Billie Fleming’s 1938 record for the greatest distance cycled in a year by a woman has been broken – and the rider who surpassed her distance of 29,603.7 miles did so in just four months and could even overhaul the men’s record.
24-year-old Amanda Coker, from Florida, set off on her quest on 14 May and passed the British rider’s distance at 9am yesterday morning, reports Fox 13.
According to the Human Annual Mileage Record (HAMR) page on the Ultra Marathon Cycling Association (UMCA) website, she has averaged an astonishing 227.5 miles a day, at an average moving speed of 19.9mph.
That compares with a daily mileage of 208.85mph and average moving speed of 18.2mph of the American ultracyclist Kurt Searvogel in the year to January when he beat Tommy Godwin’s 1939 record of 75,065 miles, long considered unbreakable.
According to charts on the UMCA’s NAMR page, her daily mileage has been remarkably consistent, possibly explained by the fact that she has stuck to the same route – laps of a flat course in a park that is sheltered from the wind – since May.
Flatwoods Park, Tampa, was also used by Searvogel towards the end of his HAMR attempt.
Coker plans to stay in the saddle, and if she carries on at the same rate for the next eight months she will smash Searvogel’s record, which is recognised by both Guinness World Records and the UMCA, with her annual distance currently projected at more than 83,000 miles.
She began cycling in earnest at the age of 15 when her parents gave her a road bike, and competed in the US junior national championships.
But a crash while out cycling with her father resulted in her suffering brain and spinal injuries leading to two years of surgery and rehabilitation.
Her ride has come in a bit under the radar, with the other two women attempting to beat Fleming’s record both enjoying more coverage in the British media at least.
On 1 January, Kajsa Tylen, originally from Sweden but now based in Nottingham, set out to beat it and so far in 2016 has ridden 23,351.6 miles according to Strava.
That would put her on course to go further than Fleming – known at the time as Billie Dovey – rode almost 80 years ago.
Alicia Searvogel – who married Kurt halfway through his attempt last year having initially been recruited as his crew chief – began her attempt on 4 June since when she has racked up 10,622 miles according to the UMCA, with a projected 12-month distance of 35,245 miles.
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.