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Cyclist’s cup

Here’s a photo from the October 12 1937 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a man who had just set a record for most miles cycled in a year.

René Menzies (1889-1971; dates approximate) had just beaten a distance record set by Walter Greaves of Britain, who had cycled 45.385 miles in 1936 despite having only one arm. Distance cycling was a hazardous sport, as the competitors were riding during the winter: Greaves fell off numerous times while achieving his record, and Menzies missed 24 days of riding when he fell and broke his arm while riding on an icy road.

Menzies eventually made it to 61,561 miles in 1937, but he was not the only cyclist trying to achieve a distance record that year. On the other side of the world, Australian Ossie Nicholson soon broke Menzies’ mark, piling up 62,657 miles. In 1939, the record returned to Britain, as Tommy Godwin rode 76,076 miles. This record stood until 2015.

During the Second World War, Menzies served as Charles de Gaulle’s chauffeur. After the war, Menzies vowed to at least beat Nicholson’s mark, and accomplished this in 1952, riding 62,658 miles. He beat Nicholson’s mark at 10:15 am of the last day of the year.

He apparently passed away in 1971 while pedalling around Hyde Park Corner in London; I couldn’t discover any details on what happened, including the exact date.

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