Retired teacher Dermot Higgins is set to pedal into the history books next week by becoming the oldest person to travel the globe by bicycle.
Dermot, 55, from Rush, is due to touch down at Dublin Airport on Easter Sunday, April 1, and will cycle the final route home accompanied by a group of pals.
Supporters have organised a fitting homecoming celebration with a reception in Murray’s of Lusk at 2pm followed by a second in The Strand bar, Rush at 3.30pm.
Dermot embarked on his 31,000km round-the-world cycle last June, just days after he retired from Rush and Lusk ETNS, in a bid to break the world record.
Along the way the father-of-four has managed to raise over €10,000 for Trocaire and the UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development.
This week Dermot is on the final leg of his mega challenge in the US having started in Madrid and travelled through Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand.
He arrived in Washington for St Patrick’s Day celebrations on Capitol Hill and met a host of politicians including An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Senator George Mitchell.
He said: “My experience this evening really brought home to me the fact that Gogodermo has become much, much more than a cycle around the world.
“It’s become a life-changing, life-enhancing, otherworldly thing. I keep having to pinch myself in the ass to realise that it’s really happening.”
He added: “Gogodermo has been such an amazing adventure. For nearly nine months now I’ve been living a frugal existence, cycling from dawn to dusk, eating cheap food, sleeping in forests and fields…”
Dermot also paid tribute to the cycling diaspora who offered him food and shelter along his epic journey as an ambassador for the Freebird Club.
He is due to land in Lisbon around now to start the last leg of his journey to Madrid where he will be joined by a group of 12 friends.
He said on Monday: “I arrived in the Big Apple very early this morning. The reality is that I’ve already cycled enough distance to satisfy the boffins at Guinness – 18,150 miles, 29,210km.
“All I actually have to do is cross the finish line in Madrid, and the record is mine! I’ve done the distance, and I’ve achieved what I’d set out to do.
“Completing the round the world cycle will be my life’s ambition realised. Having the opportunity to support Global Goals and Trocaire is the icing on the cake.”
Last week children, teachers and parents at the school where Dermot taught held a La Ghlas (Green Day) and a ceili to support his Trocaire fundraiser.
To donate visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/gogodermo.