cover of Cycle magazine showing Russ Mantle leading a club ride

Russ leading a club run

Russ Mantle died aged 86 on 1st May after several years of deteriorating health. He will perhaps be longest remembered for his achievement of a long held ambition, to cycle one million miles during his lifetime. As a teenager he took up cycling with Farnham Road Club, turning in some outstanding time trial performances. He also discovered the joys of cycle touring, exploring the lanes and building up an encyclopedic knowledge of wherever his wheels took him. He became a mainstay of West Surrey CTC, serving as Runs Secretary for 21 years and principal ride leader of the fast section (variously named General Section, Hardriders etc). He was a very good ride leader, planning a wide variety of routes, which he was able to modify on the fly to maintain the schedule of stops as closely as possible. He also organised and led Youth Hostel tours, a couple a year maybe. He was a good photographer too, winning prizes in our photographic competitions and presenting excellent slide shows of his tours, both club and solo. The latter were often to the mountains he loved, the Lake District, the Alps and even the Rockies. He won our all-rounder trophy, the Benstead Cup, an exceptional eight times, winning or being highly placed in the many component competitions. He was awarded the Bernard Howell Memorial Trophy having been voted the member who had contributed most to the club during 1980-81, and more recently the Golden Crank for his million miles, and he was elected a Vice-President for 2021-22. The late Paul Gillingham wrote a long article about him in the very last club magazine (starting on p.17).