Joe Barnes: A Quick Interview

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Before the festive season began, we caught up with Joe Barnes, rider and Dude of Hazzard. It’s been a busy year for him – as well as a pretty full calendar of riding and racing he’s found time to film and star in some extremely popular edits, won the iXS MacAvalanche, a stack of downhill races and is widely regarded as one of the handiest trail bike riders out there.

Along with his fellow Dudes of Hazzard he’s travelled all over Europe riding, filming and messing about this summer and the full length Dudes of Hazzard: The Movie is set to be released at the Fort William Film Festival on the 16th of February.

We caught up and asked him a few questions about bikes, hairstyles and future plans…

Singletrack: Your Patriot on Ben A’an edit went down a treat, it seems you’re been doing lots of trail riding style videos that have been massively popular. Do you prefer getting out on the little bike to the downhill rig?

Joe: I definitely go with the seasons with my set up. In the summer I really enjoy riding my DH bike and in the winter I ride my hardtail a lot. There is always one common bike throughout the year though, and that is my 5. I just love what you can get away with on a trail bike and where it can take you. Filming on a trail bike is more natural for me as it is what I ride the most and I think it is a topic that a lot of people are interested in and ride themselves.

Singletrack: Which bike has seen the most use this year anyway? Do you own a skinny tyred thing at the moment?

Joe: I would say it is close between my 5 and Patriot. The Patriot is a new one to me and I was really impressed with it, especially for racing enduros in Europe. It was my bike of choice this summer. I do own a racer bike but only as a injury bike – last winter it got a lot of use as I was too crippled to ride off road but I hope to keep it to a minimum.

Singletrack: How’s the balance of racing to riding ‘just because’ been for you this year? Do you ever find yourself at a race and wish you were just messing about in the local woods instead?

Joe: It has probably been about 50/50. I raced pretty much every weekend and it took me to a lot of different places. This was great as I could then ride mid week in these places or between races and explore new trails for fun. They both complimented each other well last summer.

Singletrack: Your local riding and trails seem to mostly consist of super techy rock through the moorland or loamy flat turns in the woods. Is there any truth to the rumour that you’re not that fussed by jumps – in fact the opposite?

Joe: There is one jump in Fort William and it’s a sketchy rock booter to rock garden landing. We have tried to build jumps but the trails are too tech to be going in a straight line for long enough. When a jump is put in front of me – usually on a race track – it is the funnest thing going. Definitely no aversion – I just get tempted in by building corners.

Singletrack: You briefly helped the mullet make a comeback amongst impressionable people that watch videos on the internet too much. Who are your hairstyle heroes? In fact, who has the best hair in mountain biking?

Joe: “The Dudes” started Mullet May last year and after cutting in a pretty filthy one for May it lasted through until August. Any excuse. Growing it out just now in preparation for next may/ all the time. Pete Scullion has the greatest hair ever. Beard and top locks combined.

Singletrack: You’ve done a fair bit of travelling about Europe this year. Which places stuck in your mind most for the riding and which country has the best motorway service stations?

Joe: For riding I really enjoyed Les Grand Valleys, Cervinia and Hafjall has a really nice feel and set up for the riders. France is good, Mac D’s have the good internet (it’s the little things). Germany is balls with no internet.

Singletrack: Music: 80’s, 90’s or now?

Joe: 80’s for the classics and now for the currents.

Singletrack: What’s all this about a downhill a day?

Joe: I started off the week thinking it would be good to film a different downhill each day. Also to get me riding some other trails around Fort William not just the usuals. I got to day three and disaster struck – the weather is just to inconsistent at this time of year. I rode some great filthy muddy trails but it didn’t work to film myself. Five became three.

Singletrack: Just how long is your lunch break anyway?

Joe: My lunch break lasts for most of the day these days. Nevis Cycles, my official work, are really good for me and let me work on the flexi time. I am mostly tuning up my new van just now into a apartment on wheels and editing The Dudes of Hazzard The Movie.

Singletrack: What’s happening with the Dudes of Hazzard movie?

Joe: “The Movie” follows myself and friends round Europe for 3 months with the riding and good times between races.

Singletrack: What are your plans for next year? Is the new landship van ready to rock yet?

Joe: I plan to trip about in the new landship for most of the summer. Racing a lot of enduros mixed in with some World Cup DH is the plan right now. I need to plan my schedule to combine the two disciplines but it’s looking good right now. The new van is in the process of the big tune. Basic layout is done and now the electrics and fine tune is in process.

Singletrack: Anyone you’d like to thank for their support this year?

Joe: Stu from MTBcut has sorted me out this summer with the kit and support allowing me to race my bike to the level I aim for. I can’t thank him enough for the support over the last three seasons I have been on the team. Orange Bikes are the nicest people to work with, making my summers racing a pleasure to sort out and report for. All the Baeys from Fort William for a great summers racing and filming for the movie.

Singletrack: Anyone (or thing) you could have really done without this year?

Joe: Nah. It’s all good. I could however do with hucking off less things in spring and stay in one piece.

Singletrack: Cheers Joe!

If news of the Dudes of Hazzard Movie has tickled your fancy, then it’s set to take the world by storm with its release at the Fort William Film Festival on the 16th of February 2012 – here’s the lowdown from the Dudes:

“The venue will be at the Nevis Centre in the heart of Fort William, just beside Morrisons. The evening will also be showcasing other films like Danny Macaskills latest one and is lucky enough to have the big chief himself Steve Peat talking about his latest film project. The Dudes cant wait for this part!

As we all know, every big movie has a single released with it – so the Trailer 2 has become The Movie Rap.

Tickets will be available online shortly on the Fort William Mountain Festival website.

This is set to be a great evening and if you are able to make it up for the big weekend be sure to take your bike as well. There will be a big ride each day and the more people the better. May be take a Casio for some mini enduro racing down the classic trails in and around Fort William aswell. All chat happens on the Dudes Facebook page so like that if you’re keen and lets get planning and see how many trails can be smashed while the boys are in town…

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