One of the things I particularly enjoy is hearing about peoples adventures, expeditions and challenges that they are taking on regardless of what or where it is. I was very pleased to be able to grab some time with Ben in between a busy schedule of last minute packing and preparing, for a quick interview on his thoughts prior to him heading north to Baffin Island and his next adventure. Having followed his progress cycling from land end to john o’ groats and back and nailing the world record in the process to seeing how far he can cycling in 24 hours I am very interested in seeing how this one goes. Baffin Island is an incredibly inhospitable place up in the Arctic circle where temperatures reach -30C. You can follow his progress on the link below:
How did you come up with the idea?
For a while I had been thinking about taking on something that posed a new challenge. I was not sure what that would ultimately become, but a few conversations with a variety of people turned to the idea of cycling somewhere that was completely different from the road scene and attempting a ride on snow. I’d also felt a bit flat after the previous year’s competitive racing and I was eager to get back to what I loved about cycling; using a bike for an adventure! Eventually, (and I know I’m missing out a lot of details!) the idea of attempting the traverse of Baffin Island arose and I was straight on it.
Have you done any specific training to cope with the environment over there?
Absolutely. Getting used to the temperature and ensuring that not only the bike but also I function in that environment was essential. And I can tell you I’m not the most resilient to the cold! Getting used to that by being in simulation situations (sitting in a freezer) and preparing myself to get in the right physical shape has taken its time. Especially as it’s rather different from any event I’ve done before. I’ve had to train to be more efficient with my packing, too!
What do you think will be the hardest end most enjoyable part of the expedition?
I am particularly looking forward to experiencing the isolation when I’m up there. My ‘professional’ lifestyle keeps me pretty inactive and there’s so much that happens with a computer screen. I’m excited by the physicality of the expedition and the absence of a screen! I think the hardest part will also be overcoming the struggles whilst being so isolated, and fighting through soft snow! So the hardest and the most enjoyable aspects I’m guessing will be the same. Perhaps it’s more accurate to say that I’m excited about overcoming the hardest parts.
What food will you be eating?
I’m going to be surviving on dehydrated ration packs and regular snacks, such as biscuits and chocolate bars (which I need to keep near my body to prevent them from freezing).
Lance Armstrong said its night about the bike but what will you be riding for this adventure?
My longstanding bike sponsors, Qoroz, have built an entirely bespoke bike for this expedition. They’ve taken the demands of the environment and the self-sufficient nature of the traverse into consideration as they’ve constructed the bike, and the finest of details have been tested and modified to ensure the bike is up to the task. We are extremely grateful to Hope Technology who have provided the components and Strada Wheels for supplying the hand-built wheels. There’s a lot of rubber under this thing!
Why did you opt for working with action for children?
Having spent several years working with children in care, I had come to see just how vital the work of Fostering and Adoption services were. They provided safe homes for children most in need and sensitively helped those children towards more secure futures. Accordingly, I wanted to do something that would support those services in a different way than the research I was doing. I wanted to try and raise necessary funds to assist the Fostering & Adoption work of Action for Children who play a remarkable role in helping some of the most vulnerable children and continually seek to improve the system for children and youth of all ages.
If you would like to learn more about the charity or donate please see the link below: