Josh Quigley only made it as far as London on his epic 50,000-mile journey before a thief made off with his custom FreeFlow bike – nicknamed Braveheart – after the hostel he was staying in insisted it was chained up outside, not brought inside.
However, Josh – known as the Tartan Explorer – has said he was “humbled” when hundreds of social media followers raised more than £2000 towards a new bike to take him on the rest of the expedition, starting with the completion of the 3,500-mile first stage from Edinburgh to Istanbul.
The 26-year-old became a viral hero for speaking out on mental health issues after turning to cycling as a way of managing his own well-being following a suicide attempt in 2015.
“Braveheart” carried Josh on his five previous attempts at a round-the-world navigation and Josh admitted the bike “totally changed his outlook on life”.
But the former Deans Community High School pupil refused to blame the thief, instead stating that he hoped the bike helped them “get through whatever they are going through”.
He told the Evening News: “All I can say to everyone is thank you, it has been one of the most humbling experiences of my life. When I first got that bike, I was not in a good place. People have asked me how much the bike was worth, but to me it is priceless.
“The journey that bike took me on was life-changing; other people don’t know what it means, they don’t know the story behind it.”
He added: “If you are in a situation where you are stealing a bike, you are obviously not in a good place yourself. I don’t judge you, I don’t hate you and I hope that the bike has a similar effect on you as it did on me.”
Josh plans to continue on his route, first cycling to Dover for the ferry to France and then taking in Italy, the Istrian Riviera and Montenegro before reaching Istanbul.
The following stage will take him from Turkey to Tokyo, before navigating Australia, New Zealand, Alaska, Canada, South America and the length of Africa with the aim of being on the home straight to the Capital by September 2021.
And the adventurer has already picked out the name for his next bike, taking inspiration from the legendary story of another Scottish national hero.
He said: “Someone suggested I should name my next bike ‘Robert the Bruce’ and I just thought that was brilliant.
“I have always been inspired by the story of Bruce and the spider because it is a tale of ultimate perseverance and resilience.
“It is a story of overcoming a setback, of struggling on when all hope seems lost.
“That is what I want to do, to keep going no matter what obstacles are put in front of me and thanks to the truly humbling generosity people have shown, that is exactly what I am going to do.”