After 29,000kms and 16 months, Irish world cyclist returns

Breifne Earley, who made journey to raise suicide awareness, will end trip in Leitrim

Leitrim man Breifne Earley (32) will complete his 29,000 kilometre round the world bicycle trip to raise suicide awareness on Saturday.

Earley has cycled through 27 countries in six continents over 490 days to “raise awareness of suicide prevention”.

He said 500 people in Ireland take their own lives every year and an estimated 800,000 do so around the world.

Mr Earley was one of four participants in the World Cycle Race who set off from Greenwich outside London on March 1st 2014 but is the only one to complete the race.

En route he has given talks in colleges and schools on suicide prevention. His journey took him through Europe, India, South-East Asia, Australia and New Zealand, the US, to Spain, France and the UK. He arrived in London last Saturday, July 5th for the official end of the World Cycle Race and was crowned winner.

During the Spanish leg of his trip, an American college flew him to the US to address their students. He rejoined his trip in Spain five days later.

On his website Mr Earley said: "I may have crossed the finish line of the World Cycle Race in London last weekend but in my head the real finish line of my journey has always been at home in Leitrim.

“It’s a small but beautiful part of the world that I’m immensely proud to call home....To have started and ended with the support of the community that I grew up in is a huge honour.”

His motivation to undertake the trip came from his own experience, he said. “I was depressed, lonely, very single, severely overweight, unhappy in work and having regular suicidal thoughts. I decided I needed to sort my life out.”

He will start the final leg of his journey in Mullingar at 10am on Saturday morning and plans to arrive in his native Leitrim village by 5pm.

During this journey he will pass through Longford at around 1pm where he will be joined by cyclists from local cycling clubs. He is due to reach Carrick-on-Shannon at 4.30pm where he is expected to be joined by more local cyclists.

At their meeting on Monday members of Leitrim Co Council passed a motion congratulating Earley "on his magnificent achievement" and a civic reception is planned.

His mantra in his talks around the world has been: “it’s ok not to feel ok. It’s absolutely ok to ask for help. It’s a message he wants to spread “as far and as wide as possible”.