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Ben King

Engineer, innovator and creative product designer

I'm a passionate, motivated and creative mechanical designer with a flare for doing things right. 

So, who is Bike Ben?

On a bicycle you are forced into intimate contact with your surroundings, the grass on the side of the road, the vehicles that drive past, the farmer in the field, that damn hill under your wells, the rain on your face, the smell of the wild flowers (or the broken sewerage pipe for that matter). This interaction gives a real sense of the place, the traffic tells you what kind of things are going on in the area, tourism, logging, farming, industry etc. The constant exposure to the weather gives an astute awareness of the day to day changes, or in the case of a strong head wind, any natural feature which will give some shelter . Hungry, thirsty and tired, a warm smile and a few words (or more often hand signals)  is all it takes to find a place to pitch the tent for the night, on real ground with a newly gained sense of the place after a long day in the saddle.

As an exchange student in Sweden in 2003 I was inspired to discover that part of the world by alternative means as my funds were running low and I had an entire summer up my sleeve. Leaving from Lund, Sweden where I was living I covered 2700 km in southern Sweden and northern Norway. I was hooked. Since then I have been on trips in about 12 countries in Europe and New Zealand covering a total of about 8,000 km. So, yes, this always leads to the question, why?

Every since picking up my first National Geographic when I was maybe 3 years old, I have had a deep fascination with people and places. This has led me to far off places in search of what makes a person who they are and what connects them to that place where they call home. Since starting cycling I have travelled extensively, always in search of real human interaction, at a level that is not based on money or business, but a  more real interaction where I can attempt to gain an understanding of a person through their environment and willingness to interact with me as a westerner who is there without a car. Certainly living somewhere is probably the best way to really gain this understanding, however takes a long time and thus in a lifetime there are only so many places we can spend an extended period of time. From my experience, cycling is as close as it is possible to come to this in a relatively short time.

If this is not enough to sell you on the idea, come join me for a week or two and you too will understand…it’s infectious!