Ern Harvey was born Adelaide (S.A) and became apparent early that he would be of great success in cycling
Harvey began to have success in the mid 1930’s when he won “the fryer” Handicap of a distance 6.5-miles hosted by the Glenelg professional Cycling Club from a line-up of 16 starters and recording the fastest time. He went on further with wins in 1936 at the 65-mile professional “Price Cup” held by the SA Wheelmen consisting of 5 laps starting at GlyndeHotel riding through to Payneham, Modbury, Highbury and paradise with a finish back at Glynde Hotel.
Harvey’s highlight of his career was in October 1938 to win the inaugural Burra – Adelaide 110-mile cycling race among a featured line-up of great riders including Deane Toseland and Keith Thurgood. Harvey defeated N. Moffat by 10 lengths to win the handicap and the “The News” and “The Mail” cash prize with sash for the state Championship.
The win put Harvey as a major contender for future events and became top news in the papers. In the same year Harvey also won the annual Adelaide – Pt. Noarlunga race. Soon after his epic wins, Harvey moved to Melbourne (VIC) to compete which proved a great loss to SA cycling. Harvey competed at regular board events at the Essendon Board track and by 1939 he was lining up against other SA champions to compete in the ” the Melbourne Cup on Wheels” a handicap race of 1-mile with a prize money £100.
Harvey continued competing on the board track and at country carnivals however returned back to race in SA events, Payneham Club’s 8-mile race, Whyalla and Port Pirie races and by the 1950’s Harvey had settled down at Glenelg, Adelaide.
Harvey’s brother Dick Harvey was also a competitive cyclist with considerable success at race meets cometing against many well known racers including Hubert Opperman.
As like many other cyclists nearing their competitive careers, Harvey opened up a shop under his name named Ern Harvey cycles.
The shop was located at 5 Anzac Highway, Glenelg, it later became known as St. Leonards due to a suburb rename and by 1952 Harvey advertised that his bikes were the finest available.
Champions Owen Williams and Dick O’Malley used Harvey cycles to take state titles.
Harvey sponsored many riders, newspapers adverts boosting his business.
The shop catered for all cycling needs and attended to the specification requirements for frame/cycle builds for it racing customers.
These purpose built cycles became known as Harvey Special, they featured a brazed H on the front and while some were of a standard H design others were in a cursive script style (these are not to be confused with a brazed H Healing style).
The top end of personalised elite builds incorporated ornate lug-work designs including playing card deck themes, paintwork and line-work as specified by the customer.