Thursday 27th February 2020
We take our hat off to anyone who uses a bike for anything, the more the better. The benefits of cycling considerably outweigh any negatives. Some are happy taking in the leisurely rides, others pursue the racing dream but there's a breed of cyclist out there who look to join an elite group of people who can proudly say they have cycled the world solely by the power of pedalling. Josh Quigley is one of these people but his story is part remarkable, part horrific and part inspiring. After being hit by a driver at high speed during his endurance attempt, backed and supported by Elixinol, Josh is still determined to finish the remaining 2,000 miles. We were privileged to throw him some questions about his recovery and his future ambitions...
Thank you for taking the time to discuss your return to cycling after the serious incident you were involved in last year which we don’t really want to dwell on but how have you found the recovery physically and mentally?
It’s been a rollercoaster of a journey since I got hit by the car in December. I was struck from behind at 70mph, so as you can imagine I was very lucky to live and had a long list of injuries which meant I spent five weeks in hospital and rehab out in Texas, America where I got hit. Although this was the part where I was in the most pain physically. I found hospital and rehab pretty easy and because I was so injured and not really able to move or do anything on my own. It seems to pass much faster and it was actually a great experience to spend so much time in Texas as the people looking after me were all so lovely. Since flying back to Scotland, I’ve found this part of the rehabilitation much more challenging. I’m now at a stage where I am allowed to cycle again indoors on a turbo trainer. But I’m not allowed to do much and I sometimes have to stop because my ankle starts to hurt again. So this part has been the most challenging and I’m having to try really hard just to be patient. There’s not much I can do right now except accept where I am and be as patient as I can be. But it’s not easy as I’m used to being out there riding my bike for 12+ hours a day. I just have to keep reminding myself how lucky I am to be alive and that it won’t be long until this is all over and I’m back out there doing the thing that I love.
CBD has been a massive help to me in the last year since I started working with Elixinol. I’ve found that the product helps with my overall physical fitness and more specifically my recovery. After doing 200 miles on the bike each day, recovery for the following day is one of the most important things. I always find that when I’m taking CBD my recovery is generally better and faster than the times when I’ve not had it. Aside from the physical benefits, I find that CBD really helps me mentally and I always feel a lot more relaxed and chilled out after taking it. I do have quite a busy mind and I’m a guy who lives life pretty fast at the best of times, so I find that CBD just helps to bring me down a little bit and I feel more grounded after taking it.
In terms of mental health, these experiences can really affect a person. What strategies or approaches have you felt benefited you in your return to fitness?
I think always trying to be positive and optimistic. Throughout this whole experience I’ve always tried to first focus on the fact that I am just grateful to be alive, as I could very easily have been killed in this accident. I’m also very lucky to have injuries that will heal and are not permanent. I was in a rehab centre surrounded by people who had much worse injuries than me and who will never walk again. I try to focus on that a lot and be grateful that in a few month’s time I will be back out there on my bike and I won’t have any long term injuries that will prevent me from cycling. I also try to think of this experience as positive overall. It’s really made me appreciate how much I love cycling and how lucky I am to be a full time athlete, and this is my job. I’m counting down the days until I can get back out there and when I do, I’ll really make the most of it and appreciate having my health again.
2,000 miles left on your latest attempt to cycle the world. Were you not tempted to start from mile 0 again?
No. I have big plans and ambitions for once I finish cycling around the world. I just want to finish this now and move on to the next chapter. That’s what drives me the most and I can’t wait for everything that’s going to come after I finally finish this challenge.
We can’t imagine the level of logistics involved in an endurance attempt like this. What is the most difficult aspect to cover and your top tip to anyone looking to follow in your pedal strokes?
I think a lot of logistics now are really quite simple. Technology has evolved so much that there are so many tools and resources available to someone looking to plan a big bike trip. For a lot of the world now, you can use Google Maps and Google Street View and actually see the roads that you would be cycling on, so that makes things a lot easier when you are thinking about how to plan routes and which roads to cycle on. There are so many blogs and articles and resources out there now covering almost every part of the world. For anyone wanting to set off and do their own trip, you can literally read about so many people before you who have done what you want to do or similar. So my top tip would be to spend some time reading these resources and looking at the places you want to go using the available tools.
A serious mechanical failure scare us when we think of challenges like this. How’s your mechanic skills or do you plan bail out points? Do you have access to a helicopter to drop you in supplies?!
My mechanical skills aren’t great and I'm terrible at fixing the bike. I’ve managed to get to a point where I can get by and do most of the simple stuff. But I have spent a lot of time in bike shops getting things fixed and repaired. It’s just one of those things you have to deal with. I think it helps if you invest some money in your bike before you set off. If you make sure the bike has had a proper service and everything is as new as it can be, that definitely helps when you set off. But when you do so many miles it’s inevitable that things are going to break and go wrong. You just have to accept that and do your best. The better you are at fixing the bike the easier your journey will be. But you also have to prepare for trying to fix it along the way. In my experience people will always help you. Every time I’ve been stranded with a broken bike, I’ve been able to get a lift to a bike shop.
Obviously, you can only speak from the countries you have passed through so far but which country has been your highlight and which country gave you the feeling to get the hell out of there?!
I’ve been to over 30 countries on 4 continents with the bike. The country that stood out most for me was Scotland actually. Like a lot of people I hadn’t actually done much travel in my own country. In 2016 before I set off on my first big cycle, I done a big tour around the entire coastline of Scotland. This was my first time up North—and in the Highlands—and I was really blown away with how beautiful my own country was. It was a special trip and I think because it was the first one I did it will always be special for me. Aside from that, I loved Norway and it was also really cool to get to places like Kazakhstan and China. The day I arrived in China from Scotland, was the moment when it sunk in how far I’d pedalled.
When it comes to food, are you wary of trying different cuisines and have back up food or is it all part of the fun to run the risk of…?!
No, you just need to embrace it. It wouldn’t be possible to carry my own food. I was on the road for 8 months last year. It’s just not feasible to think you could carry that amount of food. Travelling light was always one of my main priorities as I was trying to go as fast as I could. I didn’t even have a tent or any panniers. I just had a few handlebar bags and didn’t even have any spare clothes, that’s how light I was. So there’s no way I could have even brought any back up food. One of the best parts of travelling is getting to taste and experience many different forms of cuisine. It’s a real privilege to get to go to so many countries and try all those different types of food. I was also burning around 8,000 calories a day, so you can eat as much as you want and still get away with it and not put on any weight which was great.
Final question, once you’ve finally accomplished what you’ve set out to achieve and join the elite club of people who have navigated the world by bike, what’s next? Fancy walking it?!!!
My next mission is to win the Tour De France! I want to be the first Scottish winner and bring home Scotland’s first winning Yellow Jersey. When I finish cycling around the world that will be my main focus—and everything I do is working towards achieving that. The first step in doing that is becoming a professional cyclist. So I will start racing and climbing up the ranks and then getting signed by one of the pro teams and then working my way up to the World Tour and getting onto the biggest races. Winning Grand Tours and being a professional cyclist is my future, and that’s my ultimate dream.
Thanks again and we wish you all the best on your last leg of your round the world journey.
Thank you :)