By Alex Ballinger published
Russ Mantle has achieved the absolutely remarkable feat of becoming the first person in the UK to cycle one million miles in his life, aged 82.
Mr Mantle, from Aldershot in Hampshire, said he was “overwhelmed by the interest” in his achievement, as he checked off the final four miles on the way to Canal Café in Mytchett, near his home.
The former carpenter and joiner has averaged a staggering 14,700 miles every year for the last 68 years, having first started cycling in 1951.
He said: “I’m completely overwhelmed by the interest in the amount of miles I’ve cycled.
“I haven’t really been going for it, the miles have just naturally piled up because I enjoy cycling so much that’s it’s just natural to be a mile-eater.
“This year is my lowest mileage year at 8,000 miles. Hitting a million miles is just another milestone. On to the next one. Maybe when I’m 100 I’ll make two 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 in 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.
Cycling UK director, Nicola Marshall said: "This is an amazing achievement by an everyday man who’s done something quite extraordinary.
“He’s made cycling a part of his life and over the years the miles have clocked up. But you don’t have to ride a million miles to be amazing, you just need to replace those local trips you might drive with the bike.”
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.
Alex is the 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 and now as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output.
Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) and joining CW in 2018, Alex has 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 journalism, Alex is a national level time triallist, avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.
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