Cyclist reaches incredible landmark

A STOP at a caf� for a cuppa at the end of a bike ride was just the ticket for Geoff Mayne - but his ride on Sunday made it particularly well deserved.

A STOP at a caf� for a cuppa at the end of a bike ride was just the ticket for Geoff Mayne - but his ride on Sunday made it particularly well deserved.

For the ride which ended at Rosy Lee's Teamrooms at Loddon for the veteran cyclist meant he had completed a phenomenal 400,000 miles in the saddle over his cycling life. And he has no immediate plans to stop.

Appropriately he completed that remarkable milestone at the end of a regular club run with members of the Bungay-based Godric Cycling Club, which he helped to found in 1954.

And it was the end of a journey which had taken him to four continents,16 countries, and every county in England over the past 56 years. He started when he was just 15.

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Those 400,000 miles are the equivalent of cycling 16 times round the world, and they see him placed 38th in the exclusive 300,000 Miles Club's roll of honour, and only the second Suffolk cyclist to achieve the distance - the other is Mick Pepper, from Ipswich, who is currently on 459,526 miles. And no one from Norfolk has ever achieved 400,000.

After being welcomed at Loddon by friends and supporters, and a fanfare from the Endeavour Rangers Band from Gorleston, 71-year-old Geoff, a former school teacher, said he had needed 25 miles on the club run to complete the landmark. He had completed 300,000 by 2001.

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“It was lovely having the folks here, and doing it on a Godric Club run makes it very special,” he said.

“In the early days we used to keep mileage records in our diaries - you have to keep a proper record of all you have done. Now you keep them on computers. After I retired I did 12,000-13,000 miles every year and one year I did over 15,000.”

He said he was proud to have done it, and it had certainly not been a chore - “It is about sheer enjoyment.”

He had cycled both England and Scotland coast to coast, done Land's End to John 'o Groats, and done France from north to South, as well as cycling in Ireland, the Orkneys and the Outer Hebrides.

But he said his favourite touring areas were Provence, Denmark and Ireland, and his favourite local routes Aldeburgh to Thorpness, and Suffolk country lanes in the spring. Since returning to East Anglia when he retired in 1991 Geoff, who lives in Bungay, has ridden 228,000.

He would not be drawn on whether he would now set the half-million-mile target in his sights. But he did say: “I shall be up and out again tomorrow!”

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