West Lothian mental health campaigner will cycle 1,000 miles

Last year he cycled around the world to raise awareness of suicide prevention.

Thursday, 12th October 2017, 7:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 9:19 am
Josh Quigley

And now mental health campaigner Josh Quigley will complete a new challenge – with a 1,000-mile bike ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats over seven days.

As a young entrepreneur, Josh seemed to have the world at his feet.

But inside he was struggling with serious mental health problems which resulted in a suicide attempt in May 2015 when he deliberately crashed his car into a barrier on the M8. Now the 25-year-old hopes his charity cycle challenges can help to inspire others and campaigns under the name ‘Tartan Explorer’.

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Josh, from Livingston, said: “Cycling is the biggest part of what the Tartan Explorer is now.

“When I first started it was never about the cycling, it was a vehicle on my journey to happiness.

“But by accident 10,000 miles later I stumbled upon a passion for the bike and now I just love cycling.”

He later added: “If I can inspire people by doing what I love, that’s a bonus.”

Josh has embarked on his first challenge he returned from a round the world tour.

The cycle, which will take him on the 1,000-mile trip from Land’s End to John O’Groats over seven days, is one he knows all too well.

Attempting the challenge earlier this year in May, Josh crashed his bike and suffered a concussion, five days and 700 miles in.

Despite trying to continue the challenge the next day he was forced to return home.

He said: “Even for a couple weeks after it I was doing a lot weird things as well.

“I lost a lot of speech and cognitive ability and there were times, for example, I made a bowl of cereal and went through to the living room with the milk rather than putting it back in the fridge.

“It was quite scary actually; I asked myself ‘am I ever going to get my mental ability back?’ It came back after a couple of weeks, so that challenge is unfinished business.”

Cycling the length of the UK will just be the start for the former pupil of Deans Community High School. Josh wants to return to Italy, the country he originally decided to end his world cycle, before travelling to Africa, Australia and potentially Asia. But after that the long-term dream remains to embark on not one but two cycles around the world, both before the year 2020 finishes.

He said: “I want to do my own one.

“The original Tartan Explorer idea wasn’t a traditional around-the-world cycle. It was a lot bigger, trying to hit more places.

“But that’s the big one I’m going to go for, as well as around the world.”
The focus may be on cycling for Josh but it has not stopped him from blogging and public speaking. He also revealed that he is in the process of writing two books which he hopes to release in 2018.

The first book, called The Tartan Explorer: One Boy’s Journey to Happiness will be an auto-biography about Josh while the other will be a children’s book.