Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Bicyclist Amanda Coker of Zephyrhills breaks world record for total miles in a year

Amanda Coker celebrates with her mother, Donna, in September after setting the women’s record at Flatwoods Wilderness Park. She set the overall mark Wednesday.

JAMES BORCHUCK | Times

Amanda Coker celebrates with her mother, Donna, in September after setting the women’s record at Flatwoods Wilderness Park. She set the overall mark Wednesday.

TAMPA — As she pedaled around the paved, 7-mile bike trail at Flatwoods Wilderness Park, Amanda Coker let out a gleeful howl, just as she promised she would so her parents would know she'd done it.

But that's the only sign the 24-year-old Zephyrhills woman had achieved yet another feat of human endeavor. Already the holder of the world record for most miles ridden by a woman in one year, she shattered the overall record, too ­— 76,076 — around 11:40 a.m. Wednesday.

There was no fanfare, no cameras like before. She just kept pedaling, as she does seven days a week — starting around 5:30 a.m. in the Thonotosassa neighborhoods around Flatwoods until the park opens at 7 a.m., then around the park's loop until dusk.

Coker did stop for a few minutes about a half-mile later, for hugs with her parents, Ricky and Donna Coker. By the end of the day, she had increased her total to 76,233.9 miles and plans to add more until her year is up May 14.

She was the only bicyclist allowed on the loop Thursday after authorities closed the park to search for a missing teenager.

Coker has come a long way since she suffered brain trauma six years ago when a car hit her while she was cycling.

"We're so proud," Coker's father said. "This is amazing."

Visitors to the Facebook page of the UltraMarathon Cycling Association, the international nonprofit organization that certifies the record, posted that Coker broke the record. Still, it will not be official until the year is up.

Kurt Searvogel, 53, of Arkansas, whose record she broke, acknowledged the feat to the Tampa Bay Times. He set his mark in January 2016, topping a record set in 1939.

"I knew after I proved it could be done that someone else would beat me," Searvogel said with a chuckle, "but not so soon."

Coker declined to comment. She doesn't have much time for chatter, her parents said.

Once she gets off her bike, she goes right home for dinner and sleep — a schedule she has maintained since she started her campaign May 15.

She has averaged over 233.85 miles a day, according to her online log, at an average speed of 20.27 mph.

"She's taken just half a day off," Donna Coker said, "and it was only because of very bad weather."

The weather was Hurricane Matthew, in October.

Coker broke the women's record of 29,603 miles in September. That record dated to 1938.

Searvogel biked mostly on the open road, riding from Florida to Arkansas to Wisconsin then back to Florida, staying a while in each state.

But he completed his journey on the bike path of Flatwoods.

"It's the perfect place to rack up miles," Searvogel said.

Coker was one of the cyclists he met at Flatwoods.

"Congratulations to Amanda for putting all that effort in," he said.

Adding to Coker's accomplishment is how much she has overcome.

Shortly before starting her freshman year with a bicycle scholarship to Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colo., Coker — then living in North Carolina — was diagnosed with a hole in the upper chamber of her heart.

After surgery, she tried returning to competitive cycling. Then, on a ride just 3 miles from home, a car hit her from behind and threw her 100 feet.

Her injuries included a dislocated shoulder, broken back and brain trauma.

"She put in a lot of work to recover," Ricky Coker said.

The family moved to Zephyrhills in 2014, and in 2015, Coker pedaled from Florida to California.

When Searvogel joined her for a few days of riding at Flatwoods, as he pursued his record, he suggested Coker go for the women's mark.

"The women's record, not my record," he said with a laugh. "She took it a step further. I'm proud."

Contact Paul Guzzo at [email protected] Follow @PGuzzoTimes.

Bicyclist Amanda Coker of Zephyrhills breaks world record for total miles in a year 04/06/17 [Last modified: Friday, April 7, 2017 9:38pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Fatal crash closes Morris Bridge Road at Pasco-Hillsborough county line

    Accidents

    TAMPA — Deputies have closed down Morris Bridge Road in both directions at the Pasco County Line as they investigate a fatal crash.

  2. Mandarin Hide celebrates 7 years serving craft cocktails in St. Petersburg

    Bars & Spirits

    ST. PETERSBURG

    With its mascot, a mounted buffalo head named Manny, decked out in streamers and a shiny party hat, the Mandarin Hide celebrated seven years of serving cocktails on Central Avenue last Thursday night.

    Mandarin Hide’s mascot, a buffalo head named Manny, donned streamers and a shiny party hat as the bar celebrated seven years of serving cocktails last week.
  3. Florida education news: Working conditions, school choice, teacher housing and more

    Blogs

    WORK CONDITIONS: Two teachers at a Pinellas County middle school request transfers out, saying the campus has become "hostile and racially charged." The …

    Pinellas Park Middle School
  4. Forecast: Break out those sweaters, Tampa Bay, as cooler weather just a day away

    Weather

    Tampa Bay residents will finally be able to break out their sweaters and boots this week, but not until enduring yet another humid, rainy day to start the workweek.

    Tampa Bay's 7-day forecast. [WTSP]
  5. Justin Timberlake in Super Bowl halftime show for first time since 'wardrobe malfunction'

    Celebrities

    Justin Timberlake has finally been invited back to the Super Bowl halftime show, 14 years after the "wardrobe malfunction" with Janet Jackson caused a national controversy.

    Singer Janet Jackson covers her breast as Justin Timberlake holds part of her costume after her outfit came undone during the halftime show of Super Bowl XXXVIII in Houston in 2004. The NFL announced Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017, that Timberlake will headline the Super Bowl halftime show Feb. 4 in Minnesota, 14 years after the "wardrobe malfunction" with Janet Jackson cause a national controversy. [Associated Press]