JOSH Quigley is a world-record breaking cyclist. He has cycled around the world, survived a near fatal car crash, and is a motivational speaker, now aiming to inspire others with his jaw-dropping tales of endurance and determination.  

But less than a decade ago, reaching such heights in a sport the 30-year-old Scot now regards as life-changing was not a thought that had even remotely entered his mind.

And the achievements he has now stacked up on his bike would never have come to pass if it wasn’t for a lucky moment in 2015.

That year, Quigley attempted to take his own life following a difficult period of depression and heavy drinking and a hard-hitting break up with his long-term partner. 

“It [his drinking] started to become something more than just going out with your mates,” he said.

“You’d go out on a Saturday night and then it becomes Sunday and everyone else goes home and you’re still there. Then you go home and still drink.

“The issue for me was I lost hope. I had a false belief I was never going to get over this event, so what’s the point?”

Thankfully, Quigley lived to tell the tale.

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It was, in the end, a bit of tough love that snapped him out of a cycle of feeling like a victim of what was happening to him.

“I never changed initially [following the suicide attempt],” he said.

“I kept going back to the pub because that’s all I knew. The turning point for me came through a conversation I had with my mentor I had through my [social media marketing] business.

I said to him ‘if only me and my girlfriend had never split up I would be happy and the business would be doing so much better’. He then said ‘what other excuses have you got?’.

“That sounds like tough love, but it changed my life.”

But the other thing the Livingston man wishes had been there for him were other people’s honest, revealing stories of hitting rock bottom and scrambling to get back up again.

The National: Josh Quigley's story has been turned into a documentary production company Studio Something, co-founded by Jordan Laird (right)Josh Quigley's story has been turned into a documentary production company Studio Something, co-founded by Jordan Laird (right) (Image: Story Shop)

He often looks back on the day he decided to end it all and wonders if he had seen another story of someone going through something similar to him and experiencing the same complex feelings, whether that would’ve stopped him.

“If I had gone on Facebook and read a story about a guy who was depressed and suicidal and then got on a bike and started to cycle and turned his life around, I don’t know what that would’ve done for me,” Quigley said.

“Once I told my story and put it out there, people messaged me. I had one girl saying ‘I can’t believe I saw your video, I was going to end it, but I’ve seen your video today and it gave me a wee bit of hope to keep going’.

“That was just so impactful for me. I’ve kept in touch with her and she’s got kids and a family now. So you never know what your story can do.”

Quigley fully believes that to solve a rise in mental health issues, more people who have gone through the darkest of days and found their way out must share their stories to lift others and build vital resilience he thinks fewer young Scots now have.

Quigley said: “In 2015, there still wasn’t that much talk about mental health and I didn’t know anything about how I was feeling or how to handle it.

“For people now there’s definitely more stories out there and I think, at the time, if I had heard a story of someone who had been through a break up and was depressed and drinking, that would have resonated with me so I think people need to see stories that are more like their own, but that can only come from more people sharing their stories.

“I have this concept of reference points now. The biggest one is the crash I had in America.

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“I think about that every day but I think about it in a positive way now. I think ‘if I can overcome that I can overcome this’.

“I think if people have got a reference point they can look back on, whether that’s something they’ve done or something someone else has done, that can keep them going.

“When you’re in the gym, you’re lifting weights and you break down the muscle and it repairs and comes back stronger. That is a phenomenon happening in our bodies and I think it’s the same mentally.

“I do think we need to help young people be more mentally strong by sharing stories of overcoming adversity.”

The now full-time professional athlete can vouch for someone’s story changing the course of his life. He was inspired to get on a bike after hearing from Olympic cyclist Chris Hoy at a business networking event and has not looked back since.

Quigley’s story – which includes him nearly being killed when a car hit his bike at 70mph – has been made into a BBC documentary called Cycling Saved My Life, which can now be viewed on iPlayer.

It follows his attempt to qualify for the UCI Cycling World Championships in Glasgow while looking back on his cycle around the world and him clinching the Guinness World Record for the greatest distance cycled in a week - 2719 miles.

Now living in Glasgow with his fiancé Megan, he has ambitions to compete in the Tour De France.

Asked how he looks back his journey from feeling suicidal to where he is now, Quigley said: “I look back on it with a lot of gratitude. The amazing thing about going to such a dark place is that great things can come of it.

“If I had not gone through that break-up and hit rock bottom, I would never have got on a bike and tried to cycle around the world and that was what led to me really changing my life.”

If you are struggling with your mental health, there is help available.

Samaritans are available day and night, 365 days a year on 116 123 or visit to find your nearest branch.

The Scottish Assocation for Mental Health can be contacted on 0344 800 0550 or you can chat to an adviser on the live webchat. 

Information and support can also be found at