82-Year-Old Completes Millionth Bicycling Mile

Former civil servant Russ Mantle has become the first person in the U.K. to record a million miles of cycling. The 82-year-old started cycling in 1951 and has cycled an average of 14,700 miles every year for the past 68 years. He completed his millionth mile with a short group ride on November 7 to the Canal Café at Mytchett, Hampshire.

“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,” said Mantle, originally from Aldershot.

“This year is my lowest mileage year at 8,000 miles,” he added.

“Hitting a million miles is just another milestone.”

Mantle began recording his mileage in 1952 on charts commonly printed in the bicycling magazines of the day. As shown in the chart above, Mantle suffered a broken hip in September 1992, hence zero cycling mileage for that month—he soon made up for it, recording 1,536 miles cycled in November of that year.

As well as recording recreational miles in the saddle, Mantle also recorded racing miles: between 1953 and 1975 he set numerous records in time trial events.

After retiring from racing, Mantle—a life member of Cycling UK— led rides for the organization for 20 years.

Cycling UK director Nicola Marshall praised Mantle’s achievement: “He’s made cycling a part of his life and over the years the miles have clocked up.”

The average driver will likely drive less than 500,000 miles in a lifetime, claimed Cycling UK.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.

I was Press Gazette's Transport Journalist of the Year, 2018. I'm also an historian – my most recent books include "Roads Were Not Built for Cars" and "Bike Boom", both ...