For one Irishman, 33-year-old Breifne Earley, the decision to take on the challenge of a lifetime and attempt to cycle the planet to raise suicide awareness was a goal he had set himself almost three years ago, after deciding one day it was time to fight back against his depression.
Writing on his blog Earley says, “Having battled depression for many years, I sat down in my bedroom and decided to write a simple list of ten things I wanted my life to include rather than the depression which had surrounded me, and tell a few friends about it.
“In those three years I’ve managed to tick so many items off my bucket list, finishing a marathon, learning to swim, participating in triathlons and sea swims, cycling around New Zealand and Ireland.”
On March 1st he kicked off his biggest challenge to date in his attempts to raise suicide awareness. The Irishman lined out as the sole Irish entrant in the World Cycle Race which started in Greenwich, England.
His biggest challenge is to break the record for cycling around the planet, which was set last year at just over 107 days by Englishman Mike Hall.
The rules to the challenge are quite simple: he must travel a distance greater than the length of the equator, which is 24,900 miles, of which 18,000 miles must be done on his bike. He must also travel in the same general direction (east or west) through two antipodal points, which means two cities directly opposite each other on the globe.
Satellite tracking is being used to map Earley on his journey through all the different destinations he is hitting on this personal challenge. In order to break the record, he will be required to cycle the equivalent of Dublin to Dingle (or NYC to Washington) almost every day for 100 days, with only a handful of days off for travel and rest.
Having suffered with weight issues and suicidal thoughts in years gone by he felt that it was time to start raising awareness. Writing in the Irish Independent late last year he said, “I took part in Cycle Against Suicide and I finally felt like I had found my community, a group of people where I felt at home. Listening to the speakers during the presentations or just chatting on the bike, I could have been listening to myself.”
This was the push he needed to get him on his own bike and prepare for the challenges that lay ahead.
Earley is now well on track for his goal and you can map the Irishman’s progress through this live tracking feed at www.pedaltheplanet.tv.
Here are some episodes from the brave Irishman on his #pedaltheplanet #cylceagainstsuicide quest.
Breifne Earley Q&A Live from Smederevo, Serbia: