82-year-old to become first in the UK to cycle million miles

An 82-year-old is four miles away from becoming the first person in the UK to cycle a million miles in their lifetime.
  • Cycling UK life member Russ Mantle is about to become the first person in the UK to have cycled 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 is now due to complete his millionth mile on Thursday 7 November at the Canal Café at Mytchett, Hampshire. 

Russ, a 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 that’s it’s just natural to be a mile-eater.

“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.

I haven’t really been going for it, the miles have just naturally piled up.

Russ Mantle

“In 1989, when I was up to near enough 400,000 miles, I realised that yes eventually I was going to reach the 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 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, 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’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.

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


Notes to editors

  1. Cycling UK, the national cycling charity, inspires and helps people to cycle and keep cycling, whatever kind of cycling they do or would like to do. Over a century’s experience tells us that cycling is more than useful transport; it makes you feel good, gives you a sense of freedom and creates a better environment for everyone. www.cyclinguk.org
  2. Images available at: https://www.skyfish.com/p/cyclinguk/1614644
  3. Joining Russ on his final miles will be fellow members of the 300,000 mile club and members of the West Surrey CTC and the Farnham Road Club.

Press contact information

For more information contact the national Cycling UK Press Office on 01483 238 315, 07786 320 713 or email publicity@cyclinguk.org