Thursday, January 20, 2022
HomeInterviewsJosh Quigley - "The Greatest Distance Cycled in One Week – Unpaced"

Josh Quigley – “The Greatest Distance Cycled in One Week – Unpaced”

“The only challenge I faced was the sleep deprivation and falling asleep on the bike."

-

Have you ever ridden a 12 hour?

I’ve ridden a couple, with my best, way back in 1980, a shade under 256 miles, from what I remember of the experience I wouldn’t have fancied riding another 55 miles to take me up to 311 miles.

However, Scotland’s Josh Quigley rode an average of those 311 miles every day for a week to establish a new Guinness world record for the Seven Day Cycling Distance Record…

Josh Quigley
Josh Quigley. Photo©supplied

Let’s start with background; where are you from, how old are you and what do you do for a living?

“I’m 29 years-old and I was born and raised in Livingston, Scotland where I still live. 

“I’m very lucky to make a living from cycling and be a full time professional athlete. 

“I’m sponsored by a company called Thomas Franks which allows me to put all of my time into training and the world record attempts I’ve been doing in the last 12 months.” 

Are you from a racing background?

“No I am not from a racing or even a cycling background. 

“I came to cycling much later in life, in my mid 20’s and only really took it seriously when I was 26 years-old. 

“Back in 2015 I went through a tough time in my life which led to a depressive period and a failed suicide attempt. 

“After being lucky to survive this I knew I had to make some big changes, stop drinking alcohol and take my life in a new direction. 

“At this time I was running my own business in Edinburgh and was at a business event where Sir Chris Hoy was speaking; I felt really inspired by him that day, sitting in the audience and said to myself ‘Damn it, I’m going to go cycle around the world.’ 

“This was the big goal I set myself and I jumped right into the deep end and attempted to cycle around the world. 

“There were a lot of failed attempts and false starts but in 2019 I finally went for it and gave it a proper go. 

“I cycled 14,500 miles around the world in eight months and was on the penultimate leg across America when I was hit by a car which was travelling at 70mph.

“I spent six weeks in hospital and rehab. with a long list of broken bones. 

“It was on this journey around the world in 2019 that I discovered a passion and talent for cycling and this led to me becoming a full time athlete and achieving the Guinness World Record.” 

Josh Quigley
Josh Quigley averaged 311 miles a day for a week to take the Guinness World Record. Photo©supplied

Why that record and where did the idea come from?

“In January of this year I had a nasty crash on a winter training camp in Dubai. 

“I came off the bike at 40mph on a downhill descent of Jebel Jais, which you might recognise from the UAE Tour and is the highest mountain in the country. 

“It was similar to my crash in America, I had another long list of broken bones and spent two weeks in hospital out there before flying back to Scotland. 

“I managed to get back on the bike again and after recovering and rehabilitating from all of my injuries, got into good shape and was looking for a new challenge or goal to direct my training towards. 

“At this time we were still living under lockdown restrictions and there were no races or competitions I could enter, so I was looking for something I could do and it had to be something I could do in Scotland as we weren’t allowed to travel outside. 

“At this time I already held the record for North Coast 500 which my team and I achieved in September 2020, so I didn’t really know of many other records we could go for so I decided to take on the Seven Day Cycling Distance Record. 

“It’s a record I had always been interested in as I believed I could do it and I had followed a lot of the previous attempts with interest.” 

What’s the basic premise? As many kilometres as you can in 7 x 24 hours?

“The record is most commonly known as the Seven Day Record or Seven Day Cycling Distance Record. 

“But it’s now an official Guinness World Record and certified and verified by them; it’s official world record title is ‘The Greatest Distance Cycled in One Week – Unpaced.’ 

“It’s essentially who can ride the furthest distance on a bike in seven days. 

“Whatever time you choose to start on the first day, the clock never stops and you have 168 hours until the official end of the attempt. 

“There are a few key rules with Guinness that you must abide with. 

“The most important is that the attempt is unpaced and you must ride on your own with no drafting of any other bikes, so you can’t ride a few miles with other cyclists. 

“You also must do this on a road bike and you are not allowed to do it on a tri bike or with aero bars. 

“It must be on a UCI legal road bike and comply with UCI regulations. 

“The previous Guinness World Record was held by a professional cyclist from Australia but based in Spain called Jack Thomson, who set a new record of 3505 kilometres or 2177 miles back in September 2020. 

“Jack took the record up quite a bit to a daily average of 500km per day or 311 miles. 

“I’ve included the previous records and their distances for some context on the progression of this record over the years:”

  • Tommy Godwin rode 2,084 miles (3,354 km) between 16th and 22nd July 1939. 297 miles per day / 477km 
  • Bruce Berkeley rode 2,825 kilometres (1,755 mi) between 23rd and 29th June 2014. 250 miles day / 402km 
  • Richard Nutt rode 2,830 kilometres (1,760 mi) between 1st and 7th June 2015. 251 miles per day / 403km 
  • James Golding rode 2,842.2 kilometres (1,766.1 mi) between 19th and 25th June 2017. 252 miles per day / 403km 
  • Bruce Berkeley rode 3,333.3 kilometres (2,071.2 mi) between 6th and 12th January 2020. 296 miles per day / 476km.
Josh Quigley
Josh Quigley had to use a UCI-legal road bike for the record. Photo©Martin Mutch

Tell us about your training and preparation for the attempt.

“The first thing I had to do was recover and rehabilitate from another injury. 

“I had a first and failed attempt at this record back in April, but had to stop on Day four with a knee injury after doing 1,178 miles. 

“This was a really disappointing and painful moment for me as I was on track to break the record and it took a while to get over that physically and mentally. 

“I had a few weeks off the bike with my knee and then I was finally able to get back into training. 

“I was basically just doing a lot of big miles and big days on the bike to prepare and get ready for this. 

“I was doing mostly endurance and ultra-endurance training and on a standard week I would be doing anywhere from 350 – 500 miles per week