Meet Ben Coates. Ben is the Trek Road Product Manager – which according to his loving wife means that, “anything with curly handlebars is under his jurisdiction.” We met with Ben to learn a little more about his life, work, and travels.
Tell us your story in 140 characters or less:
Husband, father, cyclist. Living the life making great bikes, traveling the world, and having fun with my beautiful family.
What’s the most rewarding part about your job?
Getting people excited about riding bikes. There is nothing like seeing someone get a new bike, especially when you are a part of the development of that bike. You can see the excitement in their eyes – a feeling that most people know – and it is amazing to see someone else go through it.
Favorite place you’ve ever traveled and why?
I love Belgium. Kind of a funny place to love, right? Not if you are bike, beer or frites fan. I happen to be all three. I love the people there because they have tough exterior but warm hearts. They are passionate about family, friends, cycling and beer. The riding is incredible, from the scenic open roads of Flanders to the brutal climbs of Wallonia. You could spend a lifetime riding there and never get bored.
If you were a trip designer at Trek Travel, where would you design a trip?
I would plan a trip somewhere I have never been but have always wanted to go. I could see planning a trip to a number of places like Patagonia, South Africa, and Mongolia. The list would go on and on. If I had to choose a place to start, I would go with Japan. I have always wanted to see the rice patties and climb from the coast to the highest peaks. There is something mystical about Japan. That is where I would start.
Favorite hotel you’ve ever stayed in and why?
Sundance Resort in Utah. It has an authentic quality and is aligned with nature in a rustic, modern way. I also got married there in 2008.
If you could only bring one unnecessary item on a trip, what would it be?
An iPad. I can see my family, read a book, scroll through a magazine, catch up on news, and watch a movie. Definitely the best travel item I own.
What is one thing you never fly without?
My Passport. I left it at home once and had to take a last minute flight to Australia. It was a disaster; I never leave home without it now.
Tell us about your best day on a bicycle.
I have had so many, but all of my rides can be traced back to one. A good friend of mine convinced me to get a mountain bike as my college bike, instead of the normal cruiser. My parents were not so happy that I spent double what they expected, but that bike took me on my first ride. It was a ride up Apex Trail in Golden, CO. I remember that it took me almost 2 hours to climb to the top – a climb that takes less than 30 minutes today. I crashed twice and almost threw up once. The way down was equally as eventful. I crashed over the side of the trail and slid down into a creek. After three hours, huge frustrations, and a lot of blood, I was officially a cyclist.
What’s your favorite type of beverage?
If it was only one drink I would pick San Pellegrino. If it was only one alcoholic drink it would be Bourbon on the rocks – Angel’s Envy or Beer Barrel Bourbon to be exact.
What and where was the best meal you’ve ever enjoyed?
My Mom’s homemade green chile at my parents’ house. If I was going to choose a restaurant, it would be Café Diva in Steamboat Springs, CO. There is something about a small mountain town with a great restaurant that is hard to beat.
What is your personal motto or mantra?
I got this from my wonderful wife. She probably doesn’t know this but I think about it every day. Here are the five things that will make me successful and happy in life:
1. Up Early
3. Help Others
Outside of your family, who inspires you the most?
Historically, I am pretty fascinated by Abraham Lincoln because of the strength of his character. Integrity is something that I think about all the time and I think that he is the most prominent person in history that truly had integrity. Without his integrity and sense of purpose, the entire world would be a different place today. A living person that inspires me outside of my family is a little harder. I could go the easy route here and say my boss or the president or something like that, which are true but not really insightful or particularly interesting. So, with that in mind, I am going to go with Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia. After all these years, he has stayed true to his heart. Making great products that help people enjoy the outdoors and doing so in the most sustainable and economical way possible, while not losing site of the fact that the products have to be awesome if they are going to make a difference. His philosophy on people, the work place, and the world are close to home.