You’ll know the name, now get to know the person. Mike Carden from Balmoral Knitwear reveals his love of cycling, the books he’s written and his crisp-induced panic

How long have you been working in the industry?
It will be 30 years in September. I started with an embroidery business called Symbol Sweaters in 1987 working jointly with Balmoral Knitwear and my partners, Andy and Viv Hamnett. Over time we helped convert Balmoral into a trade knitwear supplier. For the past 20 years I and my colleague Ian Pollard have run the marketing and sales for Balmoral Knitwear, specialising in school and corporate knitwear, cricket sweaters and promotional knitwear.

What’s your most over-used word or phrase?
I’ll have to ask my kids. There’s probably loads.

Which tune can’t you get out of your head at the moment?
‘5 Years Time’ by Noah and The Whale. It was played at my daughter’s wedding three years ago and then again at my son’s wedding this Easter.

What’s your favourite sports team?
Liverpool FC. When my son was growing up, he was a fan of Michael Owen. That morphed into us following Liverpool, which we still do.

Tomato ketchup or brown sauce?
Tomato ketchup on sausages; brown sauce on shepherd’s pie! Originally a southerner; living in the north for 35 years.

What is the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you at work?
Very early on in my first ever job (for a weighing machine business) I was given the task of driving VIP Japanese guests to our two biggest customers, Smiths Crisps in the morning and Golden Wonder Crisps in the afternoon. Getting them the wrong way round as a raw recruit still gives me a feeling of panic.

What’s your most unappealing habit?
I’m pretty sure I don’t have any. (I’m not asking the kids about that one.)

What’s your guilty pleasure?
Taking an hour out at lunchtime on a sunny day for a cycle ride. We live on the edge of the Lake District. It can be far too tempting.

What’s your hidden talent?
I write and publish books – humorous ones about cycle rides. Three so far: ‘The Full English’; ‘A Bit Scott-ish’; and ‘A Lake District Grand Tour’. All available on Amazon and in good book shops!

If you were to pursue another occupation what would it be?
Famous (and well-paid) author! Wishful thinking, of course.

If you could be anywhere on Earth right now, where would you be?
Cycling in New Zealand. I spent four weeks cycling, walking and kayaking there and would love to return and explore further.

Which gadget or app couldn’t you live without?
Do hill-friendly gears on my bike count as a gadget?

If you could ask one person (living or dead) one question, what would you ask?
I’ve an interest in my family tree and I believe my ancestors were boatmen on the Thames in London in the 17th century. Two questions: were they there during the Great Fire of London? And would they please put a groat in a high interest account for me?

Can’t get this out of my head…

In case it wasn’t clear, Mike’s quite into cycling