OLYMPIC legend Steve Redgrave will swap boats for a bike when he undertakes a 3,000 mile ride known as The World’s Toughest Bike Race.

The record gold medal winning rower from Marlow Bottom will be part of a team tackling the the Race Across America – which aims to raise £100,000 for Sport Relief and the Steve Redgrave Fund.

Peter McConnell, Ian Neville and John Mottram from Upper Thames Rowing Club, former international rowing brothers Nick and Jonathan Spencer-Jones – both from Marlow - and Malcolm Cooper, Francis Paxton and John Mottram – Steve's old friends from Marlow Rowing Club - are his team mates.

The cyclists will ride about 400 miles per day during the event, which takes competitors from Oceanside, California to Annapolis, Maryland.

They will crossing 14 American states, climbing the Rocky Mountains, descending to Monument Valley and contending with, deserts, prairies and plains with extremes of heat, cold, rain and snow.

It will take just over 8 days to complete.

The crew of riders, whose average age is 48, has strong Marlow connections.

The Spencer-Jones siblings have known Steve for over 25 years, while Mr McConnell rowed with Steve as long ago as 1978 in his successful Great Marlow School crew while Mr Neville made the riggers for the Olympian's winning boat in 2000.

Sir Steve, 48, said: “I was looking for a challenge that would enable me to raise money for my charity, something I am very passionate about but would also challenge me to train hard again and get some real fitness back.

“It is an unbelievable race and I’m really lucky to be doing it with a group of old friends, who I know I can rely on to put in everything they’ve got into both the fundraising and the race.

“We are aiming to raise £100,000 for Sport Relief and The Steve Redgrave Fund, and I know when we get out there we’re going to want to achieve the best we can and will push ourselves to the limit.”

The Steve Redgrave Fund supports community groups, small charities and schools in areas of economic or social deprivation, who utilise sport and sporting activities to promote physical and emotional well being.

Donations can be made at the Redgrave crew’s Just Giving Page www.justgiving.com/redgraveraceacrossamerica and the team’s build up and progress during the race can be followed on www.redgravecrew.com and on Twitter @redgravecrew.