Norfolk cyclist pedals around the world - and arrives home today
- Credit: SIMON FINLAY
It is an odyssey which began exactly a year ago, when Joe Henry set off on his bike from his home in the village of Fring. Today, he will ride back into the village near Docking, perhaps a little weary and saddle sore.
Over the intervening 12 months, the 30-year-old has cycled around the world, on an epic bike ride of some 18,000 miles (28,968km) through almost 30 countries.
Along the way, he has dodged chaotic traffic in India, traversed a seemingly never-ending desert in central Asia and passed some of the globe's most famous landmarks.
His route has taken him through Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand as well as coast-to-coast across North America.
He has paced his ride to take exactly 365 days, averaging around 90km per day through cooler climates, and around 60km a day in hotter, more humid locations.
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Speaking just before he tackled his final leg, he said: 'It's difficult to say how I feel because everything is a blur right now.
'It has been an amazing experience and I need time to absorb everything that has happened... But I'm really looking forward to being back home with my family.'
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Companions he met along the way likened his adventure to that of Forrest Gump, from the Tom Hanks film, who runs across the USA.
He said: 'By cycling, I've seen parts of the world that many other travellers never explore. To me, the most fascinating countries were in Central Asia: Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. I was diving completely into the unknown and I knew very little about their culture or customs.
'Yet the people were so friendly. We were only able to communicate through sign language but they still invited me into their homes and made me feel very welcome.'
Mr Henry, who celebrated his 30th birthday in Cambodia, is also using the opportunity to raise funds for Nelson's Journey, the Norfolk-based bereavement charity for children.
A spokesman for the charity said: 'Joe is an inspiration and we are thrilled to have been supported by him in this way'
Mr Henry is a baker and works in the family business, together with parents Paul and Jane, and brother Nick at the Krusty Loaf bakers in Holt and Fakenham.
'We're so very proud of Joe and can't wait to see him again,' said Mrs Henry.
Information on how to donate to the charity is available through Mr Henry's fundraising site. Visit www.free2wheeling.co.uk.
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