Russ Mantle 1936 - 2023

Million-mile man Russ Mantle passed away this May after several years of ill health. He will be remembered for becoming the first Briton to cycle a million miles and through his achievement, inspiring a generation of cyclists

Cycling UK life member and the first Brit to cycle over a million miles, Russ Mantle died on 1 May 2023 aged 86. Russ will be sadly missed by his brother Roger, sister-in-law Sue, nephew Stuart, niece Hannah and everyone who knew him. 

Russ began cycling at the age of 15 when his father bought him his first bike, a Hercules upright. A year later, wanting a racing bike he bought himself a Coventry Eagle. That would be the last complete bike Russ would buy, opting to build his own since then. 

Russ competed in cycle races from 1953 to 1968, and from 1972 to 1976 and his accolades as a time-triallist are impressive. In the 1955 National 25, he achieved his highest championship placing, coming sixth with a time of 58:35. Over his racing career he also set three club, seven course, and eight event records.

He was also a keen club rider, a life member of the Farnham Road Club, West Surrey CTC, Cycling UK, and the 300,000 Mile Club. He acted as the run leader for West Surrey CTC for 20 years from 1970 to 1990.

Cycling UK’s CEO Sarah Mitchell said: “We were saddened to hear that Russ had passed away, his death is a loss to the entire cycling community and our thoughts go out to Russ’s family and friends during this difficult time. Cycling UK was incredibly lucky to count Russ as a life member and we will remember his astounding achievement of cycling over a million miles, a feat that is unlikely to be matched again. Russ didn’t set out to break records, cycling was simply a part of his life; he showed us all what was possible and he will continue to be an inspiration to all who cycle.”

Russ didn’t set out to break records, cycling was simply a part of his life; he showed us all what was possible and he will continue to be an inspiration to all who cycle.

Sarah Mitchell, Cycling UK CEO

It was probably Russ’s solo cycling touring that enabled him to rack up the miles over the years. Russ cycled throughout the United States of America, Canada, across mainland Europe and throughout the UK and especially enjoyed cycling in the French Alpes but really anywhere with mountains was a favourite for Russ. 

It was on 7 November 2019 that Russ Mantle came to the attention of the public. After averaging 14,700 miles for 68 years, Russ completed his millionth mile. 

To put Russ’s incredible 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.

Russ was featured in national and international newspapers, and last year was honoured with his own plaque on Farnham’s famous faces wall. 

Russ’s legacy will be long remembered, and his accomplishments will continue to inspire cyclists for years to come.

Russ Mantle's funeral

Russ’s funeral took place on Friday 9 June at 1.30pm at Aldershot Crematorium, followed by a wake at ‘The Princess Royal’ in Runfold.

Leave a tribute to Russ Mantle

Cycling groups remember Russ

West Surrey Cycling Club remembers Russ Mantle on their website

Farnborough and Camberley CC announce the passing of Russ Mantle