Talking bikes

Ultimate Outdoors3 min readCycling

Ben Stokes From Our Cycle Team Talks Bikes

How Did You Get Into Cycling?

My Dad was a mountain biker, initially it was him that got me onto 2 wheels, he would take me round the Lake District and that introduced me to the sport. At high school one of my friends kind of followed me into it and we got more and more into riding together. Watching web series such as the Atherton Project really inspired us to ride more, get the train or beg our parents to take us further and further. A few years later I entered my first race, talking to likeminded people making new friends and riding bikes all weekend, it was just a great atmosphere. I wanted to ride more and more, I think riding events like that are a great way to get into the spirit of riding bikes, and having fun!

Did you fall in love with it instantly or did your passion develop over time?

I fell in love with biking within one ride, but it took the whole ride, it does require some staying power and optimism. When you’re being dragged around at the back of the group and you’re cold and wet the climbs seem endless, it’s not great, and usually this is early on in the ride. However, when you get to the highest point the views are spectacular, the weather seems better and the term "all downhill from here" never rings truer. It’s fast, its rough, it’s scary, it’s brilliant, and at the bottom you've forgotten about the climbing and all you want to do, is go again. For me, that adrenaline rush, the speed, and the trying new things, that's mountain biking, and it never gets old.

How many bikes have you had, were there any favourites and why?

I currently have 4 bikes and have owned 8 in my life; I started out renting bikes from trail centres before buying my own. I could never pick a favourite, I have loved and still love them all! From the first bike I owned that was properly mine, it opened up so many more opportunities. My first downhill bike introduced me to that kind of riding and racing. It could be my beautiful retro late 90's GT. I still have the first bike I fully built myself and I don't think I’ll ever get rid of that. My two mountain bikes get the most use at the moment. My trail bike with Sram 1X11 drivetrain and Fox/ Rockshox suspension, which is brilliant fun to ride and so versatile, or my latest bike which is the best bike I’ve ever had. This one serves as my downhill bike and my race bike. It’s a Viper Red Trek Session 9.9 with Bontrager components, Shimano saint drivetrain and Fox suspension.

Where is your favourite place to ride?

I’ve travelled all over the UK, to the French Alps and to Whistler and loved them all but you can’t beat your local trails. Going out for a ride with your mates on trails you know like the back of your hand, every line, every jump, every drop. One behind the other riding as fast as you can. My local trails would be Gisburn Forest, about 45 minutes from the Preston store. It’s a good mix of hard pack, rocks, and woods, a great all round place to practice riding.

Keep tuned as Ben will be back giving advice for getting into cycling.

Thanks to Ben Stokes, Ultimate Outdoors, Preston


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