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Mind Mapping: Around the world for charity

On August 27th, Boru McCullagh decided to leave London, his job as head coach at Herne Hill velodrome in London, friends and family, and the security all of that brings to embark on a ride around the world.

In his late teens, Boru was diagnosed with a major depressive disorder which continued into a downward spiral of mental illness and hospital admissions. Without anything working to bring him out of that, he attempted to pick up the bike again, setting a goal of one ride a month.

Two years after that decision, the 23-year-old now sets out to ride around the world to prove to himself that he can support himself where for so long he was unable to do that, raising money for UK charity Mind along the journey.

Despite the amount of time he spent planning the ride, he knew that he would be challenged in ways he could not have foreseen, but there were three non-flexible things: he was going to cycle around the world, start and finish at the velodrome that had helped so much in the past few years, and do that with the main purpose of raising funds for his chosen mental health charity.

According to Mind, 1 in 15 people attempt suicide in their lifetime. Boru himself experienced self-harmful behaviors and attempts to disappear from the world, but luckily he found through coaching a way to escape from that blurred past.

“I got a tattoo covering my arm so people would look at it for a different reason and I hate the way I had to get a tattoo covering my arm so people would look at it for a different reason”

With the donations of involved individuals and brands, his £‎10.000 target is already close to being met. On the other hand, there is still a lot of land ahead to cover by bike.

The route has already seen him pass through Europe and India, and he is currently in South East Asia before heading Australia, South America, North Africa and Europe again.

At the time of publication, Boru is in Vietnam and planning on spending Christmas in Hanoi, to later step into Cambodia for New Year. His initial idea was to spend eight to ten months riding more or less 34.000 km around the world, but his updated estimation puts him in the second quarter of 2023 still in South America.

The Mind Mapping film of the videographer Finley Newmark documents the prelude of this long journey, some bits that Boru documented himself in the first weeks, and the moments both shared when they met again in Turkey.

A big group of people rode next to Boru during the first kilometers starting from Herne Hill until he had to take the ferry to cross to France. From then on he was on his own, and loneliness was something he had to get used to.

Europeans may think that there are many differences between their county and the neighboring ones, but it was not until he stepped into Asia that he felt an actual culture shock. The distance from home was positively correlated with the time he spent on Google Translate trying to communicate with the locals of the countries he was crossing.

It is the experience in general, not only the riding part that is making this journey what it is, so at some points, he also decided to shorten the route to be able to stop and take it all in. The point of view when riding the world with a bike is difficult to beat, but with his approach, Boru is being able to really see the countries he is passing by and the welcoming people that live there.

Mind Mapping is a HUNT Production, in association with Specialized, Albion and QUOC. You can track Boru’s journey here, and make a donation to Mind charity via the following link.