Norwich cyclist to honour “closest friend” who died of cancer with 4,500-mile coastal ride

Norwich man James Harvey is setting off to complete a 4,500-mile cycle tour around the coast of Brit

Norwich man James Harvey is setting off to complete a 4,500-mile cycle tour around the coast of Britain.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: Archant Norfolk

A cyclist is to remember his closest friend by pedalling an estimated 4,500 miles on a journey following Britain's coastline.

James Harvey's former wife Lucy, who was operations manager at FXhome and known as Lu to friends, died aged 39 from cancer in February 2012.

But after 12 months of planning and having secured a three-month sabbatical from his job, Mr Harvey is to take on the coastline challenge to raise money for the Big C cancer charity.

The 37-year-old, who lives off Dereham Road, said: 'Lucy was my ex-wife but we were very close, my closest friend. She died in February 2012 and I decided it was time to do something different.

'You go through life working hard, earning a wage and you think the time is flying by and there's a lot I haven't seen and done. It seemed like a good opportunity to cycle round Britain and earn money for charity.'

Mr Harvey, who works for Virgin Money in Norwich, said after having the idea of the ride, he slept on it for a couple of weeks to make sure it was something he wanted to do.

He will leave Norwich on May 1 in the direction of Lowestoft. Once he has reached the UK's most easterly point, he will then travel north, following the coastline in an anti-clockwise direction.

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The trip is scheduled to end in July. Mr Harvey said he is looking forward to visiting Cape Wrath in Scotland, although the coastline north of the border meant there would be destinations he could see but that would take a couple of days to reach.

He added: 'I'm hoping to meet lots of people, catch up with friends and hopefully see a great side to human nature that you tend to do when you are out cycling.

'I'll be carrying everything on my bike. I will have a tent, camping stove, etc, and one of the biggest challenges is can I eat enough calories – around 4,000 to 5,000 a day.'

The keen cyclist said he had been riding 100 to 160 miles at weekends, which included trips to the Norfolk coast.

And while he is expecting there to be difficult moments throughout the trip, he said there had been great support from family and friends.

Mr Harvey added: 'Lu is a constant inspiration. We had a very large friend group in Norwich. We all miss her terribly so it's really to mark her memory and all my friends are supportive and they said they will join me on different legs.

'We have Cancer Research and lots of cancer charities but Big C is a local one and they were really supportive and do a lot for people. They were helpful to Lu.

'They're a small charity and if you raise a lump of money it will make a big difference.'

To sponsor Mr Harvey, visit

To follow his progress from May 1, visit