An 82-year-old cyclist will become the first person in the UK to ride 1million miles in their lifetime.
Russ Mantle, from Aldershot in Hampshire, is due to complete the unbelievable milestone on Thursday (November 7) after 68 years of cycling.
Mr Mantle, a former carpenter and joiner, has averaged a staggering 14,700 miles every year since 1951, and will reach the one-millionth mile at Canal Café in Mytchett, near his hometown.
He said: “I haven’t really been going for it, the miles have just naturally piled up because I enjoy cycling so much that it’s just natural to be a mile-eater.
“Even when I was in my 60s and 70s, I was doing my highest mileages, so it just shows that as you get older you don’t necessarily have to do less.
“In 1989, when I was up to near enough 400,000 miles, I realised that yes eventually I was going to reach the million.”
Mr Mantle began his odyssey without the benefit of Strava or GPS recording, so he wrote down details of his rides in paper diaries (including results from many race wins, including time trials).
He was a key member of West Surrey CTC, leading rides for the club for 20 years, and is still a member of several cycling groups.
Chief executive of charity Cycling UK, Paul Tuohy, congratulated Mr Mantle on his achievement: “Cycling a million miles is not only incredible, it’s almost incomprehensible. Russ never set out to break any records, cycling is simply a part of his life.
“Cycling UK’s mission is to get a million more people out on their bikes, it’s amazing that we’re celebrating one man’s achievement of cycling a million miles in his lifetime.
“Russ is an inspiration and he shows us all what is possible.”
Mr Mantle’s rides have included trips in America, Canada, across mainland Europe and throughout the UK.
This milestone is the equivalent of riding Land’s End to John o’Groats 1,052 times, circumnavigating the Earth 40 times, or travelling to the moon and back twice.
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Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers. Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.
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