My Ride, Ben Walsh
I was walking out of school one day and I saw 2 people on modified mountain bikes (trials bikes) hopping off a bike shed roof. I went and introduced myself and got to know them. A few days later I went to my local bike shop and saw a second hand stunt bike, which I brought.
I started riding with the guys on a regular basis and after a few short years I started to compete and took stunt riding/bicycle trials more seriously. From this I developed an interest in how bikes work and how to fix things myself and I found something that I was very good at. I was working full time in various bike shops and had an interest in fixing friends bikes on the side. I did this for many years until unfortunately my dad passed away and I was told by my employer that they could no longer afford to keep me on. This was one of the biggest challenges of my life but it gave me more drive, ambition and motivation to go forward and excel. I had a passion for bikes and found something that I enjoyed and was really good at so I didn’t want to give this up. I therefore decided to open my own business.
Since I started cycling I am definitely fitter and stronger and I have become more competitive. I have found something that I can get lost in which allows me to switch off from the busy day-to-day stresses. I have developed new friendships with people who enjoy the same things which, has even led to travelling around the UK and to Barcelona to ride. This overall has improved my quality of life. Dartmoor National Park in Devon is still my favourite place to ride because it’s 100% natural and has not been ruined by humanity. The natural terrain is also a very good challenge, which helps to keep me motivated and aids in my progression.
Owning my own business (or 3) definitely has its challenges but it is worth it after establishing rapport with very loyal customers and making a lot of friends. They have always commented on my professionalism and quality bike repairs and I strive to give them nothing less.
A little piece of advice
My advice to anyone who wants to get in to cycling is to do what you enjoy and develop friendships with people who also enjoy the same interest. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t and always push yourself to gain the benefits you set out to achieve.