A MINUTE WITH: BEN INSTONE
Second to Michael Hutchinson by just 20 seconds in the National 50-Mile Time Trial Championship in June, 33-year-old Ben Instone loves his bikes so much he only learned to drive three months ago
When did you start cycling, and why?
I’ve always cycled, right from being young. I only learned to drive three months ago, so cycling has been my only form of transport virtually throughout my life. My first ‘proper’ bike was a Gary Fisher mountain bike — that was before I got into real bikes!
Do you come from a cycling family?
No, not at all. I’m the only one who cycles. In fact, I’m the only one who is a bit sporty.
What sort of mileage do you do?
I used to commute 60 miles each day to work, but now I work for myself I’m not sure how far I go. I prefer to talk about it in hours — at the moment I’m doing about 12-14 a week.
What has been your best moment in cycling?
I’ve had lots of good moments, but none that stick out above the others. Every ride is good to me.
And your worst?
I was out training once and I rode into the side of a BT van and cracked my ribs. He pulled out on me at a junction and wrote off my bike. Thankfully the insurance paid for a nice new bike, and my ribs healed!
What do you say to people who think time trialling is boring?
Time trialling is different to other disciplines of cycling, but I wouldn’t say it’s boring. I do the occasional road race for training and for fun — it’s good to ride with other people sometimes, but time triallists have to be tougher than your average roadman.
What’s it like running a bike business?
It’s great, because it gives me plenty of time to get out on my bike. I started in the business about 10-11 years ago. I was working in a windsurfing shop and they started selling mountain bikes, so I ran that side for them. I’ve been working for myself for just over three years now.
If you could swap places with any other sportsman for a day, who would it be?
I would love to swap places with a high profile footballer. I hate football, but at least at the end of the day I’d be rich enough to retire — I’m never going to be a millionaire working in cycling!
Who do you most admire in cycling?
I admire the people who put a lot of effort into organising races and keeping the sport going. They’re really underrated.
What is your ideal holiday location?
Somewhere warm and dry with not many cars on the roads. My bike always goes with me on holiday — if not, then my snowboard.
What is your favourite food?
I eat everything except fish, but if I had a choice it would have to be an Indian takeaway.
Beer or wine?
Actually, I don’t drink at all. I just haven’t found any alcohol I like the taste of.
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