Reade won her fourth BMX World Championship gold medal in five years in 2011; her latest triumph came in the Time Trial Superfinal, which was accorded world title status for the first time.
She described her victory at the Olympic test event in August 2011 as her "personal career highlight".
On the track, she and Victoria Pendleton won the world title in the team sprint in 2007 and 2008, taking silver in 2009.
Reade went to the Beijing Olympics as favourite for gold, having won the two previous world titles, but crashed out in the final when trying an audacious overtaking manoeuvre.
The disappointment made her consider walking away from the sport: "The only reason I didn't was because I watched my mum working so hard in a job she didn't particularly enjoy at the time and it made me realise I had to give BMX another go."
She was unable to defend her world title in 2009 because of a shoulder injury, while she initially withdrew from the 2011 World Championships due to a wrist injury, only to change her mind and then fail to reach the final the day after her Time Trial victory.
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In 2010, the Crewe-born rider was told by Jamie Staff, an Olympic champion and mentor to her in the build-up to Beijing, that she needed to grow up. "She's amazingly gifted, so driven and self-motivating but she doesn't do herself any favours sometimes," Staff said. "She's still really young, very immature and needs to do a lot of growing up".
Reade insisted she had done just that, adding: "Jamie hadn't seen me for two years when he made that point. I have matured a lot since then and turned into a young woman."