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Russ, 82, rides a million miles

Written by Fiona

November 07 2019

Most people will not even drive this far in their lifetime, yet 82-year-old Russ Mantle has become the first person in the UK to cycle a million miles.

Russ, a Cycling UK life member from Aldershot, started cycling in 1951 and has cycled an average of 14,700 miles every year for 68 years.

Russ completed his millionth mile today at the Canal Café at Mytchett, Hampshire. 

Russ Mantle celebrates with a well earned glass of champagne.
Russ racing in the National Championships ’25 mile time trial in Bedfordshire in 1955.

The former carpenter and joiner said: “I haven’t really been going for it. The miles have just naturally piled up because I enjoy cycling so much.

“Even when I was in my 60s and 70s, I was doing my highest mileages, so it just shows you that as you get older you don’t necessarily have to do less.”

It was in 1989, when Russ reached 400,000 miles hat he realised he would eventually clock a million miles.

A written record of his mileage.

There was no Strava or GPS devices when Russ began recording his mileage in 1952 so he wrote the details of his cycle rides in paper diaries, including the results of his many race wins.

Between 1953 and 1975, he competed in cycling time trial races and set numerous records.

After retiring from racing, Russ led rides for the West Surrey CTC for 20 years and is still a member of several cycling groups.

See the video of Russ cycling to a million miles.

Russ Mantle with his cycle club West Surrey CTC.
Russ Mantle just metres from the milestone.
Russ Mantle is welcomed by a crowd of well wishers.
Cake and cycling goes hand in hand.

Cycling UK chief executive Paul Tuohy said: “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 so 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.”

Russ has cycled in America, Canada, across mainland Europe and throughout the UK, preferring to cycle the highest mountain passes.

To put Russ’s achievement into perspective, cycling a million miles is the equivalent of completing Land’s End to John o’ Groats 1,052 times, circumnavigating the Earth 40 times or travelling to the moon and back twice.

The average driver will likely drive less than half that distance in their whole lifetime.

The closest to a million miles before now was Chris Davies, who recorded 916,761 miles before he passed away. See 300,000 mile cycling club.

Russ won’t be stopping at a million miles. He said, “It’s just another milestone. I’ll just keep going.”

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