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24-year-old from Florida got back on the bike in 2015 after two years recovering from brain and spinal injuries

American ultracyclist Amanda Coker has broken Kurt Seravogel's record of 76,076 miles for the greatest distance ridden on a bike in a year - and she's done it with 40 days to spare.

Since setting out on 5 May last year, the 24-year-old has ground out an incredible 233.74 miles a day on average.

But as the 12 months have gone on, she’s pushed up her daily distance – in the past fortnight, for instance, she’s only dropped below 260 miles on one day, and even then, she clocked up 247.5 miles.

At that rate, she could well add at least another 10,000 miles to the record, which is being done under Ultramarathon Cycling Association rules.

The Florida native returned to cycling in 2015 following a two-year break as she recovered from brain and spinal injuries when she and her father were hit from behind by a driver travelling at 55mph while they were out riding their bikes.

Whatever distance Coker ends up setting by the time her 12 months on the bike ends, one rider already has it in his sights – British cyclist Steve Abraham, who last month set off on his third attempt at the Year record.

And while some may view Coker’s efforts as not being in the spirit of the record – her riding has been confined to laps of Flatwoods Park, Tampa Bay, Abraham disagrees.

Announcing his fresh attempt at the Year record, he wrote: “I don't think she has it as easy as lot of people think. The circuit she rides is known locally as ‘The Windy Woods’, because it isn't that well sheltered from the wind.

“I could easily do a similar amount of climbing to Amanda by staying in the Fens.

“The problem with that is the wind. Any wind over 5mph lowers the speed too much,” he added.

In a post to Facebook congratulating her on the record, Searvogel said that it was joining him at the park as he zeroed in on Tommy Godwin’s 1939 Year record, long considered ‘unbreakable’ that led to her targeting it.

 

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.

36 comments

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Kadinkski [662 posts] 2 months ago
9 likes

People are going to be doing this on their turbo trainers next.

 

There is no connection whatsoever to Tommy's original record - they're not breaking it, they're doing something completely different...a long spinning class or something.

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simondbarnes [52 posts] 2 months ago
2 likes

What a fantastic effort and still over a month to go!

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willythepimp [115 posts] 2 months ago
5 likes

An outstanding achievement after what must have been a horrific time for her and her family. But it doesn't seem to be in the same category as just going out and riding your bike. 

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Leviathan [2551 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes

Well those three comments somewhat summed her effort up. Lets hope Steve Abraham takes it back and makes it an 'open road' challenge again, and on a 'bike' bike.

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BehindTheBikesheds [321 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes

maybe the rules/catergories need changing.

Round parks/closed circuit has it's own record and being driven (back) to preferred starting points for wind/weather/elevation purposes to be banned.

Also, 'bents to be different class/record for that, just as other aspects of cycling.

It is as stated above not like for like.

TG did receive help with some drafting but on open roads plus open to elements and actual hills the impact compared to riding with others on a complete flat with less exposure to elements (due to trees etc) is fairly different.

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Welsh boy [350 posts] 2 months ago
6 likes
Kadinkski wrote:

People are going to be doing this on their turbo trainers next.

 

There is no connection whatsoever to Tommy's original record - they're not breaking it, they're doing something completely different...a long spinning class or something.

 

That is the most stupid post I have seen on here for a long time.  If it was an attempt at humour it wasnt in the least bit funny.

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Yorkshire wallet [1075 posts] 2 months ago
12 likes

There seems to be two camps as regards this. One is the 'great achievement' and the other is in the 'it's sort of cheating'  camp.  My view is it's crackers. If I'd recovered from all those injuries and could average 20mph a day I'd not be riding around the same place every day. Sounds like purgatory to me.

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drosco [262 posts] 2 months ago
1 like

Meh..

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davel [1242 posts] 2 months ago
3 likes
Yorkshire wallet wrote:

There seems to be two camps as regards this. One is the 'great achievement' and the other is in the 'it's sort of cheating'  camp.  My view is it's crackers. If I'd recovered from all those injuries and could average 20mph a day I'd not be riding around the same place every day. Sounds like purgatory to me.

Or the fence-sitters, like me.

It's an amazing achievement and should be saluted in its own right, so it's a shame it gets muddied with the 'but it really isn' t...' comments. Her backstory adds more heroism. The difference in rules and formats should be emphasised more: 'Coker beats ABC record'.

But it really isn't the same as Steve A's attempt, which should be 'Abraham attempts XYZ record'.

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Jackson [327 posts] 2 months ago
9 likes

Thank you to those who took the time to bravely speak out against the achievements of a seriously injured 24 year old girl.

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CXR94Di2 [1579 posts] 2 months ago
5 likes

Did I tell you I did 6 days in Tenerife,  4    I bet I've done more vertical ft than she has?

 

No Seriously that is some major achievement.  Yes the conditions are different, but I challenged most of you to do 10% of that in a year.  

Chapeau to her after such life threatening injuries.

 

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Al__S [1196 posts] 2 months ago
3 likes

Coker and Abraham are both riding to the same set of rules (UMCA HAMR). Neither is doing it exactly in the same manner as Godwin. If you want, you can set up your own rival to the UMCA and claim that your records are the "real" ones.

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unconstituted [2355 posts] 2 months ago
10 likes

There was a guy in a video recently took a tap from a lorry in a cycle lane. Seemed fine afterwards. But he's quit cycling.

Amanda has been through a special kind of hell from her cycling accident, and I doubt she'll ever fully recover from her injuries, yet she's out breaking a distance record. It's not even a grey area. The rules are clearly set, it's just a monumental challenge that few people could even dream about attempting. I'd last a week, and I'm competitive. 

But again, she's, 1. a woman, and 2. it's a distance record, so yes, she'll get shit on from every conceivable angle, which is a rather obvious pattern on road.cc. 

What I want to know is, why would anyone doing a distance record ride into the wind, or on hilly routes. That's beyond stupid. Apply that logic to any sport and see if you don't get laughed at.

 

 

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ibr17xvii [166 posts] 2 months ago
5 likes
Jackson wrote:

Thank you to those who took the time to bravely speak out against the achievements of a seriously injured 24 year old girl.

A big +1 to this.

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oldstrath [758 posts] 2 months ago
4 likes

Deeply impressive, even more so given her history. 

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tourdelound [168 posts] 2 months ago
6 likes

An average of over 230 per day, that's over TWO HUNDRED AND THIRTY miles per day and people are dissing her, unbelievable. Most riders don't do that in week, let alone a day. She is riding to an approved  set of rules and given what she's been through, I don't think I'd want to be riding on public roads either. Respect.

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Must be Mad [609 posts] 2 months ago
1 like

If you change the rules to stipulate hills, then people will just argue over who have the most difficult hills etc...

 

Its a distance record pure and simple - it may have evolved from Godwin's time, but then so have most things.

Time to pop the chill pill and marvel at the achivement.

(at least she didn't go for the indoor velodrome.....)

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turboprannet [241 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes
unconstituted wrote:

There was a guy in a video recently took a tap from a lorry in a cycle lane. Seemed fine afterwards. But he's quit cycling.

Amanda has been through a special kind of hell from her cycling accident, and I doubt she'll ever fully recover from her injuries, yet she's out breaking a distance record. It's not even a grey area. The rules are clearly set, it's just a monumental challenge that few people could even dream about attempting. I'd last a week, and I'm competitive. 

But again, she's, 1. a woman, and 2. it's a distance record, so yes, she'll get shit on from every conceivable angle, which is a rather obvious pattern on road.cc. 

What I want to know is, why would anyone doing a distance record ride into the wind, or on hilly routes. That's beyond stupid. Apply that logic to any sport and see if you don't get laughed at.

 

 

 

I must admit I missed the injured part of it and I agree with you totally it's a big achievement to get back on the bike in the first place and to go and do a record. It would definitely affect my decisions on where I did the record if I had been through what she's been through.

Also agree that any distance record will get dumped on and there are purists, innovators and the vast in between of opinions just as the hour record.

Don't agree in that she's getting grief on account of her gender. A lot of negative stuff on here (I don't like it so no-one should buy it)  but don't recall any overt (or covert) sexism on this matter? Could be wrong.

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unconstituted [2355 posts] 2 months ago
2 likes

Not that you're wrong turbo, you just missed the point entirely. Feel free to go through past articles related to women sticking their head above the parapet and you'll soon get the picture on attitudes towards women around here.

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taberesc [3 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes

The tedium must have been more numbing than the saddle  1

A great achievement, as much in persistence as effort.

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turboprannet [241 posts] 2 months ago
2 likes
unconstituted wrote:

Not that you're wrong turbo, you just missed the point entirely. Feel free to go through past articles related to women sticking their head above the parapet and you'll soon get the picture on attitudes towards women around here.

 

I read your point as Amanda Coker can will and has got derision based on gender. Which I haven't seen.

Site-wide however - Varnish, Cooke I do absolutely agree have had what you are on about. Generally opinions and complaints are dismissed as sour grapes or "that's the sport" along with thinly veiled derogatory comments.

Side note - Interesting duality of having to accept what the sport is and refusing to accept British Cycling & Sky might be up to the same tricks that have existed forever.

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Arno du Galibier [76 posts] 2 months ago
1 like

Brilliant achievement by all accounts.

I can't begin to imagine how mind numbing doing those laps but have been. If anything it's more challenging than doing it open road. Staggering mental resilience.

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SingleSpeed [311 posts] 2 months ago
2 likes
Kadinkski wrote:

There is no connection whatsoever to Tommy's original record - they're not breaking it, they're doing something completely different...a long spinning class or something.

 

Just some information for you as you are quite clearly a bit ignorant...
Godwin didn't have the 'original' record, it was a french chap.
Godwin didn't start his attempt alone he had a chain gang starting with two other men.
A lot of  Godwins record was done on long stretches of newly constructed flat and empty dual carriageways.

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Al__S [1196 posts] 2 months ago
4 likes
SingleSpeed wrote:

Just some information for you as you are quite clearly a bit ignorant...
Godwin didn't have the 'original' record, it was a french chap.
Godwin didn't start his attempt alone he had a chain gang starting with two other men.
A lot of  Godwins record was done on long stretches of newly constructed flat and empty dual carriageways.

I think some people have this idea in their head that Godwin did it all up (not down, never down) some 20% cobbled street on a wet thursday night in Stoke.

 

What he did, obviously, was incredible. What Amanda Coker has done is incredible.

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kitsunegari [195 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes

Chapeau, and after such an injury!

I couldn't do it on a closed track indoors with a wind machine blowing me a tailwind the entire way, so I don't really care where she is cycling..

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dassie [110 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes

Congrats Amanda - stunning achievement, and with over a month to go.

 

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Johnnystorm [56 posts] 2 months ago
1 like

I'm pleased to be living in an age where people are still out there breaking records. Probably just as many cars on Amanda's route as there were on Tommy's 1939 roads.

I'm also thrilled my daughter has a hero to look up to.

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BehindTheBikesheds [321 posts] 2 months ago
7 likes

Okay, for one thing Kurt Searvogel was not the record holder (despite what everyone thinks), he never broke the 'year' record, this still stood at 76,800 miles which is what TG did in 365 days of riding, remember KS didn't have to do a 'calendar' year but any 365 days, thus TG did a calendar year 75,065 but actually rode the further mileage over 365 days

No-one has intimated that TG was always on mountainous roads (20% is rare in the UK) in fact he shied away from the hillier parts of the country and he cycled to the West country during the winter to avoid as much ice and snow and rode to take advantage of prevailing winds as much as he could (but not being transported back to start point like KS was)

We know he was on 3/4 speed bikes, a Ley special 531 with SA 3 speed and the later Raleigh Record Ace with a 4 speed SA with 48/62/72/81 gear inches, bikes had dynohub lighting. He also carried as many as 10 spare tubular tyres due to the poor road conditions and that his RRA was 28lb/12.7kg stock, closer to 35lb all up with dynohub and light.

The wear and tear to the bike, due much in part to the road conditions was so much that Mr T.Ley had to give up sponsorship due to the cost in parts that the bike was requiring. Godwin did have people riding with him at various points along his routes to help and we are certain he went to Lands End but did mostly the potteries area and routes to London.

We also know that TG had some not so good days either through injury or foul weather, 59 miles being his lowest on 25th december 1939, we know he took one day off to meet with other cyclists at the prince of Wales pub, we know he wore wellington boots when it was snowing and had to make up a lot of the mileages in the better months.

The 31 days of July 1939 for instance, he rode 8581 miles, 4046 miles in two weeks, 1500 miles in 5 of those days with a single daily high of 361 miles in June'39.

As a committed vegetarian it was a case of lots of jam butties, cheese and eggs as his staple.

Yes the achievement by AC is fantastic, there is no doubt about it, phenominal in fact, personally I don't have a female 'agenda' I don't care whether it's a man or woman, in my honest opinion the greatest competitive cyclist of all time is a woman, however riding round on closed circuit routes protected from the elements and/or being transported back to a location to take advantage of terrain/winds and also riding recumbents are different records compared to that of TG and that attempted by Steve Abraham and others.

Modern kit as much as you can afford, no problem, drafting by other riders in a bunch, no problem, setting out or relocating yourself (unaided) to take advantage of weather/wind/terrain, no problem, if you can get light traffic/no traffic roads, fantastic, if those roads are as smooth as a babies bum even better, that's just how it is. But the record has to have limits as to what is acceptable so we can have a reasonable like for like just like all records in athletic competition, so myself and others feel that certain aspects are beyond what is acceptable and the UMCA have made up rules (or not applied common sense in not adding some rules) and made a right hodge-podge of it right from the off which mean that no semblence of comparison can be made and thus are not the same records.

I know some have said these efforts are cheating, well they aren't, they've ridden to the rules, it's just the the UMCA have made the rules such that any remote comparison to TG or the record holders before him such as the original holder Marcel Planes, the superhuman Australian Ossie Nelson, superlative riders like Menzies, Bennet and Greaves simply cannot be made.

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SingleSpeed [311 posts] 2 months ago
3 likes
Al__S wrote:

I think some people have this idea in their head that Godwin did it all up (not down, never down) some 20% cobbled street on a wet thursday night in Stoke.

 

 

Exactly.

On a butchers bike and all he ate was Jam Sandwiches and cups of tea...When in reality he was  sposnsored riding on state of the art equipment with support.

 

It's simple to sit behind a keyboard and dismiss an increbibly talented woman doing an impossibly hard feat.

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OldOneLeg [1 post] 2 months ago
11 likes

I just wanted to add a couple of my observations to this discussion. I first noticed this young woman posting 200 plus mile rides each day and leading the distance challenge leaderboard on Strava last May/June. I know the place that she is riding because I have ridden there in the past as well as riding with my wife while she did her first century ride there in late 2015. I saw the time Amanda was starting each day, so one day last August I got up at 4 a.m. drove across the state and was there at the time the park opened, introduced myself and proceeded to ride 166 miles with Amanda. The air temperature got up to about 91 degrees that day and the freshly paved surface was probably about 125 degrees. I'm from Florida and I am used to high temperatures but that day I could go no further...Very hot. Later in the year in Nov., two of my friends and I went back and rode 214 miles with Amanda in 10 hours. Even on that day I was unable to ride the entire day with her. I rode approximately 14500 miles last year and have ridden 50,000 miles in the past 4 years, so I am a pretty capable cyclist. The idea of riding EVERYDAY in the Florida heat, humidity, heavy downpours and constant wind etc. is beyond my comprehension and I have actually seen her in action doing it. I am not some fanboi of Amanda Coker's who is posting here to defend her from the detractors, I'm just a dedicated cyclist who has witnessed firsthand what it is that she is doing. And what she is doing is simply incredible and beyond what I believe 99% of cyclists are capable of. She is an absolutely amazing young woman who has overcome unbelievable challenges and made unbelievable sacrifices to follow her dream of breaking this record. I was also lucky enough to meet her parents Ricky and Donna who either singly or together come to the park at dawn each day and support their daughter all day long. I have huge respect for all of the previous record holders (including Kurt Searvogel) who I also rode twice with in 2015 as well as huge respect for Steve Abraham and Amanda Coker!! I would hope that all "true" cyclists have similar respect for what these special athletes have done and will do in the future.

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