82-year-old is first Brit to cycle million miles

An 82-year-old has become the first person in the UK to cycle a million miles in their lifetime.

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

Russ completed his millionth mile on Thursday 7 November at the Canal Café at Mytchett, Hampshire. 

Russ, a former civil servant, 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!”

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 Russ 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.

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.”

Russ’s 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.