A pensioner from Surrey has been revealed as Britain’s most enduring female cyclist after riding more than 600,000 miles – that’s equivalent to going round the globe around 24 times – over the past five decades.
Former hospital worker Sue Swetman, from Epsom, took up cycling at the age of 13, admits she is “not very good at sitting down” and rides she has completed include Lands End to John O’Groats and an 800-mile journey down the West Coast of the USA. She has also cycled around France and New Zealand.
However, Mrs Swetman told the Epsom Guardian that most of the 609,721 miles she has ridden, recorded in a series of diaries, have mainly been as a result of local leisure rides, rather than endurance events.
Mrs Swetman, who continues to ride with her husband Pete, who is himself likely to break the 400,000-mile barrier this year, told the newspaper: “When I was younger we would be able to go on holiday and rack up 1,000 miles in a fortnight. These days we struggle to reach 10,000 miles in a year, but we don’t do it to reach a target mileage.”
She continued: “The cycling is just part of my way of life. It is something I started doing with my family at a young age and something I still do, and happen to still really enjoy.”
Mrs Swetman, who is a member of the 300,000 Miles Club, joined Kingston’s Festival Road Cycling Club while still at school, and once represented Great Britain on the track during a tour to the former East Germany.
She added that nowadays she and her husband prefer walking holidays, however, and the pair have undertaken trips to Spain, Switzerland and the Cotswold Way, and are planning on climbing Ben Nevis this year.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.