COLLEAGUES at a bespoke bike brand are paying tribute to their co-founder with a special cycle in his memory.

Mark Reilly, who founded Brighton-based Reilly Cycleworks in 2014, was one of the few openly gay men working in the UK frame-building trade, ensuring designs were inclusive for all.

He died last year at the age of 53.

A specially made rainbow titanium bike, with artwork handcrafted by Faye Bishop, custom painter for the Mercedes AMG Formula 1 team, will be front and centre at the Reilly Rides Out bike ride in Mark’s memory tomorrow.

The Argus: A specially-made rainbow titanium bike will appear at the cycle tomorrowA specially-made rainbow titanium bike will appear at the cycle tomorrow

Chris Ratcliff, co-owner of Reilly Cycleworks, said: “The rainbow bike was created to celebrate diversity in cycling and to send the message that cycling is for everyone.

“This honours Mark’s decision to move his frame-building business to Brighton in the early 2000s to embrace an LGBTQ+ lifestyle.

Openness is central to how we operate as a business and we will continue to proudly bang the drum for greater diversity in the cycling industry.”

Chris described Mark as a “one-of-a-kind character” and remembered how he first met him when looking for an adventure bike for a fundraiser for HIV charity the Terrence Higgins Trust.

He said: “He loaned me a Reilly Gradient for the 1,400km Roscott to Santander backpacking trip. That was the start of a great working relationship.”

The Argus: Elaine Burroughs, ambassador for Reilly CycleworksElaine Burroughs, ambassador for Reilly Cycleworks

Elaine Burroughs, chairwoman of the Brighton Mitre Cycling Club and ambassador for the compan, praised Mark’s efforts to make cycling accessible to everyone regardless of ability.

She said: “There is a perception around cycling that you have to be an elite athlete, which I’m not, and I’m passionate about raising awareness of just how accessible cycling can be - after all, it was a skill most of us learnt as children.

“We’re lucky in Brighton that we have such an established community that is inclusive and supportive. Inclusivity in cycling should be a norm and I’d like to see a time where we don’t have so many barriers to diversity.”

Cyclists can take part in the Reilly Rides Out memorial ride tomorrow in Shortgate, near Uckfield, and can book their place via Eventbrite.