Name: Boru McCullagh
Hometown: London, UK
Which bikes and HUNT wheels do you ride? I'm on a Specialized Diverge STR, set up for long distance bike packing, and ride the HUNT 42 Limitless Gravel wheelset with a SON dynamo laced into the front wheel.
Favourite riding experience to date? One of my favourite riding experiences to date would have to be climbing up to Darjeeling in India on my journey around the world. India is pretty flat but gets mountainous as you push north into the Himalayas and its foothills. As you climb up to Darjeeling, you turn this corner just before the city and suddenly Kanchenjunga, the world's third highest peak, looms in front of you. You're already over 2000m in elevation, and this mountain is still so far away, but it dominates the skyline and it's easy to mistake the snowy peaks for clouds when it's in your peripheral vision. There's something incredibly humbling about being in front of an 8500m+ peak and it was a teary eyed moment for me, realising that I'd pedalled my bike halfway across the world and in front of me was the Himalayan mountains. I think of that moment when my motivation is running low and I have to bring thoughts of how far we can go with two wheels underneath us.
What are your plans for 2024? My plans for 2024 are to continue riding around the world and finish the journey I started back in August 2022, with the aim of getting back to London. At the start of the year I'll be in Japan, and will continue to Australia to cross the Nullarbor Plain, continuing to New Zealand, the USA and finally back to Europe.
What does riding or ultra racing mean to you? Bikepacking to me is a lot more than riding my bike. It's the catayst that allows you to see the world through a different, unfiltered and unrefined lens. I see it both as a way to bring yourself into the world, and the world into yourself as you have to absorb and adapt to everything that's around you. It brings a connection with nature, with yourself and with humanity.
Favourite ride snack: My favourite ride snack used to be Banh Mi from Vietnam, but after spending so long in Malaysia there's no way I couldn't choose Roti Canai as my favourite ride snack. It's an Indian flatbread served with a small amount of dhal and usually a spicier curry. It's available everywhere in Malaysia and is serious fuel - you can also get Roti Telur which is made with egg. It's very affordable, filling and perfect for riding.
Soundtrack to your ride: There's one song which I would describe as the song to my round the world journey: Gdeim Izik by Mariem Hassan. My friend played this song when we were having dinner the week before I left London and I couldn't stop listening to it again and again as I started my journey across Europe. The song opens with Mariem Hassan's otherworldly powerful voice and it's hard not to feel the strength that comes from it in your bones. You feel you can take on anything when you listen. She sings in an Arabic dialect from Western Sahara, so I have no idea the meaning of the words, but the sense of power and freedom it gives me is like no other song.