A self-bio in Ben's own words...
Here is a note we found in Ben's phone from a few years back when he was looking for sponsors for his adventures...
My name is Ben Stephens and I would love to be a Blackburn Ranger.
A little about myself…
I was born in Athens, Georgia - Go Dawgs - and I still currently live here. I have a passion for the outdoors and for exploration that I believe is rooted in the experiences I had growing up. I was always free to take my bike and go off to explore the neighborhood with my brothers and neighborhood friends. Some of my favorite activities included making forts, climbing trees, digging fox holes, playing in the river, and building ramps to jump our bikes into the lake. Thing is, at 26 years old, all of those things still sound pretty fun to me.
Although the responsibility and necessity to make a living is inevitable, I still make a dedicated effort to go and explore the world. Just like my childhood self, I still believe that a bicycle is the best way to get out there and do that. This past summer, after months of planning and testing out gear, I attempted and completed a northbound endeavor along the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route. I've always wanted to do a long distance trip on bicycle, but what turned me on to that specific route was the documentary 'Ride the Divide'. After watching it, a spark ignited and I knew right then that I just had to go for it.
After completing the route, I can honestly say that it was the greatest and most rewarding experience in my life thus far. I have never been so attuned to the needs of my body and in sync with the circadian rhythms which can be all too easily ignored when we box ourselves inside. I hope to give myself another 'tune up' this summer by doing the Pacific Coast Bicycle Route.
Being from the East Coast, I have always had an urge to go out West and see what it has to offer. Since I've gotten to explore the mountainous regions along the divide, the next step for me is to check out the coast. Another reason I want to do the coast is that I've always wanted to try my hand at surfing. I've been to a few beaches here on the East Coast but none that I've successfully surfed. I found a beat up surf board in a house I was staying at in the gulf but the waves were too small; I spent the day bobbing up and down in the water vowing one day to make it to California. With bigger waves and a much bigger surf scene, I hope to ride my first wave and continue to do so down the coast. That being said, if you have a surfboard trailer you're trying to prototype, I'd love to test it out!
Another thing I am passionate about is photography and videography. I pursued digital media in the art school at the University of Georgia and I continue to explore those forms of artistic media to this day. I am highly experienced with digital cameras and have over 10 years experience using Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. I am also experienced with Adobe Lightroom and mildly experienced with Final Cut Pro 7 and X. I am active on Facebook and Instagram, especially during adventures and I love sharing where I am at and what I am doing with people through those outlets. Even though I wanted to be light on weight during my bout on the Great Divide, I still packed my Canon 60d with extra batteries and a mini tripod just so I could capture the beautiful scenery and share my trip with the highest quality.
For me, cycling is just somethings that is, has been, and always will be a part of my life. I sincerely hope to be a part of your team and represent the Blackburn name. I understand what you are looking for in an ambassador and feel I am a great match for the criteria you have laid out. I am 100% confident I can fulfill any and all responsibilities you may have, and I hope you consider me so that we can further discuss the details.
T.J. Stephens and family