Your commuter profiles - Charlie Keene


You might think Charlie is bonkers for commuting 30 miles a day when his office is only three quarters of a mile from home. But the Baptist minister and funeral director from Hampshire enjoys cycling so much he's prepared to go the extra 28 and a half miles for the sake of his health, happiness and well-being. 

British Cycling member Charlie Keene's Giant hybrid commuter bikeName: Charlie Keene, aged 52 1/2

Workplace: I'm a Baptist church minister but by day I'm a funeral director, based in my home town of Eastleigh in Hampshire.

Tell us about your commuting rig: My main commuting bike is a Giant Roam 2 hybrid. It is pretty well as standard, except for mud guards, a rack, a pannier and two good lights front and back; as I commute all year round and some of the roads are unlit. I occasionally use my B'twin road bike, but prefer a straight bar and flat peds for commuting.

What’s your commute like? My current route is a 15-mile-each-way mix of suburban and rural Hampshire roads, including about three miles of singletrack roads, all tarmac. I pass a retail park, industrial units, residential areas, a village centre, Hampshire's cricket ground, farms and a conservation area. A real variety. It is quite a hilly ride, so it takes about 70 minutes. People think I'm a bit bonkers as I only live three quarters of a mile from the office! As the ride is circular there are shortcuts I can take if I'm a bit late, or if the weather is too bad, which is rare. I rode every day last winter.

"As part of my attempt to lose weight (I was 22 Stone, now 16) I gradually made my ride longer and longer, and as I did the bug bit; now I do the 15 miles."

How many days a week do you commute by bike? I ride every day, giving me about 150 miles a week.

What do you enjoy the most about bike commuting? It keeps me fit, it's good for the environment, it's cheap, it energises before work and de-stresses after, and it gives a great sense of smugness when I pass sometimes over 100 cars in the jam re-entering our town! I also enjoy the camerarderie shared with the other rush-hour pedallers I meet along the way, even if it's just a nod to one going the opposite way.

What’s your least favourite thing about commuting by bike? I don't like one of the inclines on my homeward journey. Other than that it's just the normal rough and tumble of traffic, inconsistant road quality and the weather... but it has to be done.

What are your main reasons to commute by bike? It started about five years ago when I just rode my old GT Timberline directly to the office for convenience. As part of my attempt to lose weight (I was 22 stone then, I'm now 16) I gradually made my ride longer and longer and as I did the bug bit; now I do the 15 miles.

Have you got any funny or interesting bike commuting stories or experiences to share? Riding to work on a cold morning last winter (on a different route to my current one) I was behind two other riders, who I didn't know. We hit an ice patch on a bend in a country lane and all three of us slipped over in perfect synchronised harmony. No serious injury or damage, but we instantly became brothers in adversity... and we did laugh!

What’s your killer commuting tip? Apart from the obvious and oft talked about safety issues, get a bike and associated kit that is right for you and your journey. Don't fall into the trap of worrying about what you think others might think - they're probably more bothered about their own ride.

Are you a British Cycling Member? If so how does your British Cycling membership support your bike commuting? I am a member but I've only been so for a short time. I was attracted to it by the campaigns to improve the lot of cycle commuters. Things like insurance, Insight Zone and legal advice are a bonus.

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