Edinburgh cyclist does U-turn after refusing to give up on round-the-world trip

By Angie Brown
BBC Scotland, Edinburgh and East reporter

Image source, Josh Quigley
Image caption,
Josh Quigley has travelled 12,000 miles on his bike since he left the capital in April

A cyclist forced to abandon his seventh attempt to ride around the world after his passport was damaged has decided not to give up despite the setback.

Josh Quigley, 27, from Livingston, had aborted the trip after his passport got wet in Australia and the US would not allow him entry on an emergency one.

Now he will travel to Scotland for a day to renew his passport before flying back to Australia to finish the cycle.

He embarked on the trip to beat depression and alcohol abuse.

Known as the Tartan Explorer, he had cycled 12,000 miles on his bike since he left the capital in April and marked 365 days of sobriety in October.

His passport had become wet with sweat after he put it in his back pocket to make it easier to take out to show officials as he crossed the border of Western Australia.

Mr Quigley said: "There was a huge smudge over my picture and there was no way I could use it."

Canadian winter

It would take him six weeks to get a new passport in Australia so he got an emergency one but then he found out he could not go to the United States with an emergency passport so his only option was Canada.

However, he abandoned plans when he realised too that he would be unable to cycle across Canada after looking at the weather forecast.

He said: "When I booked it I didn't think of the practicalities of cycling across Canada in December.

"Now I've thought about it I've realised it's not just a stupid idea to ride across Canada in the winter, it's dangerous. I've been tracking the weather and it's already -10C and -15C in some places and it's already starting to snow.

"I've given so much of myself this year, I've tried so hard to cycle around the world and now I'm faced with a situation that I can't."

Media caption,
Josh Quigley has spoken about his mental health struggles and how cycling helped him

Speaking to BBC Scotland from Brisbane, Mr Quigley said he would now fly to Edinburgh on Sunday to renew his passport.

"I had given up because the last few days had been really tough for me but then I sat and thought about it and I thought 'no, I have to finish this no matter what'.

"It's my seventh attempt and I've never got as far as this before so I have found a way to carry on.

"There is a lot of pressure on me but I have faith no matter what and I refuse to give up despite this latest setback."

He will cycle from Adelaide in Australia, where he left off, to Brisbane. Then he will cycle from Los Angeles to New York before catching a flight to Paris for the final leg back to Edinburgh.

Stolen bike

In April, just weeks into his world attempt, thieves stole his bike, which he nicknamed Braveheart, from outside a hostel in London.

He overcame that setback, buying another bike and travelling onto France.

In 2015, after splitting from his long-term girlfriend, Mr Quigley was suffering badly with depression, and tried to take his own life.

He said he crashed his car at about 70mph on the motorway but survived.

He went to see Sir Chris Hoy speaking in Edinburgh and felt inspired to get on a bike.

He said: "At that time, I wasn't a cyclist. I was a couple of stone overweight, I was drinking alcohol four times a week - but cycling was my way of trying to get happy again."

Image source, Josh Quigley
Image caption,
Josh with his father, who died in 2018

After losing his father to leukaemia in 2018, he slipped into depression once again before deciding to embark on his seventh attempt around the world.

Mr Quigley wants to get back in time for Christmas to be there for his mum and brother.

He said it would be tight and it may mean he now returns on Christmas Day.

He said: I'm feeling really up for it, I can do this and I will."