Name : Charlie Whitfield
Age : 47
Charlie Whitfield is a fan of building up his own bikes, is keen on riding in Morocco and has mastered the art of recovery nutrition.
Date you joined the Club : About two years ago
Why did you join Kingston Wheelers : I live in Sheen so I use the Park a lot. A Saturday ride with the Dynamo told me that they weren't the club for me but a chance meeting between my friend Robin Cartwright and a Wheeler in the park saw the two of us turn up to a Club Run and sign up shortly afterwards.
What made you start cycling : When I was a boy, your bike was your biggest, most important possession. I had a Raleigh Olympus 5-speed then a Dawes 10-speed. I started dismantling bikes at this time too.
What bike do you ride : I'm a big fan of the self-build and I built up a Condor Acciaio this Summer. I still have my Surly Pacer which has sprouted guards and a rack. I also have an Orange P7 mountain bike. I have a thing about steel, it was a big deal where I grew up. I like the way steel bikes look and I like the hands-on, relatively low tech aspect of the way that they're built.
Give us a brief cycling background : I've had bikes at various times in my life. I got back into mountain biking in 2004 with a bunch of guys in the office. We used to ride the RUPPs and bridleways at weekends. I started with a cheap bike, a Giant Boulder, which I began to improve! Having upgraded everything else, I swapped the frame for the P7.
In 2007 I rode the BHF London to Brighton on the P7. For one reason and another I decided to ride there and back, a trip I completed on my own on my long-forked mountain bike. I loved the ride but it would have been a lot nicer on a proper road bike with a bit of company. The Pacer was found on eBay, a love affair ensued and here I am.
What was your best performance or ride : Climbing to the ski station at Oukaimiden, Morocco in 2008. The last pitch is a 28 kilometre ramp to 2650 metres.
What was your worst day on the bike : The last 20 miles of the L2B2L in 2007. I was utterly spent, utterly alone and utterly miserable!
Who is your favourite pro or inspiration : Robert Millar, a bona fide Celtic nutter. You should read the book.
What is your favourite bike food : The recovery meal. Preferably with a glass of recovery red.
Where is your favourite cycling location : Morocco. For the past couple of years I've spend a Spring week riding in the High Atlas mountains. It's a great combination of friends, hospitality and amazing roads.
Most likely to say : "Accept the pain, Charlie".
Least likely to say : "Anybody for a fast 75 : "