Hello. My name’s Karl. I’m 36 37 38 39 40 41, and live next to the sea (I mean really, right next to the sea ) in the often really cold North East of England. I’ve been married for 13 14 15 16 17 18 years, and have one daughter, and a huge dalmation .
- I actually wrote the Mr Man story, Mr Noisy. No really, I did. We had a very noisy neighbour when I was five, and our class wrote the story of this and sent it off to Roger Hargreaves . . . a couple of months later, there it was, published. Not that I ever got a penny. But at least I have the satisfaction of knowing that I did it.
- I REALLY like skiing. A few days after my first week in the mountains, I had my annual appraisal with my then boss. At the end, he asked me what I wanted to do long term for a career. My instant reply was, “Well, work’s OK, but I’d much rather go skiing for three months of the year. That’s expensive though, so I’ll need a job that pays at least fifteen months worth - what can you do? “. His derisive dismissal still drives me to make this a reality.
- I took my wife’s name when we married. Well, actually a year after - I thought I wouldn’t mind not sharing a name, but I did. And I couldn’t ask her to do something I wasn’t prepared to do myself.
- As a result of pool-side high-jinks, I ended up in the wrong end of a swimming pool when I was eight, and couldn’t swim. One of the kids I was playing with pulled me out. Thank you. I used to do sub aqua at school, but gave it up in the end - after about 30 minutes under water, I’d get a serious dose of THE FEAR. These two facts are probably not unrelated.
My background’s in engineering and production management - I was a Chartered Engineer at 27, and completed an MBA at Durham a few years later. Having been an independent management consultant for seven years, I now work as a community enterprise coach. I help people put together start-up businesses, and re-build ones that aren’t doing what their owners want. It’s some of the best fun you could ever have without actually riding a bike .
I’ve always been fairly physically active - from cycling and cross-country running at school, a half-marathon between drinks as a student, and regular periods of running. OK, it was jogging really - no racing. When I moved to the North of England, I started running a little more seriously. There were a couple of years doing the Great North Run (the world’s biggest half marathon), but I soon got diverted from this when I discovered skiing.
In 2005, I accepted my Tall Friend’s challenge of the Stratford 220 Triathlon. I liked it a lot, so did two more that year. Since then, I’ve gone on to do other sprint races, and The Cleveland Steelman (a half Ironman distance race) in 2008. This year I completed Ironman France - 2.4 mile swim; 112 mile bike and a full 26.2 mile marathon. All in a shade over 15 hours - yes I fully intend to dine out on that one for a long time.
But I do like to ride a bike. Mostly, this is for pleasure, but I like to combine business with pleasure. So I often ride to work (30 mile round trip) . . . and once I’m there, off to visit my clients. Some of them find it a bit odd that I ride a bike rather than drive a big flash car, but what better status symbol could there be?
Over the last few years, I’ve become increasingly pro-bike. There are lost of reasons, but for most of the trips most of us make, it’s the perfect form of transport. I want to change the way people in non-biking societies view bikes, and help to bring about a revolution in transportation that’s quiet, green, friendly, and above all else, fun.