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 .

Some more interesting facts about me:Mr Noisy

  1. 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.
  2. Skiing. I am SO cool - just look at those shades. 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.
  3. Wife. Ahhhhh! 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.
  4. 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.

23 comments on “About
  1. melbean says:

    I had no idea! You are very interesting 🙂

  2. lacey says:

    Hey, it’s nice to meet you! Thanks for the kind words on my blog. It looks like you are quite the athlete and well rounded in non-athletic stuff, too. I’m reading with interest. 🙂

  3. micayer says:

    Karl On Sea says:

    September 8th, 2008 at 2:18 pm e

    What a fantastic effort! 22.3 mph on the bike is incredible.

    Thanks. There were a few hills but I’d venture to say that 3/4 of the route was relatively flat. My goal was to avg. 19mph so I suprised myself.


  4. Chris says:

    Hi Karl,
    I couldn’t find your contact details. I came here after seeing a video by you about a short cycle lane in Gateshead.

    That wasn’t the worst example by a long chalk.

    For some much worse examples of cycle lanes, google ‘cycle facility of the month’. or visit
    the website of the Warrington Cycle Campaign.

    In particular, see: February 2002, April 2002, June 2002, May 2003, November 2003, January 2004, June 2004 [door zone], September 2004, October 2004 [shortest], February 2005, May 2005 [blocked by fence], August 2005 [narrow], November 2005 [blocked by railings], May 2006 [door zone], July 2006 [narrow], September 2007 [Cyclists dismount], November 2007 [viewing gallery], September 2008 [limbo cyclists]

  5. kimayars says:

    Okay Karl, you have to help me out… My daughter (who is 7) was asking about England (she’s doing a report on her ancestors, which came from there). We were talking about food and she brought up that what we call french fries, people in England call chips. Then she asked what do people in England call “chips” (i.e. potato chips). Jeff and I responded with silence. So if what we know french fries to be are chips, then what do you call chips(like Lays, Ruffles, etc…)? Thanks for your help in making our daughter more culturally aware… 🙂

  6. Karl On Sea says:

    US ‘chips’ = UK ‘crisps’

  7. Andrew Pechy says:

    Hi Karl, Did you ever find a birdwatching book for southern France?
    I saw a comment by you on amazon and am looking for a similar gift for my mum who has a house in the Gers region.

    Many thanks,


  8. Dear Sir or Madam,

    Please provide your email address as we would like to include your blog in our distribution of press releases. Thank you in advance for your reply, we are looking forward to hearing from you in a positive way.


    Gruppo Bici N.A.

  9. MIKE RUBBO says:

    HI Karl, I thought you might be interested in a current down under drama hanging on helmets since I gather GB has fended off compulsory helmets in recent years.

    I’m not starting the pros and cons debate again, but merely reporting that our compulsory helmets might stop us getting the bike shares schemes which are popping up all over GB

    Melbourne is supposed to get the Montreal designed Bixis like London. Only 600 on its streets, as opposed to 6000 for London. But it would be a start

    But even as they sign a contract for the Bixi version to come to the city, Alison Cohen, who works for the winning bidder, the US company ALTA, admits to my camera, just how hard, if not impossible, compulsory helmets will make bringing bike share to Australia.

    Indeed, as a traffic engineer also points out in my movie, Bike share has never been set up in a coulegal helmet along with the bike. Is this a reason why you’ve been fending off compulsory helmets in GB I wonder?

    Will we get bike share, which we sorely need to help swing out bike culture away from pure lycra to more utility cycling? I hope so and make a proposal in the film which might help. Mike Rubbo

    Here’s the movie, what I found out.



    And here’s my new bike Blog, obsessed by issues like these.


  10. MIKE RUBBO says:

    A line in my news on bike share went wrong some how.

    “Indeed, as a traffic engineer points out in my movie, bike share has never been set up in a, country with compulsory helmets. There’s just no way to deliver a legal helmet, automatically, along with the bike on the street.

  11. Danny Ashton says:


    I saw this article and thought you might be interested:
    9 Driving Habits that Most Annoy Cyclists
    Thanks, enjoy the rest of your week.


  12. Christopher says:

    You wrote the Mr Noisy book?? I remember that from my childhood! It’s a small small world thanks to the internet.

  13. thewizenedgnome says:

    A PIECE!
    OF MEAT!

    Hope to hear from you soon!

  14. Brian Foley says:

    Hi Karl and Do the Right Thing:

    With oil spills in the news and May being National Bike Month, the Sierra Club is putting on a bike haiku contest. The poet winner will receive a brand-new Breezer Uptown 8 bicycle . Runners-up will get a Kryptonite lock and a Nutcase helmet. A panel of bike-commuting Sierra Club staffers will pick the finalists and the winner will be selected by Congressman Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, founder of the Congressional Bicycle Caucus. All you have to do is: join the Bicycle group on Climate Crossroads ( http://www.climatecrossroads.org ) , Sierra Club’s social network on climate; post a picture to the group’s gallery; write a haiku about your bike and/or bike commuting. Deadline to enter is May 31 at noon PST .

    Click here for details and to enter the contest: http://action.sierraclub.org/site/PageNavigator/NAT_CC_BikeHaiku

    Here’s the Bicycle group on Climate Crossroads, where the contest is taking place: http://connect.sierraclub.org/Groups/Bicycle

    Any mention of this contest on your site is greatly appreciated. Give me a call if you have any questions.


    Brian Foley
    Sierra Club Web Team

  15. Jesse says:

    Hi Do The Right Thing,

    My name is Jesse Florendo and I work with a documentary called Paul Goodman Changed My Life. We’re sponsoring a contest to encourage people to reduce global warming and improve transportation options in their own communities. Winners in the US and Europe will receive new bicycles from Breezer Bikes and Biomega, respectively. The contest is co-sponsored by the Alliance for Biking & Walking, the World Carfree Network, the Bicycle Coalition of Maine, and Dissent Magazine.

    We’d love to get the word out about this contest to Do The Right Thing’s readers. This is a really cool opportunity that we think they’d be excited about. There’s some more info about the contest below, or you can check out paulgoodmanfilm.com/bike. The contest launched October 1st and runs through October, so if you’re interested in posting about it, today or tomorrow would be great. Please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions about the contest, the film, or Paul Goodman.

    Jesse Florendo
    JSL Films

    To honor 20th century philosopher and social theorist Paul Goodman’s legacy, JSL Films, producer of the documentary Paul Goodman Changed My Life, is holding a contest to help encourage transportation alternatives.

    Paul Goodman, a writer, a radical, and a renaissance man, was the co-author of “Banning Cars from Manhattan,” a 1961 proposal to improve New York’s streets by eliminating private auto traffic. Nearly half a century later, his ideas are now heralded as being before their time, with limiting traffic in city centers becoming more and more common.

    Paul Goodman Changed My Life is honoring Goodman’s legacy by inviting people to propose change in their own communities. Anyone who submits five proposals to their local government (mayor, city council, etc.) can enter a drawing to win a new bicycle. One winner in the United States will win a bike courtesy of Breezer Bikes, and one winner in Europe will win a bike courtesy of Biomega.

  16. Yvon Le Caer says:

    Wishng you a Happy & Successful New Year… while appreciating the good work you are doing all year long.

    Yvon Le Caer
    “The Making of a Cyclist’s Dream”

  17. Chuck says:

    Hi Karl,

    I have checked out your site on several occasions and I really enjoy reading your posts. My name is Chuck. I represent Biking.com, an online resource for all things biking. I was curious if you accept any advertising or sponsorships on your blog. We would love to be a sponsor of your great site!

    Please contact me via this email should an opportunity become available.

    Thank you. I look forward to hearing from you.

    Best wishes,

  18. Tom says:

    Good luck with your build, and please send photos.

  19. Peter rl says:

    Knowing how apprealing people find the C2C and countryside around the North East the group who staged the Bellingham Bash in 2007 are back with Dales Outdoor Weekend. It happens May 7-8 at Stanhope on the Showground. Dawes Cycles have joined other supporters – Chain Events, Vango and Buff.
    More info by writing event@dalesoutdoorweekend.com and one of the eight man organising team will come back to you quickly.
    This is a bike & hike weekend, camping for members of Clubs, and in all a big effort to help build awareness of the biking potential in the region. Please join the fun! Peter rl

  20. Michael says:

    Hi Karl, its a small World. I am from the North East as well – Wallsend. Me and a group of friends do sponsored cycling every year, we are doing the Carlisle to Newcastle route this year.

    Anyway, I own a gadget site and have a special category for Cycling Gadgets, would you be interested in trading links, I have a page called Great Cycling Links

    Let me know if your interested, thanks.

  21. Lyn says:

    Hi Karl
    I really like your site.
    But, mostly, I’m impressed by the Mr Noisy thing. (By the writing bit, not by the not-getting-paid bit. I’m pleased it didn’t put you off writing.)

  22. Jill Burn says:

    Hi Karl ,

    Happy Birthday ! Hope I have the date right.

  23. Nathan says:

    Hello Karl
    Thanks for the caption competitions!
    Please look at my bike blog at http://rideaday.wordpress.com/
    and if possible give me a mention!

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