The BBC Radio 5 Live presenter and author, 53, lives in London. Here he tells how he coped with lockdown, and what he’s most looking forward to now…
BLISS ON TWO WHEELS
I only became interested in motorbikes in my 40s, so you could say it’s a midlife-crisis thing.
When I was covering a lot of football matches as a sports reporter I’d get ferried around on the back of motorbike taxis, and the riders made it look so easy. But then I realised it was a different kettle of fish actually doing it myself.
Adrian Chiles, 53, (pictured) who lives in London, reveals he has spent lockdown gardening. Pictured: Adrian with his Yamaha FJR1300 motorbike
I took my test, which was terrifying, on a 125cc moped, which was about as powerful as a hairdryer. The bike I’m riding here is a Yamaha FJR1300, which purrs quietly like a high-end washing machine.
Initially I frightened myself a bit on it but then I had extra lessons from the Institute of Advanced Motorists and now I love it.
I’ve never been a speed freak – getting on my bike is like meditation. My job is pretty stressful but once I pull on that helmet I just get childishly excited, as I can achieve a kind of Zen-like state. It’s the only time there’s no phone, radio or music.
You’re inside the helmet with your own thoughts and it becomes intensely calming. I love the solitude and being closer to nature on the bike. I started with rides around London between jobs and quick day trips to places like the lovely Buckinghamshire countryside around Princes Risborough, where this picture of me was taken.
ROARING AROUND EUROPE
Adrian said he once had an amazing bike ride to Croatia through Germany and the Austrian Alps. Pictured: Adrian was stunned by the Austrian Alps
If I go further afield on my bike, a favourite spot is Warley Woods in Birmingham, where my family live. It’s stunningly beautiful. Then there are the nearby Clent Hills, where I’m from, which have superb views towards Worcestershire and the Malvern Hills.
I once had an amazing ride to Croatia through Germany and the Austrian Alps, and I’ve ridden around Italy’s Lake Como, which was spectacular, and to the war cemeteries in France and Belgium.
Once I pull on that helmet I can achieve a Zen-like state
There are loads more journeys I’d love to take, when I can again.
Helsinki is on the list, and maybe one day I’ll take a summer off and go all the way from Northern Europe to Greece, or even right across America like Ewan McGregor [pictured, right] did in his TV series Long Way Round – although obviously without the film-star good looks.
In the last few months I’ve been pottering around at home, reading Craig Brown’s biography of The Beatles, One Two Three Four; That Will Be England Gone by Michael Henderson, and Richard Ford’s Sorry For Your Trouble.
I’ve also been listening to The Cure and watching Netflix crime drama Money Heist, as well as The Last Dance – a documentary series about American basketball star Michael Jordan – and BBC sitcom Ladhood.
THE COAST I MISS MOST
Adrian revealed the place he’s most looking forward to returning to is The Gower Peninsula in Wales (pictured)
I miss most The Gower Peninsula in Wales is the place I’m most looking forward to going back to. I’ve been visiting there since I was a year old and I’m yearning for it, really yearning.
MY GARDENING FRENZY AND THE PUB I CAN’T WAIT TO REVISIT
My life in lockdown has been very quiet. I’ve turned to gardening – I’ve only got a terrace, but it has quite a few pots on it.
My mum would normally take care of them but obviously it hasn’t been possible for her to come round, so I’ve had to get busy.
Adrian said he misses watching football with friends including comedian Frank Skinner (pictured)
And, if I may say so, it’s looking good. My roses are flourishing, the azaleas were blinding while they were going and something I planted called ‘Yellow Frenzy’ is living up to its name.
Apart from travel, what I’ve missed most is quiet pints in pubs, and of course the gang with whom I watch my football team, West Brom [including comedian Frank Skinner, pictured with Adrian].
The last pub I went to was an Irish boozer in west London called Connolly’s. I was with my friend Kieran and we watched the announcement that the pubs were all closing there. I want to go back to it with him and drink Guinness.
As told to Nick McGrath. adrian presents Chiles On Friday on Ra dio 5 Live each Friday between 10am -1pm.