Hi Ben, could you quickly introduce yourself to the readers of street ride.
My name is Ben Rowlands and I’m a 24” street rider based in Bristol.
How long have you been riding?
On and off for about 10 years now
Have you always ridden trials?
I started off riding XC but really wanting to do something more exciting like dirt jumping and freeriding. After attempting the latter but not really having anyone to share it with I happened across some trials riders one day and the scene, particularly the types of characters involved in trials, pulled me in. Since then I’ve also spent some time riding BMX and road biking but I always come back to street trials because, for me, it holds the greatest creative potential, variation and the most interesting/fun people.
What is your current bike set up?
I currently ride an Inspired 4play 2011 frame with Inspired bars and team forks. I’m very grateful that Inspired exist because, for my riding, I think everything else would be lacking in strength and geometry. Other noteworthy parts on my bike are Saint cranks and Spank Stiffee rims. Both of these are awesomely strong and stiff. My bike is setup to be as tall as possible. The fork’s steerer is uncut with the maximum amount of stem stackers that will fit and a 90×35 stem. This seem to help with my height and spinning the bike.
Do you ride any other discipline of the sport?
I guess I’ve already kind of answered this question but at present I still ride my road every now and then. I’ve also just recently bought a TGS bike for when I’m feeling a bit bored with riding the 24” bike which happens every now and then.
Where else do you love to ride, apart from your home town of Bristol?
London definitely stands out as an area I really like to ride. It’s not just because of what I have ridden there so far but also the feeling that there are probably so many amazing spots yet to be found. I’ve always found searching out spots to be a very rewarding part of riding and London is definitely the most fertile ground for that!
Who are you inspired by?
The big names that have inspired me the most have to be Chris Akrigg and Eddie Tongue. Particularly Eddie Tongue though because I think his style is amazing; it seems effortless. My inspiration can’t be reduced to just these two though and, hopefully without sounding like I’m trying to be diplomatic, I find inspiration with everyone in so much as they are pushing and progressing themselves. Perhaps, in terms of my more immediate environment though, Nick Cooke is definitely somebody that inspires my riding that little bit more despite the fact that we are quite different in our aims. It also wouldn’t be fair to not mention individuals such as Ali C, Danny Mac, Rowan and James Porter as people who have driven me to push myself more. Just these few names really doesn’t do justice to the multitudes that have also inspired me though.
Who do you love to ride with?
Again, most people! I really enjoy big rides with the atmosphere they bring. I guess though I really enjoy the company of my regular local riding mates the most. This seems natural as they’re the people I’ve really gotten to know. I’m most likely to have banter and deeper discussions alongside the riding with those individuals.
What do you do to chill out, when you’re not riding a bike?
I like to spend my time away from riding reading non-fiction, meditating, practicing yoga, running, going to the gym and watching films. Although some of those activities are partly done in consideration of riding in so much as they support my development of it.
If you could ride anywhere in the world where would it be?
I’ve heard great things about Barcelona so I’d like to try riding there but, I think, America looks like it would be a very rewarding place to ride.
Your renowned for your amazing street trials videos, are you always thinking about new lines & tricks you want to try/film?
There’s not a day that goes by where I’m not constructing lines in my head and placing them into an imagined edit. Everywhere I go my ‘trials eyes’ are working to spot new lines. I can’t imagine not doing this and, if I didn’t, I think my riding would suffer immensely. Thinking in this way offers me a lot of energy and motivation for riding. It’s all very integral to my riding experience.
Finally is there anyone you would like to thank?
All the people that ride and whom I’ve experienced in my time of riding. Without them riding would have been a dry experience that I know I wouldn’t have stuck at.