Hampshire cyclist, 82, set to become first person in UK to cycle one million miles

CYCLING one million miles is the equivalent of completing Land’s End to John ‘o’ Groats 1,052 times or travelling to the moon and back twice but a retired civil servant is set to become the first person in the UK to cycle one million miles in their lifetime.

Tuesday, 5th November 2019, 9:04 pm
Pictured: Russ Mantle is set to become the first person in the UK to have cycled one million miles in their lifetime Retired civil servant Russ Mantle is set to become the first person in the UK to cycle one million miles in their lifetime - having meticulously recorded his mileage for 67 years. The keen cyclist will this week achieve the astonishing milestone at the age of 82 on his cherished Holdsworth road bike which he has owned since 1964. Since 1952 Mr Mantle has carefully recorded every ride in his diary as he cycled to and from work, competed in races and pedalled up some of the world's highest mountains during tours across Europe and America. Mr Mantle - nicknamed 'mile-eater Mantle' by admiring friends in the cycling community - completed a staggering 22,550 miles in 2001, which is nearly enough to circumnavigate the globe. SEE OUR COPY FOR DETAILS. Simon Czapp/Solent News & Photo Agency UK +44 (0) 2380 458800

For the last 67 years Russ Mantle has carefully recorded every ride in his diary as he cycled to and from work, competed in races and pedalled up some of the world's highest mountains during tours across Europe and America.

On Thursday he will reach the one million milestone by cycling five miles from his home in Aldershot to cafe in Mytchett, Surrey.

Russ, who has never married, described cycling is his 'true love'.

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Pictured: Russ has kept note of the miles he has cycled each day, written within dozens of diaries. Retired civil servant Russ Mantle is set to become the first person in the UK to cycle one million miles in their lifetime - having meticulously recorded his mileage for 67 years. The keen cyclist will this week achieve the astonishing milestone at the age of 82 on his cherished Holdsworth road bike which he has owned since 1964. Since 1952 Mr Mantle has carefully recorded every ride in his diary as he cycled to and from work, competed in races and pedalled up some of the world's highest mountains during tours across Europe and America. Mr Mantle - nicknamed 'mile-eater Mantle' by admiring friends in the cycling community - completed a staggering 22,550 miles in 2001, which is nearly enough to circumnavigate the globe. SEE OUR COPY FOR DETAILS. Simon Czapp/Solent News & Photo Agency UK +44 (0) 2380 458800

The 82-year-old said: ‘When I think about it, it is quite remarkable.’

Nicknamed 'mile-eater Mantle’, Russ said: ‘When I started recording in 1952 I had a cyclometer that made a 'tick-tick' noise and in the 1990s I replaced it with a more modern one which goes on my handlebars and records my miles.

‘In my early days cycling was all I thought about and the natural thing to do was to cycle. To me it just seemed obvious to record my mileage, that's what a cyclist does.’

In the 1990s Russ, who worked for the Department of Environment for 25 years, cycled 265 miles from Aldershot to Monmouthshire in Wales and back again in one day.

Now Russ isn't able to cycle as much but still averages 25 to 30 miles every other day.

He said: ‘This year I'll do about 8,000 which is going to be my lowest ever.

‘My fitness has always been great but over the last three years it has deteriorated.

‘I got rid of my car about four years ago. On its last three MOTs it had only done 50 miles a year each time.’

Paul Tuohy, chief executive of Cycling UK, 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.

‘Russ is an inspiration and he shows us all what is possible.’