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Ben Lewis – The Union Interview

By 16th August 2011 Ben Lewis, BMX

Over the course of the last few years, Ben Lewis has become one of those really well known and respected guys from the U.K who has done a good job of blowing some minds. As of more recently, Ben has been bumped up the Fit pro team, for obvious good reason, and managed to melt some brains with his Baker’s Dozen from The Bakery. I’ve wanted to find out more about the guy for a while now, and the opportunity finally came up. All I can say is this turned out beyond awesome. Check it out…

Name: Ben Lewis

Location: Liverpool, England

Sponsors: Fit Bike Co.EtniesAnimal Bike Co.4down distributionQuintinDub BMX

Years riding: 15

What was it that first got you hooked on BMX? Any early memories just pop up?
I saw a load of kids riding a flyout in the park by my house. I snuck back on my mates BMX when no-one was there and loved that shit, got a BMX for my birthday a couple of weeks later. Good timing!

Ben Lewis BMX
Photo: Nathan Beddows / Ride UK

How are things going with Fit these days? Do you guys have any trips or anything you are getting psyched for? Any updates on your frame or other signature goods coming through?
Fit’s insane for me at the moment, I’m included in so much more of the company now that I’m apart of the US pro team. Im lucky because I get to go on the US trips and the UK team trips too, real excited about Stockholm with Fit UK in a couple of weeks. Keep your eye out for the web edit from that. As for more sig products, there’s stuff in the pipeline but nothing I can’t talk about yet .

What does Etnies have cooking for you these days? Don’t you have a UK trip coming up soon? Any signature shoes or anything awesome like that?
There might be some things coming in the future, but I’m only just starting to get to know everyone involved.. The European tour starts on the 10th of August in Crawley and ends on the 18th in Berlin, I’ll get to meet more of the riders I haven’t hung out with before and get to ride some of the sickest euro skateparks. Info can be found right here.

You were just on the road with the Animal crew when they came over the the U.K, right? How did that trip go for you? Anything else you are getting ready for with them?
Yeah, it was pretty much a dream come true, going on a trip with riders that have inspired your style of riding from the beginning. We rode ledges and flat bars for hours on end. The shop demos where sweet too, a lot of the locals would get involved and sessions would kick off quickly. Nothing else I know of is planned at the minute, but if I get some spare time in the US I wanna go hang out in New York for a while.

Do you have anything going on with Quintin or the rest of your sponsors?
Again we have some things in the pipeline. I got to visit the headquarters the other day which was too good! Shout out for the beers there! My main focus at the minute is trying to collect clips for the DUB dvd. Most of the people involved have nearly finished but because I’ve been away a fair bit recently it’s startin to get hectic for me!

It sounds like you have been busy lately non-stop from a few contests to Ride To Glory to the Animal tour. Do you ever find yourself waking up somewhere trying to figure out where you are and how you got there?
Haha, yeah but it’s the best! I love the fast paced roadtrip lifestyle of feeling like shit but getting on with it anyway. A few days into a trip when you can’t actually feel any worse, trying some new shit down a rail aint really gonna make any difference!

Ben Lewis BMX
Photo: Nathan Beddows / Ride UK

Outside of the Etnies tour, do you have any travel plans lined up for the rest of the year? Anywhere in particular you want to get to?
I’m off to Stockholm with the Fit UK team on the 25th of august for ten days and then after that maybe back over to the US for a bit. Aside from that I want to try and spend some time in Athens with the BAF lads. The street in Greece is so good and the people and food are even better!

Your Baker’s Dozen on The Bakery was absolute fire. Sitting at about 40k for views right now. How do you feel it turned out? Was there anything you didn’t get done but want to?
Thanks a lot, it really came together thanks to the editing and filming prowess of everybody involved! We spent a lot of time in there just fucking about but there was a few things I tried or wanted to do that I just couldn’t make happen. The yellow rail takes no prisoners and fucking up unLuc-e’s down it several times put an end to my plans.

It seems like you are pretty consistent with edits and everything. When can we expect to see some fresh footage of you? Do you have any video parts in the works?
I’m trying to get as much filming done as possible, but as ive been away so much most of the stuff coming out soon will be trip footage. Ive got a web section im working on with Matty Lambert but I want that to be special so it could be a while. Im also fimling for my section in the Dub Dvd.

Let’s say you are in a heated game of B-I-K-E. What’s one trick that’s going to fuck you every time?
Bouncing round in footjams.

You mentioned you were taking it easy for a few days. What did you do? Do you have any injuries that have been slowing you down lately?
Ha, fuck, I got wrote off on a crank arm .. shit got the better of me and I went down and slid along the floor on my hands/wrists/elbows for a while. I need to relax and work on my ankles, I rolled one drunk on a skateboard and it has been a bit tender.

Let’s say you got a fat budget to take a trip anywhere in the world. You can bring 5 riders, one filmer and one photographer. Who do you bring, where do you go and why?
All me mates to Barcelona because the street is a beast and the beach is better!

Ben Lewis BMX
Photo: Nathan Beddows / Ride UK

I’d imagine since the last few years have really taken off for you, you couldn’t imagine what you would be doing if you never got into BMX. Care to take a guess at what you might be doing?
I went to university to study engineering but dropped out, it wasn’t really my scene but maybe if BMX was never involved I might have been more interested.

What are you usually up to when you have some down time and you aren’t riding?
I find it a bit hard to switch off and just relax, I like to be busy either walking about the city watching people, drinking coffee or eating nice food. I enjoy reading Vice magazine or autobiographies of rock legends and watching skate vids for inspiration both spot wise and trick/line wise.

Are you super good at anything other than BMX?
Spending money

I know you have a couple tattoo’s, right? How many do you have? Care to share a few of your favorite ones?
Only 6 at present, theres a lot I want. The Liverbird on my neck was my first. It’s the symbol of my home city and is meant to bring good financial luck. Another one is the tree on my side, it has Liverpools 2 cathedrals either side. No real meaning to it, I’m just really into the detail and the scene.

Photobucket
Photobucket

I feel like you are pretty good with smooth talking the ladies. Am I right? What are some of your go to moves? Any good stories?
Ha I don’t have any go to moves, I let them do all the work. I’ve been in a relationship for 4 years now and I’m not about cheating so I treat all girls like my best mates sister, have a laugh but never ever cross the line!

Do you party much? What’s the drink and smokes choice for you these days?
Travelling so much has kept me in line a lot recently. When I shattered my kneecap a few years ago I couldn’t ride for 9 months, I had a full time job and nothing to do. I feel like I partied my life away then and now I’m more about trying to enjoy the rest of it. I love to drink rum and beer and smoke Malboro. I’ve given up enough bad habits to enjoy a few.

Ben Lewis BMX
Photo: Nathan Beddows / Ride UK

Have you ever been arrested or anything crazy like that? Or are you a pretty low key guy when shit gets sketchy?
I got arrested the first time I went to Simpel Session in Estonia. First night there and I had been drinking for around 24 hrs when I blacked out in a club, I woke up in a very small cell with 2 other fellas..the only thing in the room was a drain running through the centre to piss or shit in, and I was lying in it. I was thirsty and confused and after about 2 hrs under the blinding light they brought me a shot glass sized glass of water! It turns out I’d been a bit of hard work last night and they weren’t used to the perfectly nice lad who woke up in the morning. It also turns out that when I blacked out in the club I left and apparently climbed a 3 metre wall into the American embassy, after running around the gardens and scaring the shit outta the people in the embassy they called the police who chased me around and dragged me out from underneath a car as I tried to hide.. Apparently I was lucky not to have gotten shot at! I get a quick flash of memory at this point only because I had a massive fear of getting raped in a random eastern European jail.. and get interrogated for a while only for them to realize I make no sense and send me to bed, funnily enough it cost me all the money I had to get out of jail and I even got taken to the bank by a nice police officer who got me to put it into a bank account.

Holy shit…

Top 5 influences in your life?
Butcher, ID “safe + sound”, coffee, the albion, people who have got it together!

One thing you need more of and one thing you need less of?
I need more time in each day and less rain

What’s something about yourself that might surprise people?
That no one can really understand me when I talk normally.. it takes a bit of getting used to.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Couldn’t even begin to guess, but I’m excited.

What’s the last song you heard, movie you watched and website you visited?
Santogold ft Chip Tha Ripper – Annes Plan, Rocknrolla and Blog.yimmyyayo.com

Do you have any shout outs or thanks?
Thanks to everyone at 4down Distribution for looking after me, Fit bike co., Etnies, Quintin, Dub, all my mates and my gf Naomi.

Anything else you want to say?
Nothing worth doing is easy.

matt

Author matt

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