The Hampshire bike owner hit the mystical marker after seven a long time within the saddle

Phrases Peter Stuart Pictures David Wren

In November, octogenarian Russ Mantle was the primary individual in the United Kingdom to journey 1 million miles. The 82-year-old from Hampshire finished a five-mile shuttle from his Aldershot house to a restaurant in Mytchett, Surrey, to succeed in the feat. Mantle rolled into Canal Cafe in Mytchett recording his millionth mile flanked by means of fellow cyclists.

Mantle has meticulously detailed each and every unmarried journey in his diaries having commuted by means of motorcycle, raced and cycled in Europe and North The united states for all his lifestyles, clocking over 14,500 miles every yr since 1952.

Mantle in the beginning recorded his miles the use of an outdated cyclometer ahead of updating to a contemporary GPs unit within the mid-1990s, writing down each and every journey – vacation spot and distance – in his diary.

We spoke to the person himself within the wake of his spectacular landmark to determine extra about simply how he did it…

Q&A: The million mile bike owner Russ Mantle

Bicycle owner: When did you pass the million mile marker?

Russ Mantle: It was once on Thursday seventh November. There have been about 15 cyclists who arrived at my space and all of us cycled alongside the towpath to Mytchett Canal Centre cafe [near Aldershot, Hampshire].

They’d put a banner up around the footbridge. There was once a large crowd there – 60 or 70 other people – and all of us went to the cafe in Mytchett in combination.

Cyc: How did it really feel to hit the one-million mile mark?

RM: I used to be crushed by means of all of it. I’ve had no finish of telephone interviews in addition to interviews right here at house.


Cyc: At what level for your lifestyles do you suppose you clocked up the most important proportion of your mileage?

RM: After 1974, after I stopped racing. From then on I used to be doing 400 miles every week for many of the yr for a very long time. My mileage persistently greater every yr regardless of severe injuries, of which I’ve had 11.

My easiest yr was once 2001, after I did 22,550 miles. I used to be doing between 18,000 and 22,000 for roughly 20 years. Even if I used to be running I used to be doing about 19,000 to 20,000 miles a yr. I nonetheless controlled 16,000 miles within the yr that I broke my hip.

I’ve been doing much less yearly since 2001. Ultimate yr I did 9,700 miles. This yr I would possibly do just 8,000, which might be my lowest ever.

Cyc: Did having 11 injuries at the motorcycle make you wish to have to forestall using?

RM: No, I got here again every time. One time I whacked the street and broke my hip. I’ve damaged my pelvis on an icy highway. I’ve had many damaged ribs – as soon as a rib punctured my lung and the lung collapsed.

I used to be hit by means of a automobile in Farnham and it wedged me towards a railing. I’ve had a caravan overtake me and knock me flying. I’ve been in Chichester medical institution, Winchester medical institution, Southampton medical institution, Henley, Guildford and Farnham. 4 of the injuries have been severe; the others had been quite minor.


Cyc: What has been your unmarried largest week and largest day in relation to mileage?

RM: My largest week ever was once 735 miles. My longest day was once a journey from right here [Aldershot] to Wales and again, which was once 265 miles.

I went round Monmouth in a wiggly model to get the mileage up, thru Cirencester, Newbury and in the course of the lanes from Theale. I additionally as soon as did a 255-mile journey to Weston-Tremendous-Mare and again.

I did a large number of mileage on fastened gears, too. I as soon as rode all 5 of the very best passes of the Lake District on a 39-inch tools, together with the Hardknott and Wrynose Cross. It was once best 110 miles out of Cockermouth and again, regardless that. 

Cyc: What’s it that has made you so hooked in to biking such lengthy distances?

RM: To me it’s simply herbal to get on a motorbike. Some other people get of their automobile simply to head down the street. To me getting on a motorbike is simply handy. You’ll be able to forestall exactly the place you wish to have, whether or not you’re on a mountain go for a view otherwise you simply wish to take {a photograph}. Whilst you go on a spree you’ll park your motorcycle proper on the doorway.

Plus I am getting to satisfy other people out on the street – you’ll be recognised on a bicycle. The day past a lorry motive force overtook me and shouted, ‘Smartly finished, you million miler!’ When I used to be more youthful I may pass out on a daily basis frequently. It’s other now – it’s each and every different day on reasonable. From time to time it’s two days in succession, however much less mileage.

I name it a excellent addiction. For my final 3 years of proudly owning a automobile I best drove 50 miles every yr as a result of I cycle in every single place. I determined the auto was once taking over storage area, so I removed it.

Cyc: Did you all the time stay data of your whole using?

RM: I stay data of the entirety – all my mileage and all my race effects. I even stay data of my injuries. Some have been within the paper. It’s simply herbal to me. Right here’s one mag article about me again within the 1970s.

Right here’s one of the crucial write-u.s.of my injuries. That’s an inventory of participants of the 300,000 mile membership [a club for cyclists who have ridden 300,000 miles or more and kept detailed records] with me up there on the most sensible of the listing.

Cyc: When did you sign up for the 300,000 mile membership, and when did you realise that you can be inside of succeed in of 1,000,000 miles?

RM: Smartly, after I joined the 300,000 miles membership, again in 1977-ish, I used to be already smartly over the 300,000 mark. I most probably knew again then that it was once only a subject of time ahead of I’d get to one million with out actually attempting. It was once simply inevitable, actually, that it was once going to occur. 

Cyc: You discussed racing – did you race a lot?

RM: Sure I did. I received 36 time-trials inside the Border Biking Affiliation, which is that this space of Hampshire, Surrey and Berkshire. I received 10 highway races, I additionally received 24 Open time-trials. This was once all between 1953 and 1968. I then had a leisure from racing, however I got here again once more and I received my final 3 races in 1975.

My quickest 10-mile TT was once a 22:19. That was once in 1954. That wasn’t some distance off the comp file. My quickest 25 is 57:10 – that was once in 1960, Newark to Tucksford and again. My easiest 100 is a 4:18:49 in Essex.


Cyc: Have you ever cycled a lot outdoor of the United Kingdom too?

RM: I’ve toured time and again in Spain, Italy, France, Eire, the entire of the British Isles, the Rockies in Canada and The united states, Yugoslavia, Norway, and all kinds of different puts. I stay a file of the entirety on my vacations – villages and cities I’ve long gone thru, cafes I’ve stopped at. It’s all there.

My final excursion was once about 4 years in the past. I final went to Salzburg and rode south thru Austria. Not anything was once booked. I’ve all the time simply headed for the vacationer place of work and instructed them I’d like to forestall someplace within sight. Then all I needed to do was once apply a boulevard map they’d give me.

I take images in every single place I’m going, too. I exploit a Pentax Spotmatic, and infrequently use the timer so I will be able to get myself within the shot.

Cyc: Have you ever needed to do a large number of maintenance by means of the roadside over time? Has it made you a prepared motorcycle mechanic?

RM: I may all the time mend issues. I’ve damaged a few motorcycles however that was once when using to paintings, the place a body tube has sheared. I’ve had tyre blowouts, spokes smash, put my tools within the wheel. Not anything large.

I’ve damaged my cranks a couple of occasions, in the course of the thread. I all the time construct my very own wheels; I make my very own cassettes infrequently too. I all the time restore my internal tubes somewhat than purchasing new ones.

One way I’ve were given to discover a pin-prick puncture is to rainy round your eyes and it’s going to select up the air, as a result of your eye is so delicate.


Cyc: How did you suit your paintings round your whole using?

RM: For a long time I labored for the Ministry of Development and Public Works, which was the Assets Services and products Company. I used to be a clerk of works, a web page inspector, and I used to cycle to construction contractors round this space.

Paintings used to pay for the mileage I cycled, so it was once like being a certified bike owner. In 1994 I used to be made redundant, so from then onward I may pass biking on a daily basis of the week, which I preferred.

Cyc: Of your whole rides all over the world, and during the years, which sticks for your thoughts as your favorite?

RM: I’ve to actually consider that one, however I’d most probably say it was once after I got here sixth within the Nationwide 25 Championship. Yep, that’s the only.

Russ Mantle is an entire life CyclingUK member. To sign up for CyclingUK, which provides biking insurance coverage and a large number of different advantages, seek advice from up for

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