Alex Bowden March 14 2017
Amanda Coker, the 24-year-old Florida cyclist who is making an attempt on the highest annual mileage record, has now passed 70,000 miles. She has until May 14 to improve on Kurt Searvogel’s record of 76,076 miles.
Searvogel broke Tommy Godwin’s 1939 record last year, riding 76,076 miles. As Coker has been averaging 230 miles a day thus far, as things stand she seems set to sail past that mark.
Coker was initially looking to break Billie Fleming’s 1938 record of 29,603.7 miles, but went past that in just four months.
Since then, she has just been ploughing on, doing almost all of her riding on the same route around Flatwoods Park, Tampa – which was also used towards the end of Searvogel’s attempt.
Some point to the flat, sheltered nature of the route as being a major reason why she is doing so well, but then many a cyclist develops a degree of hatred for certain over-familiar roads, so we can’t help but feel there’s an additional psychological challenge that comes with her approach.
Either way, it is quite a comeback. Coker started cycling competitively at the age of 16 but two years later her and her father were hit from behind by a car travelling at 55mph. She suffered brain and spinal injuries which resulted in two years of surgery and rehabilitation.
In 2015, she spent a month riding 2,935 miles across the United States, “in an effort to regain my fitness and reignite my cycling passion.”
You would have to concede that she succeeded in both respects.
Steve Abraham recently began a third attempt on the Guinness World Record for the greatest distance cycled in a year. He said he was anticipating that it would Coker’s record that he was looking to break.