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Profile of Tom McCloy

Tom McCloy

Basic Information

Birthday: October, 1981
Hometown: Maghera, Northern Ireland
Activities & Interests: Cycling (I should bloody well hope so!), hiking, skiing.

Favorite Quote: “It’s a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no telling where you might be swept off to.” – JRR Tolkien

Why I’m Cycling

…is a question I’ve asked myself many times since the the idea was initially floated to me back in 2006. I’ve tried several times to answer it, but each one has failed to satisfy, either coming across as too mawkish or disjointed for my liking.

So instead, I’ll tell you a story:

When the team first mentioned that they were planning to ride overland from Seoul to London, I wished them luck, bade them good day and thanked myself that I wasn’t reckless or foolhardy enough to join such earnest fools who’d most likely die falling down the steppes in Kazakhstan. Secretly, I was honoured to have been asked, and also terrified at the thought. There it sat at the back of my mind, an interesting daydream to ponder on as I went about the business of teaching. I resolved to think about it.

So I thought….

and I thought…

and I thought.

That’s what we Thomases do, apparently.  It says so on the back of my keyring, a present from my mother when I moved into my first student gaff many moons ago: “Thinks long and hard about things”. That’s another way of saying we sometimes procrastinate on the important stuff, but it just sounds classier.

Hell, I might have thought until doomsday, were it not for a few timely events in my life:

That August, I did a 660 km bike ride up and down the Danube and thought that another 15,500 or so kilometres would be a pushover.

I broke up with my then-girlfriend , was in a vulnerable place,and then…

    a)I realized that life is short, and change happens beyond our control. We have to take a chance sometimes..


    b)well, the guys simply nagged me until I agreed to come.

    See, the short answer is much more fun than any highfalutin psychobabble I could come up with. A little revolution, Thomas Jefferson once said, is a good thing. Extrapolating, 16,000 km worth of revolutions should amount to a very good thing indeed.

    The trip is going to be a mammoth undertaking and, for all my blathering, I fully realize how tough it’s going to be. I’ve no idea what will happen in the months to come; maybe we’ll make it, maybe we won’t. I’m sure as hell going to try my damnedest, and I know that Jared, David, and Katie will do the same. Stubbornness is a quality that won’t be in short supply among the four of us, for better or worse. There isn’t a group of people I’d trust more to accompany me, or anyone I’d rather do this with (even my own lovely Ruth). That’s about as close to an explanation as you’ll get from me.

    p.s. I’m still wondering how to get my bike up those Kazakh steppes (That word…. I do not think it means what you think it means).