Heacham biker braves bears and wolves on 3,700-mile road trip to the Arctic

Chris Harris, who sets off on Wednesday for the Arctic. Chris Harris, who sets off on Wednesday for the Arctic.

Monday, May 19, 2014
1:05 PM

A software engineer who lost two generations of his family to cancer hopes to raise thousands for Macmillan on a road trip to the Arctic.

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Chris Harris, 43, from Heacham, sets off on Wednesday for a 3,700-mile motorcycle ride across Scandinavia to the Arctic Circle.

Mr Harris and friends Gregg Eldred, Paul Mooney, Roy McGeoch, Arvid Nornes and Vladimir Veletic hope to raise £5,000.

After catching a ferry from Harwich to Denmark, they plan to hit the roads for a 14-day ride across Scandinavia, heading north through Sweden and Norway.

“We’re all IT geeks, we all know each other from the internet, conferences etc,” he said. “A couple of guys were talking about doing a bike tour. We all get together on Skype occasionally for a chat and we decided let’s do the Arctic Circle.

“The route’s a bit fluid, we may nip through Finland then head up into northern Norway. Some of the roads are only just opening up, they’ve got 14ft high snow drifts.”

Mr Harris, who lives with his partner Caroline Ashby, admits the trip is a rite of passage. It won’t be without a degree of risk, riding for six or eight hours a day on frozen, unfamiliar roads.

“I’ve been going through a bit of the midlife thing,” he said. “There’s lots of potential for things to go wrong, there’s lots of wildlife issues, there are wolves and bears in northern Sweden, there are elk and reindeer.”

Mr Harris lost his mother, Linda, to cancer four years ago, aged 57, and his father Dave last year, aged 66. It also killed his grandfather.

“I’m doing this for personal reasons,” he said. “I can raise Macmillan’s profile and do something decent for them. it’s going to be an epic journey.”

Overnight stops will be under canvas, with riders restricted to supplies they can cram into panniers attached to their road bikes.

Mr Harris will be blogging en route here, while their Justgiving page can be accessed here.

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