David Charles the Writer
I am best known as the co-writer (with Beth Granville) of BBC Radio sitcom Foiled, set in a Tonypandy hair salon. The four radio series (nommed at the 2019 Celtic Media Awards) were preceded by a 5-star live show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2016.
I’m next best known for my newsletter, which goes out every Friday to a self-selecting group of well-regarded and discerning readers. You can easily join our ranks by signing up here.
I have recently become known as Head of Hype for Thighs of Steel, a small team raising big money for refugee solidarity by cycling really far. Thighs of Steel organise epic bike trips such as the infamous London to Athens relay and 2020’s lockdown-friendly Around the World in 40 Days.
I am building some renown as a science writer, covering topics like fungi and soil carbon, negative emissions technology and how to survive the Anthropocene. You can browse my articles on Global Landscape Forum, Forests News and Forests, Trees and Agroforestry [here, here and here].
I’m increasingly less well known as a historian and Egyptologist. At university, I studied both ancient and modern Middle Eastern history for five years before realising that I was really only interested in the story bit.
See my portfolio and press page if you’re not only interested in what I’ve written for other people, but also what other people have written about me. Includes the BBC, The Guardian, Vice, The Mirror and many others.
I once wrote a writer’s manifesto.
As well as this blog of 600+ stories, I have written a number of books. Some of these I have published, and most are available as ebooks under my pay what you want policy.
- For politics and tech enthusiasts: Elevate #10 and Elevate: Open Everything? Two books from the Elevate Festival of Arts and Political Discourse.
- For romantic travel buffs: Life to the Lees, about cycling 4,000 miles around Britain in the wake of my grandmother’s funeral, and The Soles of My Shoes, about hitch-hiking London to Ben Nevis with a beautiful stranger.
- For practical travel buffs: How to Cycle 4,000 Miles When You HATE Lycra, tips on cycle touring for beginners.
- For speech and self-recording obsessives: Soliloquy, a transcript of the entirety of one day’s speech.
David Charles the Outdoor Leader
I am a qualified Lowland Leader and have been helping deliver expedition training to schoolkids taking their Duke of Edinburgh’s Award with Off Grid Adventures since 2019. I am currently working towards my Hill and Moorland Leader award.
I am also a ride leader for Thighs of Steel club rides and was one of the core team members for the 2019 London to Athens ride, helping four teams cycle hundreds of miles through France, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Albania and Greece, while raising money to help support refugees.
Bored of sitting in front of a computer all day, I now parade my brain and voice in front of live audiences. Topics include comedy writing, psychedelics, and living without money. I’ve been known to perform poetry.
In July 2019, I spoke (to great acclaim, quite possibly) about the intersection between psychedelics and running at the Love Trails festival in Wales.
I have been cycling almost non-stop since picking up my dad’s old Apollo bike to commute to work in the winter of 2008. In spring 2009, frustrated with airline cancellations, I cycled a childhood friend’s ancient Halfords bike to where he then lived, in Bordeaux. That was the start of my touring career.
In 2011, I cycled 4,110 miles around Britain, a journey that inspired the title of my book How to Cycle 4,000 Miles When You HATE Lycra. I also wrote a book about the ride: Life to the Lees. A year later, I cycled through France, ferried across the Mediterranean and then circumnavigated Tunisia, as it rebalanced after the Arab Spring revolution.
In 2016, I set off to learn all I could about migration from Syria to Europe from the saddle of my bicycle. Along the 1,000 mile route from London, through the contrasting policies of France, Belgium and Germany, to Vienna, I met refugees and asylum seekers from Piedmont to Uzbekistan.
This particular odyssey continued in the summers of 2018 and 2019, when I cycled from Ljubljana to Sofia (2018), then Paris-Bordeaux and Trieste-Athens (2019) with the incomparable Thighs of Steel and helped raise over £80,000 (2018) and £78,000 (2019) for grassroots refugee organisations across Europe, including The Bike Project in Birmingham and Khora in Athens.
As lockdown lifted in the summer of 2020, I retraced a few of my wheel tracks and cycled the entire south coast of Britain, from King’s Lynn in the east to Chew Magna in the West.
As well as these mega-tours, I have clocked up thousands of miles around London and have taken many day and night trips, including the famous 2015 Calais Critical Mass.
I’m delighted to be a donor to The Next Challenge Grant, an annual bursary that helps people go on adventures.
My first big adventure, cycling 4,000 miles around the coast of Great Britain, was only possible thanks to support from my nan. She’d absolutely love The Next Challenge Expedition Grant so now it’s my turn to help you find your own awesome adventure. As nan used to say: Do it while you can!