The bike was just the vehicle
When I first started my cycling challenge, it was never about the bike or cycling. The bike was just the vehicle for my journey to happiness and the way I could raise awareness of mental health and share my story.
But what the bike did do was take me on the most incredible journey of my life.
Travel on it’s own is one of the most liberating and rewarding experiences an individual can have. But to do it by bike is something even more special.
When you travel the world by bike, you go a lot slower than usual and get to take in all of the slowly changing scenery as you pass through countries.
The experience of being on the road, wild camping and the general ups and downs of long distance cycling can really give you so many life experiences and help you to become a stronger and more confident individual.
My passion for cycling
Although I never started out as a cyclist or someone who loved cycling, I very quickly begun to love the bike. Once my legs started to feel normal again and I got used to the saddle sores, I started to really enjoy the activity of cycling.
I believe it’s so important to find hobbies and passions in life.
Spending your time doing things you love and enjoy is a huge part of leading a happy life and for me cycling has now became a huge part of my life and I couldn’t imagine life without my bike.
The positive benefits of exercise
It’s well known how effective physical activity and sport is for mental health and well-being. Cycling and my daily exercise routine plays a huge part in helping me having the happiness I now have. I find that if I now go 1 or 2 days without any exercise I start to feel the clouds appearing in my head again.
Cycling is a great way to create positive mental health.
Meeting like-minded people
I learned the true value of people on my journey and especially getting around like-minded people with similar passions and interests.
I have since met lots of amazing new friends who also cycle and hanging out with these types of people and engaging in a positive activity like cycling is a great way to have fun and socialise whilst also keeping fit and healthy.
On my challenge I used cycle hosting website WarmShowers and stayed with over 200 families. This was one of the greatest experiences of my life and allowed me into the homes of people from different countries and led to me having many new friends all over Europe.
Cycling gave me belief
Cycling taught me the true potential of human beings. When I begun my challenge I’d never rode more than 10 miles on a bike. By the end of it I’d cycled 10,000 miles around 14 countries. If I could do that what else could I do? It gave me so much confidence that I could take on other ambitious goals in my life and push the limits of human potential.
Doing a cycling tour away from home is one of the most liberating and incredible experiences anyone can ever undertake.
Cycling saved my life.
My advice to anyone looking to do it is just to do it.
Get a bike, get on it and start cycling. You won’t look back 😃
About the Author: Josh Quigley is a suicide survivor and founder of the The Tartan Explorer Foundation, a social enterprise with a mission is to help and inspire others by promoting positive mental health and happiness. Josh cycled 10,000 miles around 14 European countries as part of his around the world challenge before returning to Scotland to start the foundation. Josh has many more challenges lined up over the next 3 years with another around the world attempt in 2020.