Thursday 24 May 2018

'The world is really round, it's really big and it's really wonderful' - Retired Dublin teacher (56) becomes oldest man to cycle around the globe

The journey took 269 days and 210 of those were spent on his trusty bike

Dermot 'Dermo' Higgins enjoys a well-earned pint
Dermot 'Dermo' Higgins enjoys a well-earned pint

By John Manning

Retired Dublin teacher Dermot 'Dermo' Higgins (56) returned to a hero's welcome after becoming the oldest man to cycle around the globe.

The communities of Lusk and Rush, many of whom had entrusted the education of their children to Dermot, were out in force at the weekend to welcome him home.

On Dermot's last day working at the Rush and Lusk Educate Together school he headed off bidding to become the oldest man to cycle around the world.

And now the 56-year-old, as far as the record books are concerned, is the oldest man to have done so.

Rush welcomes home round the world cyclist Dermot Higgins.
Rush welcomes home round the world cyclist Dermot Higgins.

Reflecting on his epic journey across the world, Dermot said: 'I set out to conquer the world and while I'm incredibly proud of having completed what I set out to do, I also feel a tremendous sense of smallness and humility

'I've discovered that indeed the world is really round, it's really big and it's really wonderful!'

He thanked all of his supporters and well-wishers, at home and among the friends he's collected along his journey, saying: 'I fully appreciate the many messages of congratulations which I'm receiving but my most overwhelming feeling is one of gratitude to the world and to its creator for allowing me to circumnavigate it.'

The statistics from Dermot's incredible efforts are truly mind-bending. The 56-year-old cycled 29,850km on the bike alone and when you add in the air, ferry and train miles, the journey comes to over 47,000km.

The journey took 269 days and 210 of those were spent on his trusty bike at an average speed of some 19.5kmph.

His body has changed shape considerably too, losing some 14.5kg along the way which is small wonder when you consider, he was burning about 6,000 calories a day.

But the changes have been more than physical, as Dermo explained: 'The physical changes are only the tip of the iceberg. Monumental changes have taken place in me on so many levels - emotionally, socially and spiritually.'

Dermot dedicated his achiement to 'two special men, one sadly deceased and one very much alive'.

He explained: "Fionn is almost 16 years old and the youngest of my four children. I know that he found my absence over the past nine months to be very difficult to bear. I love all of my four children equally deeply. I love the fact that they have all inherited my adventurous spirit. But something inside is telling me that Fionn will continue the noble tradition of adventure way beyond what I have done long and after I'm gone.

"I never told my father, Dermot Gabriel Higgins, that I loved him and indeed I can't remember him ever telling me that he loved me either. But perhaps this posthumous dedication to him will go some way towards redressing that void."

Dermot appeared on the Late Late Show to talk about his trip before he went to homecoming receptions in Lusk and Rush on Saturday.

Fingal Independent

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