as cutting down on road congestion or reducing carbon emissions.
“It’s about the obesity issue and improving people’s health.
“It’s a social issue too. Cycling can be purely about transport or you can make it a recreational activity.”
Sir Chris said Scotland’s weather was no excuse for failing to embrace cycling.
“If you look at somewhere like Denmark, for example, we can’t use the excuse that it’s the weather here. They have cold winters too.
“It’s about making cycling an easier and more pleasant thing to do. If you make things easy then people will do it.”
Sir Chris said employers and local authorities were among those who should do their bit.
“That means workplaces having somewhere to store bikes and changing facilities as well as creating clear bike lanes that are actually meaningful and not just a bit of paint on the side of the road which other road users aren’t really aware of.
“It is important we see the environment we cycle in improved, whether it’s the road surfaces, bike lanes or attitudes from other road users.”
Sir Chris said it was important to break the “them and us” attitudes between drivers and cyclists.
He said: “Ultimately, cyclists have a responsibility too. They have to obey the rules and treat the road with the same respect.
“That’s the frustrating thing. You don’t remember cyclists who are law-abiding – you remember the one that jumped a red light or who was riding on the pavement.”