When did you start riding?
I got my first proper mountain bike when I was ten. It was a burgundy townsend and I remember how excited I was that it was 24 gears!!! It was my first slice of freedom and from there I started going up the woods and down the park. I eventually took up trials riding and continued that for six years or so until I tore my ACL and had to give it up. I wanted to get in the saddle again in my mid-twenties, so I got a new xc mountain bike and that’s when I got into longer distance bikepacking.
What bike do you ride or ride the most ?
My main and now only bike, is a Kona Sutra LTD. I Love my Kona so much I will never get rid of it. Unless Kona wanna hook me up with the new pine green model, that thing is a beauty.
Is there anything special about your bike ?
With the 1×11 groupset and 29er wheels, the bike is an out and out bikepacking beast. I’ve done longer road type trips on it and I’ve also done off road cyclocross style bikepacking. It has lots of cage mounts so options for storage are limitless and being made of steel, it is super comfy.
Have you got a favourite ride or place to ride and why?
Anywhere in Scotland. Whiskey and nature.
What is the most amazing thing you have done on a bike?
One moment that always sticks out in my mind was my trip to Scotland in 2016. I spent a week with two friends cycling round some of the Scottish Isles and Mull was on the itinerary. It was raining for pretty much the entire trip and I remember cycling up the gravel track, after a long wet day, that led to the bothy on Mull. I just remember that feeling of finally making it to the bothy after all that hard work and hundreds of miles. The whiskey tasted sweeter that night and the sense of achievement was overwhelming. That feeling will never leave my mind, and its that feeling that makes me want to bikepack and seek adventure.
If you were to go on a cycling adventure where would you go?
I would love to cycle the Great Divide route form Banff to New Mexico. The thought of it gives me goosebumps and the preparation alone scares me. But in a good way. Plan B would be to travel around Europe for a few months, eating great food, great alcohol and great coffee.
Why do you ride?
I ride for adventure and for exercise. I love mapping routes and just getting out there with nature, feeling free and hanging with my friends.
How do you feel when cycling ?
Hyped all the time. I love finding new places and exploring my surroundings. Like I said earlier, it’s that sense of achievement you get when you’re out on a new route or crunching those extra few miles.
Have you got a favourite view?
There is a local heathland spot in Aldershot near where I live. There’s two benches at the top of the heathland site and it overlooks the area I grew up riding in. If you get up there for sunrise it’s beautiful and it always reminds me that you never know what’s on your doorstep.
How do you capture the views ?
I usually use My Samsung Galaxy S7 as the camera on it is more than adequate enough to capture some pretty good views. Smartphones are ridiculous this days. Apart from that I use a Sony digital camera on longer trips. I would love to take a proper SLR around with me and might do some day, but it’s the risk of breaking it. Plus they add weight which I always try to keep down.
Words and photos by Ben @houseofrides