Taunton man defies the odds with Arctic adventure across Baffin Island

Ben Rockett on his cycle challenge across Baffin Island in the Arctic.

Ben Rockett on his cycle challenge across Baffin Island in the Arctic.

First published in News This is The West Country: Photograph of the Author by

A TAUNTON man whose ability to walk was threatened after a car accident in his teens has completed a 200-mile cycle across Baffin Island in the Arctic.

Ben Rockett, 26, took eight days to complete his challenge.

He battled against temperatures of minus 27°C and winds up to 100 knots to raise more than £1,000 for the charity Action for Children.

Ben had to cycle in icy and snowy conditions, but was helped with a specially designed bike.

He spent months preparing for the challenge with David Hempleman-Adams, who was the first person to reach the geographic and magnetic North and South Poles.

Ben said: “I’ve always loved to cycle in unusual places and this was an amazing experience.

“When I first arrived it was nearly minus 30°C, but the wind was the most worrying thing – it was incredibly strong and made balancing on the bike extremely difficult.

“It also made the weather feel colder – any part of my skin that wasn’t covered was at risk of frostbite.

“I had to cycle with my face covered and wasn’t able to remove any clothing for more than a minute at the most.

“I also had to keep changing the distribution of the weight on my bike to stop it sinking in the deep snow.”

Ben decided to take on his Arctic adventure after completing a PhD at Bath University, where he studied the effects of long-term foster care placements on children and carers.

It was then he recognised the work of Action for Children, and wanted to raise money and awareness for the charity.

He said: “The scenery was spectacular, and my favourite part was cycling on top of a river that was frozen solid – it was so clear it was like hovering above the ground.”

To sponsor Ben, visit his page at www.justgiving.com/baffinislandbike

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