Wise Words is our new interview series talking to some of mountain biking’s most switched on people.
We’ll ask our short list of questions to a heap of influential, inspiring and outspoken people that we feel are driving the direction of mountain biking today. Some will make you think, some will make you laugh, some will be plain dumb, some will inspire you to better yourself and your riding. We hope!
Next up is Mr. Joe Barnes. A man of many talents.
Not least being at the sharp end of Enduro World Series racing, being at one with a filthy rut, and being the mastermind behind the much loved Dudes of Hazzard phenomenon.
How would your closest riding buddies describe you to someone who has never met you?
A lovable dingbat with excellent chat and always keen for a skid.
What thing or things have you bought in the last year that had the biggest effect on your life as a mountain biker / cyclist / person that works in the bike industry?
I put a wood burner into my shed and it has transformed life no end. Its now a place to relax and tinker on all sorts of bike bits and servicing in relative winter luxury. Dry shoes! I now have dry shoes from it also. Best investment going. I can fully recommend fitting a burner into any shed of any size.
What unusual habits do you have as a bike rider?
I run my brakes different. Rear one bites about 15 mm from the bar and the front about 5mm. Niiiiice and close.
What piece of advice do you think every mountain bike rider should hear? And what piece should they ignore?
I have beef with people being told to “just use the back brake and lean back” while going down steep hills. It wont stop you going over the bars and possibly the worst advice going for a beginner rider. Plenty of front brake and keep that bike in control.
If you could go back and re-ride one day from your life so far, where/what/when/who would it be? Would you change anything?
Back to Fujiton Bike Park in Japan with a mini chairlift up a small black volcanic mountain. It was about 3 years ago with my friend Liam and it was raining heavily all day long, the trails had a surreal amount of grip from the black dirt and we lapped all day, soaking wet for 26 runs. Big grins every run and buzzing for more.
I wouldn’t change a single thing, except if Ferg could have joined us but he had previously spannered his wrist so had to sit it out in the van.
What have you wasted the most time on in your life as a rider or bike industry career that you wished you’d given up years ago?
I can’t think of any time particularly wasted. Its all about progression and everything adds up to be the baey you are today.
How do you motivate yourself when you’re struggling or lacking inspiration?
I don’t really struggle for motivation. I am very lucky to love what I do. If its sleet I just get on the turbo and dream about the next bike ride. For inspiration its hard to find the time to innovate with day to day life so when I travel its a great time to get the note book out and put some ideas down. Sometimes video ideas, racing or life improvements.
What single and specific thing about riding bicycles do you gain the most happiness from?
It probably changes with the seasons but at the moment I have been loving getting out with a stop watch, choosing a trail and getting some timed laps done. The most basic form of racing with a few friends and a mix of trails to give it the beanz.
What single thing would you like to erase from cycling history from the last year?
That night Pete Scullion came to Fort William. We ate a Spice Tandoori and then Craig bled his brakes.
What single thing would you like to make happen in the cycling world in the next year?
The Dudes of Hazzard Dual Slalom race behind the scenes at the Fort William World Cup. Got something up my sleeve that’s going to make it a classic (see next Dudes video for reference).
Who else should we ask these questions to?
Ben Cathro always has a good yarn and I’m thinking some incite into all things bike skills and video skills. He’s not shy to let it hang out.