About me

David Charles: Writer

I am best known as the co-writer (with Beth Granville) of BBC Radio sitcom Foiled, set in a Tonypandy hair salon. The two BBC radio series were preceded by a 5-star live show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2016.

I’m next best known as the writer and publisher of my Happy Friday newsletter, which goes out every Friday to a select group of well-regarded and discerning readers. You can easily join our ranks by signing up 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.

As well as this blog of 500+ 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, which means there is no excuse for not downloading a bit of what you fancy.

David Charles: Touring Cyclist

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 now 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 summer of 2018, when I cycled from Ljubljana to Sofia with the incomparable Thighs of Steel and helped raise over £80,000 for a refugee community centre in Athens.

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.

Me and vegan cake

2 thoughts on “About me”

  1. Hi David,
    I am very inspired by your Mission Statement. I just found your website today, because I was searching for those who do the Pay What You Can philosophy, so I can do this myself when my Documentary Film is finished.I have avoided the corporate business world all my life, and am looking for a way to offer my art to others without going thru greedy big businesses parasites.

    Many people are trying to talk me out of this, but, like you, I have always shied away from money and financial transactions as well, and I never liked the idea of keeping ideas away from people who have very little to give back. And money is just an illusion anyway. We artists don’t create to receive money in return, but we do it to give to others. And those who appreciate our art will, in turn, give back to us.

    Your PWYW Philosophy page is so well worded, with your permission, I would like to add a similar page to my website as well.

    Thank you for inspiring me, David,


    1. Hi Richard,
      Thanks for your thanks!
      I’ve replied to you by email…

      ps: For anyone else interested, I release (most) of my work as Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0) – a “Free Cultural Work”. For more information, see xx

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